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Director’s Column

MAC Executive Director Malcolm White

 

May-June 2017

 

Arts advocates from across the state poured into Mississippi’s statehouse for MAC’s Arts Day at the Capitol on March 29, 2017. The marble halls were filled with dancers, painters, musicians, actors, writers and patrons of the arts, all there to celebrate and advocate for the arts in Mississippi. 

As our state celebrates its 200th birthday, the importance of the arts is perhaps more visible than ever. Events happening around the state this year celebrate Mississippi’s creative heritage in music, visual arts, dance and more. In a soon-to-be released bicentennial curriculum, students will learn about Mississippi’s history, 200 years in the making, through the lens of the arts. While studying our state’s history infused with its rich arts legacy, children in elementary school through high school can reflect on our state’s past and become inspired to create its future. Special thanks to our partners at Mississippi Museum of Art and Mississippi Department of Education for helping make this project a reality.

The bicentennial year is an auspicious time to plan for the future, and at MAC, we are finishing up our strategic planning process. We are excited to share both our strategic plan for 2018-2022 and the results of our statewide survey that informed the direction of the plan, scheduled to be published in late summer/early fall.

Much planning and progress is taking shape behind the scenes at MAC. The Whole Schools Summer Institute will take place June 12-16 in Gulfport at the Jefferson Davis campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where educators will spend the week learning about fun and effective strategies for integrating the arts into their classrooms. MAC’s program staff has been diligently working through the grant-making process as we prepare to announce grantees for Fiscal Year 2018. Finally, MAC will soon launch an updated website that will better communicate MAC’s programs and services in the digital world.

We look forward to sharing more news and projects with you soon. Stay tuned, and as always, thank you for supporting Mississippi’s thriving creative culture.

Best,
Malcolm White, MAC Executive Director

 

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March-April 2017

 

Look around the state, and you'll find events and programs proudly supported by the Mississippi Arts Commission. Last month, the Whole Schools Institute in Tupelo trained educators on how to integrate arts into their classrooms. The Oxford Film Festival brought thousands of visitors to Oxford and saw a $6,000 increase in ticket sales over last year. MAC, in partnership with the governor's office, honored six world-class contributors to the arts in Mississippi at the 2017 Governor's Arts Awards. We also published the new edition of the MAC Artist Roster, a juried directory of performing and teaching artists who have shown mastery in their fields. 

Last fall, we provided funding for eight counties that had not received MAC grants in ten years to host arts presentations and grant information sessions. The news story "Commission revives arts in 8 counties" shares the positive impact reported by community members, who may not have otherwise visited their local libraries, where the gatherings were held, nor engaged with the arts. 

I also had the great privilege of speaking at a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Placemaking workshop and training in Clarksdale, and a Building Creative Economy Assets workshop at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in my hometown of Perkinston. MAC continues to help equip members of Mississippi's creative economy with the tools and networks they need to thrive. 

We encourage you join us at our annual Arts Day at the Capitol on March 29, an opportunity to share our stories with legislators and community members at the Mississippi State Capitol. This will be followed by an evening event at Cathead Distillery. We look forward to seeing you and celebrating the good health of the arts in Mississippi.

Best,
Malcolm White, MAC Executive Director

 

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January-February 2017

 

We're in for an exciting year at MAC, having launched a strategic planning process that will shape our work for the next five years. Already, several hundred of you have shared in surveys and interviews how you think MAC can best promote and support the arts.

Here are just a few of the arts opportunities and events that are on the horizon. Next week we begin accepting spring grant applications to support individual artists and arts organizations, including Artist Fellowships and Folk Art Apprenticeships.  This month  we recognize six outstanding contributors to the arts in Mississippi at the 2017 Governor's Arts Awards.

Throughout the year, MAC will participate in projects that commemorate the Mississippi bicentennial, such as launching an arts education curriculum in partnership with the Mississippi Museum of Art and the Mississippi Department of Education.  We continue to champion the Mississippi Creative Economy, hosting roundtable discussions to understand the needs of artists and arts entrepreneurs.

Read on to learn more. As always, we thank you for supporting the thriving culture of the arts that defines us as a state.

Best,
Malcolm White, MAC Executive Director

 

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December 2016

Dear Mississippi Arts Commission supporters, partners, and friends,


We hope that this note finds you well. As we close out 2016, we’d like to share with you some big changes at MAC this year, from the members of our staff to the way we communicate with you.

I returned as Executive Director in March, which I describe as going “back to the future.” As most of you know from my 2005-2012 tenure at MAC, I am a big fan of change and enjoy the role of change agent. 

Since then, both the organization and I have continued to learn and grow. As I traveled the state for the past three years as Director of Visit Mississippi, I saw firsthand the impressive artists and arts organizations at the heart of our creative economy. This experience inspired new ideas about how to better manage, connect and share the power of the arts as a creative force, an economic and education tool and a way to improve civic pride in our communities. I look forward to drawing on this experience as MAC continues its work as an active supporter and promoter of the arts in community life and education. I’ve always known that the arts are my home, and it’s good to be back. 

We have launched a new e-newsletter and look forward to sharing monthly updates on MAC program activities, notable arts news and events, and grant announcements. Let’s envision a better Mississippi together. 

Best,

Malcolm White, MAC Executive Director

 

 

Archived columns from former MAC Executive Directors Tom Pearson, Sallye Killebrew, and Malcolm White (who first served as MAC's Director from 2005 to 2012).

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