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Folk & Traditional Arts Program

Find out more about two community-based preservation projects from Jennifer Joy Jameson, MAC's former Folks & Traditional Arts Director, as she shares information at the NPS Divine Disorder conference in Atlanta.  The two projects are the late L.V. Hull's home and Margaret's Grocery.



“Your continued support of our annual Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival is vital to our mission to showcase blues and gospel performers and honor the Mississippi Delta’s musical heritage.  We thank you tremendously for the grant awarded to us from the MAC, and are looking forward to another banner festival.”

Maie Smith, Festival Co-chairman

Sunflower River Blues Association


Indianola blues musician and muralist Bobby Whalen, received a folk arts minigrant to paint murals and signs throughout historic Church Street, such as this work at the Motor Mouth Motorcycle Club.

From the blues music of the Delta region to the wooden boat builders on the Gulf Coast, Mississippi is home to a wealth of cultural and artistic traditions that demonstrate the deeply held values of our communities. The Folk & Traditional Arts Program works to increase the awareness and foster the continuation of these traditional forms through its grants and special projects.

Folk & Tradional Arts Director - Maria Zeringue

601/359-6034 or


Folk & Traditional Arts Grants for Organizations

A smaller (fund-wise) program offered twice a year that can be used to help support the following:
  • performances or presentations by artists from MAC’s roster or another state’s roster;
  • consultants working with your group on organizational development (including fieldwork); or
  • conference registration or training for an organization’s staff or board members.
Project Grants
Provide funding for a wide variety of projects that support and increase knowledge in the state’s traditional art forms, such as festivals, publications, workshops and surveys. The deadline is March 1 each year.
Operating Grants
This program provides operating support for organizations whose primary mission is to celebrate Mississippi’s traditional art forms.


Folk & Traditional Arts Grants for Individuals

Folk Art Fellowships
Individuals who are masters of a traditional, community-based art form may apply for an award of up to $5,000 that will help them to continue their work.
Folk Art Apprenticeships
This program provides up to $2,000 to master traditional artists to help them pass on their knowledge and skills to promising novice artists who work in their tradition.

Please note: Before sending in an application for the Folk Art Apprenticeship or Fellowship program, please contact the Folk & Traditional Arts director at the Commission to see if your art form qualifies.

Folk & Traditional Arts Initiatives and Resources

Mississippi Folklife Journal

In an effort to implement social connections between academia and scholars, photographers, presenters, and individual artists of the community, the Folk and Traditional Arts Program had re-established the defunct journal, Mississippi Folklife, as a curated website. The print publication was produced through various entities over the years, including the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, the Mississippi Folklife Association, and before that, the Mississippi Folklore Society, established in 1927. The new Mississippi Folklife journal  is a multi-media digital publication that is accessible to the public, featuring essays, photographs, short films, interviews, and performances. Mississippi Folklife serves as a forum on present-day folk and traditional arts within the state. The project's six core areas include: Music, Foodways, Letters, Media, Visual Art, Festivals/Celebrations, and Occupational Folklife. You can follow our Instagram feed at this link:
Mississippi Folklife & Folk Arts Directory
A statewide directory of traditional artists and folk cultural events found in Mississippi. The site can be searched by region or art form. New entries are added to the site on a regular basis. This project was funded in part by the Mississippi Humanities Council.

Mississippi Blues Trail Curriculum

In 2013, the Mississippi Arts Commission recently launched its Mississippi Blues Trail Curriculum online. The 18-lesson Mississippi Blues Trail Curriculum along with an interactive, multi-media resource page is available for free at

Northeast Mississippi Music Documentation Project
In 2002-03, the Commission worked in partnership with the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi to document the traditional musicians and music performance sites in northeastern Mississippi. This site (found on the Center’s website) provides highlights of some of the musicians documented through the project.
Presenting Mississippi's Traditional Artists: A Handbook for Local Arts Agencies
The online version of a booklet originally published by the Commission in 1994. It provides an introduction to community arts workers on how to document traditional artists and utilize them in programming.
The Crossroads of the Heart program featured a companion website for a traveling exhibition produced by the Commission that toured the state from 1999-2002. The site featured extensive information about the artists that were featured in the exhibit. Also included was an online resource and teachers guide.