Wednesday, September 22, 2010

MAC Heads South!

MAC staffers Sallye Killebrew, Special Initiatives Director, and Susan Dobbs, Public Relations Director, hit the road on Tuesday, September 21st to visit constituents in Port Gibson and Woodville. The first stop was with Tara Wren at the Mississippi Cultural Crossroads in Port Gibson. This group is doing amazing work throughout the community, from teaching master classes in quilting to having preschool kids in to learn about art.

Next stop.....Woodville! The Deer & Wildlife Festival is quickly approaching (10/9/2010) and Main Street Director, Polly Rosenblatt was busy making all of the final preparations! She did stop long enough to visit with us during lunch at The Market and to take us out to see the studio of an amazing woodcarver, Dunbar McCurley. A retired veteranarian, McCurley uses native wood to create some beautiful works of art.
It was a great day!

(pictured: Dunbar McCurley in his shop in Woodville)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Save Margaret's Grocery

Join the Mississippi Arts Commission in a grassroots campaign to preserve Vicksburg's unique visionary art destination: Margaret's Grocery.
Rev. H.D. Dennis promised his wife Margaret that he would build her a castle…..and that he did! From items he had on hand, Rev. Dennis constructed a palace made of concrete blocks and anything else he could get his hands on. The result is this amazing folk art structure. Margaret passed away last year and Rev. Dennis is now in a nursing home. The structure is falling into disrepair and without a group of committed individuals to spearhead the project, this incredible place will be lost forever. Photographer, Suzi Altman has established it as a Pepsi Refresh project. Go to to find out more about this program. The Margaret’s Grocery link will be live on September 1st and in order to get funding, the project must rank in the top 10 on the first day it is listed. You must join the site in order to vote. The project will be titled: Restore Margaret’s Grocery/Rev. Dennis’ Castle/Folk Art Icon. Please forward this information to those who will take a moment to vote.
The preservation effort was recently included in the National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel Blog. Contact MAC’s Heritage Director, Mary Margaret Miller to find out more about this meaningful project!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

MAC Focuses on Film!

To stay on top of recent trends, MAC staff members, Diane Williams, Susan Dobbs and Mary Margaret Miller, recently participated in a documentary filmmaking class through Barefoot Workshops. Other participating organizations included staff from the Mississippi Development Authority's Film Office and Tourism Division, as well as the Mississippi Humanities Council. Participants formed three groups and decided to focus the films on local eateries. Peaches Restaurant, Bill's Greek Tavern and Campbell's Bakery were the chosen subjects for the three minute films. MAC's Public Relations Director, Susan Dobbs and Heritage Director, Mary Margaret Miller shot and produced the Campbell's Bakery film.

Click the link to view the video -

Friday, June 4, 2010

Scott Barretta Featured on MPB News

Scott Barretta, long-time researcher for the Mississippi Folklife and Folk Artist Directory, was recently featured on MPB News for his work as a blues historian and writer. Barretta, host of Highway 61 Radio, spends his days documenting Mississippi's celebrated, and unsung, blues players. Read Ron Brown's story on Barretta here, and make sure to check out Barretta's blues blog for the latest in blues news.

Corinth Theatre Arts

Susan Dobbs, Public Relations Director, and Sallye Killebrew, Special Initiatives Director, arrived at Corinth Theater Arts around noon on June 1, 2010 to a dedicated group of Board Members and the Managing Director waving their hands in welcome! The trip was planned for the purpose of offering some assistance with the theater’s recovery from the recent flooding and documenting their situation and their loss. During lunch we shared lively discussion regarding the future of Corinth Theater Arts and their search for a “new home”. Joining us for lunch was former Board Member, James Boatman, who manages the Corinth Artist Guild Gallery downtown. He energetically talked with us about the arts and culture in Corinth, both in community programming and arts education, which involves surrounding counties as well as the city. We reiterated the mission of the Mississippi Arts Commission in offering assistance through grants and resources and assured them that the MAC would be steadfast in its support to the future of the theater, as well as to the entire community. The theater has had four flooding experiences, is in a city-owned building, and is in the process of making the decision to stay or search for an alternate venue. Their loss is extreme, but their spirits are high. After lunch, we toured downtown Corinth and visited the Corinth Artist Guild Gallery. The town is rich in its offerings of arts and culture and is extremely dedicated to arts education, both with adults and students. The Guild Gallery routinely shows artwork from local and area schools and hosts receptions for the students and their teachers, as well as providing a quarterly and juried show of guild members’ work. The community seems to have strong support in the arts, and downtown Corinth is quite infused with an arts and culture presence. Banners proudly fly with the statement, “Corinth: Arts, Theater, Museums, Music, and Shopping”. When we returned to Corinth Theater Arts, we toured the building and were offered a detailed picture of the damage. The theater received approximately 4-5 feet of contaminated water to the entire building, which soaked the theater seats, the stage and set, the newly-purchased curtains, the costumes and props, the office, the newly-refurbished restrooms, the green room, and most of the electrical components. The office equipment that wasn’t damaged by the flooding was ruined due to the wiring being submerged. The Managing Director, Tommy Ledbetter, along with a crew of tireless volunteers, has followed correct recovery protocol by contacting MEMA, FEMA, and the City of Corinth - the affected sheetrock and other items have been removed from the building. Mold and mildew continue to reside and flourish, however, and they await a return visit by the City Inspector. The costumes have almost all been washed and are presently being stored in homes of volunteers and board members. The final show of the theater season was performed at another venue downtown, and plans are still underway for the annual summer youth performance. Auditions were being held the afternoon of our visit by the former Artistic Director, who returned to help out during the crisis. The most pressing issues for Corinth Theater Arts at this time seem to be clean-up of the building and residuals, moving forward with FEMA/MEMA protocol, storage for costumes and other properties that have been salvaged, the search for a possible “new home”, and the plans to sustain membership and donations. This is the typical scenario for theaters in MS regarding response and recovery since Hurricane Katrina. Susan recorded the damage with photos, and Tommy Ledbetter has provided the MAC with an additional disc of images. We left very invigorated and charged about our visit to this little creative hamlet in the northeast corner of our state that could easily be a beacon for other communities searching for “how to do it”. There is a great future in the arts for Corinth, and we were delighted to have made the trip! We were thanked for “giving great hope”, and commitments were made on both parts to keep in touch and move forward with recovery, assistance, and new friendships.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

As part of a statewide effort to bring theatres, performers and arts supporters together, the Mississippi Theatre Association (MTA) and the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) is hosting a town hall meeting in Greenville, MS on June 5, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at E E Bass Cultural Center, located at 323 South Main Street, Greenville, MS. Please enter through the north entrance (North of Stein Hall). We invite the arts community from the Delta area to join us for an afternoon of conversation.

The town hall meeting will be hosted by both the Mississippi Theatre Association and the Mississippi Arts Commission. In addition to MTA President Stacy Howell talking about MTA, Diane Williams, Arts Industry Director & Accessibility Coordinator, Mississippi Arts Commission, will talk about the MAC. These individuals will talk about their organizations and then start a conversation that will provide participants an opportunity to talk about their organizations and interests.

We hope to have a great turn out from theatres and arts organizations from the Delta region.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rocking in Rolling Fork

Rolling Fork ambassadors Lynne Moses, Meg Cooper and Mary Corban stop for a picture on the porch of the "blues cabin." The cabin was moved downtown from nearby Mont Helena Plantation and serves as a replica of Muddy Waters' birthplace. The Muddy Waters Mississippi Blues Trail marker is just a few steps away from this cabin, which serves as a museum and welcome center during the Deep Delta Festival and the Great Delta Bear Affair. If you haven't spent much time in Rolling Fork, or aren't very sure where to find it on the map, I encourage you to visit and experience the great hospitality, arts, food and music.