Message from the Director | April 2022

May, the traditional month for graduations and the kickoff of summer, is right around the corner. For the Mississippi Arts Commission this year, May is Conference Season! We hope to welcome as many arts supporters as possible to the State Arts Conference on May 12 at the Two Mississippi Museums. The always entertaining Rita Brent will be our keynote speaker, and we have plenty of insightful presenters and panelists lined up to inspire and motivate you throughout the day. Plus, we’ll take in a few arts experiences along the way… because, what’s an arts conference without art?! Learn more about the conference offerings and register HERE.

I’m very pleased to announce that we received a significant increase in funding for FY2023 from the State Legislature. These funds will have an invaluable impact on our efforts with the Mississippi Whole Schools program as well as provide funding for the Building Fund for the Arts and a few other initiatives. The new fiscal year begins on July 1, and we will communicate opportunities with grantees and the arts community over the next few months. This funding increase is a legacy of our late Board Chair Steve Edds who worked tirelessly on behalf of the arts in this year’s legislative session. We are very grateful to our legislators and to all of those who advocate on behalf of the arts. Please thank your state representatives for supporting the arts!

In May, we’ll welcome new MAC Grants Director Lauren Rhoades to MAC. Lauren most recently served as the executive director of the Eudora Welty House and Garden, and we’re delighted to have her on board. We know she’ll be reaching out to grantees and the arts community soon.

Speaking of grants, MAC staff has been very busy in grant panels this month. You can check out the schedule of panels here. Also, MAC Mini-grant applications will open May 1. These grants help support small-scale arts activities throughout the state and represent a great way to familiarize yourself with MAC’s grant process. Be sure to apply before the June 1 deadline.

Looking ahead, there are some exciting upcoming summer arts festivals on the horizon, like the Mississippi Makers Festival, Pepsi Pops, Art, Wine & Wheels, the Gumtree Art & Wine Festival, Festival South and the Mississippi Book Festival as well as new exhibitions like The Great Migration at the Mississippi Museum of Art and the World of Marty Stuart at the Two Mississippi Museums. We wish you all a joyous, art-filled summer.

My very best,

Sarah Story