The Mississippi Arts Commission was established in 1968 by the Mississippi Legislature as the official grants-making and service agency for the arts in the state. MAC provides financial and technical assistance for arts programming to arts organizations and educational institutions throughout Mississippi. Funded annually by the Mississippi Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts and private funds, MAC uses this support to carry forth its mission and continues to act as a core and essential function of government.
Government support for the arts plays a critical role in the creative sector. This type of support:
- Provides for the inclusion of all citizens in diverse artistic experiences;
- Ties arts to economic development through partnerships and collaborations;
- Offers credibility and insists on accountability;
- Ensures openness of decision-making; and
- Provides leadership in cultural policies.
MAC is the public agency that serves as a catalyst for private support of the arts.
MAC operates both an administrative side and a programmatic side. The administrative side consists of the executive and deputy directors, the fiscal officer, the systems administrator, the communications director and the executive assistant. The programmatic side consists of directors over the following areas: Arts-Based Community Development, Arts Education, Arts Industry, Folk & Traditional Arts, the Whole Schools Initiative and various special initiatives.
The role of MAC goes beyond grants-making. To serve as a catalyst for arts development at the local level, MAC seeks to:
- Foster networks of local leaders, artists of all disciplines, arts volunteers and patrons;
- Consult on community arts development, performing, visual and literary arts, folk arts, and arts education;
- Provide training in arts management, arts education planning, arts facilities planning and community-wide cultural planning; and
- Promote broad-based public awareness of the importance of the arts in education and community life.
Through the arts, diverse communities of all sizes can better identify shared values, create vibrant public spaces, and enhance the effectiveness of schools. The arts also attract visitors who leave with a strong, positive image of Mississippi. Fostering excellence in the arts provides the inspiration to generate a higher quality of life for all citizens.