Special Message from the Director

Arts Community,

How the world can change in a week’s time! COVID 19 is having a major impact on everyone, in every sector of society. We recognize the particular impact this pandemic has had on artists and organizations whose livelihoods often depend on events and performances. We all must play a role, though, in minimizing the spread of the disease and easing pressure on our healthcare system.  

Working Remotely

To do our part on social distancing, the Mississippi Arts Commission’s office, located inside the Woolfolk State Office Building, is closed until further notice. MAC staff is working remotely and will be available by email and phone. Please see contact information here and below.

Executive Director – Malcolm White mwhite@arts.ms.gov
Deputy Director – Larry Morrisey lmorrisey@arts.ms.gov
Chief Fiscal Officer – Emily Tschiffely etschiffely@arts.ms.gov
Communications Director – Anna Ehrgott aehrgott@arts.ms.gov
Executive Assistant and Special Initiatives Director – Wilburn Smith wsmith@arts.ms.gov
Systems Administrator – Shirley Smith ssmith@arts.ms.gov
Director of Grants – Melody Moody Thortis mthortis@arts.ms.gov
Arts-Based Community Development Director – Leslie Barker lbarker@arts.ms.gov
Arts Industry Director – Kristen Brandt kbrandt@arts.ms.gov
Arts Education Director – Charlotte Smelser csmelser@arts.ms.gov
Folk & Traditional Arts Director – Maria Zeringue mzeringue@arts.ms.gov

Grant Information

Our main priority right now is on processing grants for the coming fiscal year. Applications were due Monday, March 9. We will continue working on grants remotely to keep this aspect of our work on schedule.

Grantees impacted by the many event cancellations the virus has prompted have been in contact with us regarding changes in timeline and scope of grant-funded activities. Please continue to reach out to us with this information. We will be as flexible as we can, given this unprecedented situation.   

Other major programs of the Mississippi Arts Commission may be altered as follows: 

Poetry Out Loud

We completed the Mississippi POL State Contest on Feb. 27, which will air on MPB TV on April 24 at 9 p.m. Over the weekend we learned that the National Contest was cancelled. We’ll consider doing extra publicity for our state champion later in the year, given that she will not have the opportunity to compete for a national championship.

Mississippi Whole School Summer Institute

The Mississippi Whole Schools’ Summer Institute is scheduled for June 16-18 at Millsaps College. We are hopeful that the current situation does not impact this conference, but we are monitoring the situation and will let you know of any changes.  

Resources for the Arts Community

The arts community bands together in times of hardship, and there is much being done around the country to help. Please see this message from ArtsReady for a comprehensive breakdown of resources available and information being sought from various entities. We also encourage you to visit our Emergency Preparedness web page and see the COVID 19 resources posted there. As the situation unfolds, we will alert the community of any additional resources.

Thanks to all those who are helping one another during this time of uncertainty, particularly our healthcare workers.

Rest assured, we’ll get through this together.

Artfully yours, Malcolm White