Melody Moody Thortis is MAC’s arts-based community development director. She previously served as executive director of Bike Walk Mississippi, where she focused the statewide organization around issues of equity, access, placemaking and livability. Moody Thortis comes to MAC with a background in community development and many years of experience collaborating with community leaders, elected officials and organizations across the state. During her tenure, the state of Mississippi increased its ranking from #47 to #31 as a nationally recognized “Bicycle Friendly State” with Moody Thortis helping to shape the statewide conversation around the bicycle as a tool for community development, health and economic growth.

A native of Kingsport, Tennessee, Moody-Thortis came to Mississippi in 1999 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in art at Belhaven University and went on to receive a master’s degree in International Development from Eastern University. Moody-Thortis is an acrylic painter and musician who enjoys singing with local bands as well as playing banjo, guitar, drums and washboard.

Program Area Information
The Arts-Based Community Development (ABCD) program supports arts organizations and programming at the local level to ensure residents in communities throughout Mississippi have access to high-quality arts programs. Because the arts can be a highly effective tool for social and economic improvement, the Commission makes funds available to communities through the ABCD grants program.