Claudia Cartee has worked as a professional studio potter since 1973. She was born into a family of artists. Her mother was a visual artist and her father was a musician and master mold maker. He was the one to set Claudia on her journey in clay by purchasing a potter’s wheel for her. She began her formal college-level studies in pottery and received her degree at California State University.
In 1978, she was asked to join the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi. She was one of only a few female artists who worked with clay on a wheel. She has been a Guild Fellow since 1987. Ms. Cartee has served as president of the Guild and on the Board of Directors and has shown her work for decades at the popular Chimneyville Crafts Festival.
Ms. Cartee received a scholarship to study at The Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, which she credits as a turning point in her career. A year after studying at Penland, she was awarded the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Artist Fellowship award. She received the honor again in 2012.
Among her clay sculptures and wall pieces, Ms. Cartee’s usable pottery and functional works are very popular with collectors. She signs her work “Ka”, which means the part of the spirit that lives on after death.
She has received numerous awards from juried shows and festivals throughout Mississippi and the region. Her gallery and museum exhibitions range from the Meridian Museum of Art to the Attic Gallery in Vicksburg, the University of Southern Mississippi’s Museum of Art, and the Mississippi Museum of Art, among many others. Her work resides in permanent collections throughout Mississippi.
Ms. Cartee’s exceptional success as a potter from rural Mississippi has cultivated arts tourism in Seminary, Mississippi, where her studio and sales gallery are located. She has shared her love of creating pottery by teaching throughout her career, mentoring clay artists and conducting countless workshops to help the next generation of potters.
Scott Barretta entered the world of blues scholarship when he edited Sweden’s Jefferson Blues magazine while teaching at Lund University. In 1999, Mr. Barretta became the editor of Living Blues magazine at the University of Mississippi where he began to form partnerships with Mississippi’s institutions of higher learning, museums, libraries, festivals, and economic development groups to promote Mississippi’s creative culture.
He is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of blues music and artists. Scott has written, researched, and consulted on many key projects in Mississippi. They include the interpretative signage for markers on the Mississippi Blues Trail, the K-12 Blues Curriculum for the Mississippi Arts Commission and the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, and the Grammy Museum – Mississippi.
Mr. Barretta entertains the public with his vast knowledge and enthusiasm during his weekly blues radio show Highway 61 on MPB Think Radio and his weekly column on the blues for The Clarion Ledger.
Mr. Barretta is currently co-producing a documentary film on Mississippi Fred McDowell and writing two books on the blues. He is also conducting editorial work for a music and oral histories project with Dr. William Ferris.
He is an ambassador for Mississippi and a preservationist of its musical heritage. He is known as a friend to and an advocate for blues musicians everywhere. Mr. Barretta’s passion and dedication to teaching Mississippians and the world about the state’s music culture is evident through his devotion to the music and the people of Mississippi.
Mathilde “Tig” Notaro has become one of the most sought-after comedians of the modern era. Ms. Notaro was born in Jackson, Mississippi and spent her early childhood in Pass Christian. She calls Mississippi’s Gulf Coast home.
A versatile entertainer, Ms. Notaro is a regular on the late night talk show circuit, making appearances on The Conan O’Brien Show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. She has appeared in numerous movies and television shows and guest starred in The Office, Community, and Transparent. She is also a regular contributor to Public Radio International’s This American Life with Ira Glass.
In July 2012, after surviving a life-threatening illness and the death of her mother, Ms. Notaro was diagnosed with invasive cancer in both breasts. Days after her diagnosis, she performed at Largo in Los Angeles and shocked the audience with a frank and funny set detailing her recent events. Fellow comedian Louis C.K. released the audio of her groundbreaking performance on his website, and Tig’s performance became a national media story. The Largo set was released on CD as Tig Notaro: Live. Live was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album in 2013.
Her career on stage and screen continues to expand. Most recently, she starred in and co-directed Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted, a comedy special for HBO. She is featured in Tig, a Netflix Original documentary that chronicles her life after it famously fell apart.
Ms. Notaro’s latest pilot, One Mississippi, premiered in December 2015. The show follows Notaro as she negotiates the complex family dynamics in her childhood hometown in Mississippi after the unexpected death of her mother. The semi-autobiographical comedy/drama was picked up by Amazon Prime for five additional episodes.
Dr. Tommie ‘Tonea’ Stewart
Dr. Tommie “Tonea” Stewart is a native of Greenwood, Mississippi and a tenured professor, former Chair of Theatre Arts, and Dean of Performing and Visual Arts at Alabama State University.
Dr. Stewart is a trailblazer in theatre. She was the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate from Florida State University’s School of Theatre and the first McKnight Doctoral Fellow in Theatre Arts. During her study at FSU, Dr. Stewart received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1995, she was inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame.
During her time as a student and later as a professor at Jackson State University, Dr. Stewart was a protege of writer Dr. Margaret Walker Alexander. Over the years, Dr. Stewart has returned to Jackson State to participate in theatrical productions. Notably, in 1973, she was one of the featured lecturers at the Phillis Wheatley Poetry Festival, which featured nearly 30 of the leading black female artists of the day, including Alice Walker, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, and Charlayne Hunter Gault.
Dr. Stewart began her professional acting career in 1969 at New Stage Theatre, where she was the first African American to direct and star in a leading role. Since then, Dr. Stewart has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center and for audiences in Turkey, South Korea, Scotland, Mexico, and Canada.
Her film credits include The Rosa Parks Story, Mississippi Burning, Invasion of the Body Snatchers III, The Wronged Man, The Hollars, and A Time to Kill. Her performance in A Time to Kill garnered an NAACP Image Award.
Stewart’s television appearances include the shows Walker, Texas Ranger, Memphis Beat, Matlock, ER, and Touched by an Angel. But Dr. Stewart may be best known for playing Aunt Etta Kibbie on the television series In the Heat of the Night in more than 30 episodes.
She is a 1999 Gabriel Award winner, and a New York World Festival Gold Medal Award winner for her narration of the Public Radio International series Remembering Slavery.
Dr. Stewart has also been recognized for her artistic excellence as a “Champion of Change” by President Barack Obama.
Along with teaching generations of young actors at the college level, she led community education programs in acting for youth and adults. And with a group of arts leaders, Dr. Stewart helped the Mississippi Arts Commission initiate the Governor’s Arts Awards in 1988.
Tom "Bones" Malone
Tom “Bones” Malone started making music with brass instruments at age 14. From these beginnings in a rock band in Sumrall, Mississippi, Mr. Malone has forged an international career performing, writing, arranging, recording, directing, and producing all genres and styles of music with the world’s most popular artists of the last 60 years.
Tom is a musical Renaissance man. While he specializes in jazz trombone, he has recorded and performed professionally on more than 15 different brass and woodwind instruments. He has played on more than 1,000 records, 3,000 radio and television commercials, and more than 4,000 television shows. Highlights include major airline and automobile advertisements and themes for CBS This Morning, Murder She Wrote, and the 1992 Winter Olympics.
Mr. Malone has released two solo albums: Soul Bones and Standards of Living.
Growing up on a farm, Tom moved from tuba to trombone in the Sumrall High School band. He went to the University of Southern Mississippi and played in student music groups. His talent was quickly noticed, which led to nightclub performances in Jackson with Brenda Lee while still a student at USM. This landed him an invitation to perform with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
Mr. Malone transferred to the University of North Texas at Denton to finish his music studies, where he played trombone with the well-known 1 O’Clock Jazz Band. From there, he went to New York City to pursue his music career. He quickly established himself in the New York music scene, most notably working with jazz giant Gil Evans and performing in his orchestra. Tom toured with popular jazz and rock groups during his early career, including Frank Zappa and Blood Sweat and Tears in the early 1970s.
In 1975, Tom Malone became an original band member for the television program Saturday Night Live, a position he held for 10 years. Tom was a senior member of the horn section and band leader from 1981 to 1985 where arranged hundreds of charts for the guest musical stars who appeared on the show.
He helped create the music for The Blues Brothers skit and performed in the original Blues Brothers Band with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. He played on their million-selling debut record and film soundtrack and appeared as himself in The Blues Brothers movie.
After leaving Saturday Night Live, former band mate and friend Paul Schaffer hired Tom to play in the horn section of the CBS Orchestra. Mr. Malone worked for more than twenty years on The Late Show with David Letterman, until its final broadcast in 2015.
With a long successful career as a musician, Tom is passionate about giving back to the next generation. Along with continued performing, arranging, producing and composing duties, his future will be filled with conducting music clinics for the next generation of musicians.
Copyright 2006–2016 Mississippi Arts Commission