Stitching the Final Square – Mississippi Folklife has a New Look!

In the fall of 2022, the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) announced a new look for the agency and some of its programs. The new brand style for MAC is similar to what you might find on a quilt square. Today, MAC is pleased to stitch the final square to the MAC “quilt,” featuring a new look for Mississippi Folklife and the Mississippi Folklife Directory.

The new logo and branding for Mississippi Folklife feature a common design used in quilting. The Wheel of Fortune pattern used in the logo has been used to make memory quilts and can also symbolize the passage of time. The logo and the pattern tie in perfectly with Mississippi Folklife’s mission to document and showcase traditional arts and artists of the state.

MAC’s Folk and Traditional Arts Director, Maria Zeringue, was inspired by a local quilter to incorporate the design into the new logo.

“I wanted to take inspiration from images of quilts made by Mississippi quilters,” said Maria Zeringue, Folk and Traditional Arts Director at MAC. I looked at David Crosby’s Quilts and Quilting in Claiborne County for ideas. It was in this book that I found Mary Ann Norton’s “Wheel of Fortune” quilt. I love the idea of using a direct reference to a Mississippi quilter that is documented in a book written by a Mississippi author. It was important that the Mississippi connection shine through in our logo design and connect visually to the MAC branding and its central use of quilt imagery.”

Designer Tyler Tadlock brought the vision for the new brand to life. He said, “The ‘pinwheel’ concept is a simple, concise, and recognizable symbol that not only pays respect to a longstanding tradition in folk art, but conceptually represents revolutions of time, constant forward movement, and progressive clockwise motion. Using simple flat colors from the MAC parent brand palette gives a contemporary spin on a timeless icon.”

The quilt pattern used in the brand (8 triangles connected at a center point to make a pinwheel), symbolize the diverse genres that are a part of MAC’s traditional arts program. The design evokes a connectedness between the different artistic practices that fall under the traditional arts category while also noting the similarities between them. Each artist represents one part of the whole of traditional arts.

Mississippi Folklife’s work is deeply rooted in the present-day practices of Mississippi’s traditional artists. However, it also plays a crucial role in documenting the artistic practices of the past, through its archival work. 

“I really like the wheel of fortune’s symbolic connection to the passage of time,” said Zeringue. “The work we do in the Folk & Traditional Arts program touches on the past, present, and future by supporting practices that are passed down from generation to generation in the hopes of sustaining these art forms for future generations.”

Click here to check out the new Mississippi Folklife website.

Click here to check out the new Mississippi Folklife Directory website.