JACKSON, MISS. – September 14, 2017 – Melody Moody Thortis, of Jackson, Miss., has been named arts-based community development director of the Mississippi Arts Commission.
Moody Thortis previously served as executive director of Bike Walk Mississippi, where she focused the statewide organization around issues of equity, access, placemaking and livability. Moody Thortis comes to MAC with a background in community development and many years of experience collaborating with community leaders, elected officials and organizations across the state. During her tenure, the state of Mississippi increased its ranking from #47 to #31 as a nationally recognized “Bicycle Friendly State” with Moody Thortis helping to shape the statewide conversation around the bicycle as a tool for community development, health and economic growth.
In her role at MAC, Moody Thortis will manage the agency’s community development grant programs, which includes grants to organizations and individual artists. She will also oversee special initiatives related to community arts and development as well as MAC’s Creative Economy Initiative, which encourages economic development related to the arts and creativity. Additionally, Moody Thortis will develop and maintain partnerships with like-minded public agencies and non-profit organizations to foster community and economic development through creative work.
“We are excited to welcome Melody to the Mississippi Arts Commission,” said Malcolm White, executive director of MAC. “Melody has already made a tremendous impact on our state’s quality of life. With a passion for the arts and a background working to better Mississippi, I know she will continue to have a positive effect on our state’s communities, both large and small.”
A native of Kingsport, Tennessee, Moody-Thortis came to Mississippi in 1999 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in art at Belhaven University and went on to receive a master’s degree in International Development from Eastern University. She began her new role with MAC on Sept. 6, 2017.
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