Hello Arts Community,
In a whirlwind six month’s time, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many arts leaders and members of the arts community in our state, both virtually and in-person. Even with the challenges of COVID-19, the arts in Mississippi have persevered and in some cases, thrived. I’m truly impressed with the resilience of our arts community.
In addition to leading MAC through its annual grant application process and major events that were converted to virtual gatherings, we were also able to grant additional funds to the field throughout the state to support high impact arts events and other projects in a way that adapts to COVID-19 challenges through our new “Community Response Grant.” We also received American Rescue Plan funding through the National Endowment for the Arts and plan to announce guidelines for that funding next month.
As I attend more arts events in the state, it fills me with joy to again experience live performances and see the delight on attendees’ faces as they experience the magic of the music, theatre, dance and more after a year away. We have much to look forward to this summer. In August, art museums around the state will offer free or reduced admission fees as a way to encourage people to return to art museums and drive arts tourism. Many festivals are on the horizon around the state as Festival South in Hattiesburg is in full swing. The new Courtney Blossman Art Cottage at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art is now open and hosting workshops. The B.B. King Museum recently hosted an amazing celebration featuring world-renowned musicians to commemorate their new memorial garden and exhibits. At last, there is much good news to share.
At MAC, we are welcoming new board members to the Commission as well as new staff members. Deborah Mansfield, Becky Montague, Frances Nelson, Joe Rankin, Julie Martin and Laura Howell were recently named to the Commission by Gov. Tate Reeves. We look forward to working with these new commissioners. Additionally, Quintina Young, Adrienne Domnick and Victoria Meek recently joined MAC as Chief Fiscal Officer, Database Manager and Executive Assistant/Special Initiatives Director, respectively. We are thrilled to have a full staff and a full board once again.
Much possibility and potential is on the horizon for the arts in Mississippi. I’m looking forward contributing to the next chapter for the arts in our state.
MAC Executive Director