We’re big fans of the Mississippi Arts Commission and all the good things they do for the state of Mississippi. The Commission is currently under threat by the State Senate and this is NOT GOOD. We need to rally and show our support in any way possible so that the politicians in Jackson know how important the arts (and the tourism they attract!) are to our state.

The below text is from an email sent out by Oxford’s local arts commission, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.

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SB 2611 (click here to see the bill) has been introduced in the MS Senate that would abolish the Mississippi Arts Commission. Some results of this Bill will be:

  • Transfer all responsibilities, power and assets of the Arts Commission to the Mississippi Development Authority on July 1
  • Allow the governor to appoint 15 people to a new Mississippi Arts Advisory Council, dismantling the current Arts Commission board
  • Leave council meetings to the discretion of the Mississippi Development Authority director, currently Glenn McCullough
  • Will put the arts under the auspices of people with considerably less experience in this area rather than leaving it under the control of MAC which is working from a 50 year foundation with people who understand the MS arts scene.
  • Puts the arts squarely into the political arena, thereby making them, essentially, a partisan issue.

Raises questions about the future of such commission duties as distributing $1.5 million per year in grant money to Mississippians and local arts organizations such as the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.

The proposal does not save money and is ineffective in government efficiency. MAC is committed to performance based evaluation of government operations, and it is alarming that the proposal involving MDA does not come with a study, review, plan or any analysis of accountability, efficiency or transparency– the fundamental values of public funding. MAC receives a small amount of state money, but (with federal match) re-grants over 50% of their annual budget back to communities. This money comes to Yoknapatawpha Arts Council as General Operating funding which is one of the most difficult types of funding to secure as most grants do not fund expenses such as staffing, electricity, building maintenance, etc.

Learn more at an informational meeting this Sunday at 1 pm at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center.

Call & Email!
We need you to take action to preserve the Mississippi Arts Commission! According to the Senate Docket Room, the person to call is State Senator Eugene S. Clarke, the appropriations committee chair.

  • The best way to speak with Sen. Clarke is to set up an appointment with him at the Capitol at (601) 359-3250.
  • If you are unable to meet in person, you can call the same number and leave a message with his assistant, and Sen. Clarke will call you back.

You can also contact the authors of the legislation:

Finally, contact our local representatives and senators to let them know you think they should vote NO changes to the Mississippi Arts Commission!

Nolan Mettetal nmettetal@house.ms.gov, 662-487-1512
Jay Hughes jphughes@house.ms.gov, 601-359-3339
Gray Tollison gtollison@senate.ms.gov, 601-359-2395
Steve Massengill smassengill@house.ms.gov 601-359-3353
John Thomas “Trey” Lamar, III jlamar@house.ms.gov, 601-359-3343
Charles Jim Beckett jbeckett@house.ms.gov (601) 359-3335

Here is the Arts Commission: Copy them and let them know you support them!

Malcolm White, Director Mississippi Arts Commission mwhite@arts.state.ms.us