News

NEA Chairman Jane Chu to Visit Mississippi July 17-18, 2017

Washington, DC –Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), will visit Jackson, Oxford, Clarksdale, and Indianola, Mississippi, July 17-18, 2017. While in the state, she will visit arts organizations funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mississippi Arts Commission and give remarks at an event open to the public in Jackson.

Chairman Chu will begin her trip on Monday, July 17 in Jackson, first meeting with a community group of quilters called SEW, an acronym for Sewing Every Wednesday. This group began with support from the Mississippi Arts Commission and meets weekly to sew and offer guidance on each other’s projects.

Next, Chairman Chu will visit the Mississippi Museum of Art (the Museum), which received an FY 2017 grant of $10,000 from the NEA to support an upcoming interdisciplinary symposium to explore the issues related to art and identity in the American South. Chairman Chu will tour the Museum and hear about the impact of an NEA FY 2014 Our Town grant on the Museum’s Art Garden.

At 11:00am at the Mississippi Museum of Art, Chairman Chu will give remarks about the ways the arts are bringing vitality to Mississippi communities while also supporting our national and local economies. Following her remarks, Chairman Chu will participate in a conversation with Malcolm White, executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, moderated by Betsy Bradley, director of the Mississippi Museum of Art. This event is free and open to the public.

That afternoon, Chairman Chu will visit Yoknapatawpha Arts Council in Oxford. Chairman Chu will tour the arts council’s facility, The Powerhouse, and meet with their community partners, including artists who have participated in the Arts Incubator project, which the NEA is supporting with an FY 2017 grant of $10,000.

The next day, Chairman Chu will visit Mississippi’s Delta region and two organizations supported by the Mississippi Arts Commission. First, she will attend a reception at the Delta Blues Museum, the world's first museum devoted entirely to blues, which in 2014 received a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award in recognition of the Delta Blues Museum Arts and Education Program. At the reception, the Delta Blues Museum Band will perform.

Next, Chairman Chu will tour the B. B. King Museum in Indianola. In 1991, B. B. King received a National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. The B. B. King Museum, in addition to Mississippi Museum of Art, Delta Blues Museum, and several other Mississippi museums are taking part in this summer’s Blue Star Museums program, a collaboration among the NEA, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

To find recent direct NEA grants to Mississippi organizations, visit the NEA’s grants search.

The following events are open to the media but closed to the public, except where noted below. Media who wish to attend must RSVP in advance to the NEA at auclaire@arts.gov.

July 17, 2017–Jackson and Oxford
9:15–9:45am Meet with SEW Sewing Every Wednesday quilting group
Location: Pearl Street AME Church, 2519 Robinson St, Jackson, MS 39209
Participants:
Jane Chu, chairman, National Endowment for the Arts
Malcolm White, executive director, Mississippi Arts Commission
Rhonda Blasingame, fellow with the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi/master quilter, Mississippi Arts Commission
SEW quilters


10:00–10:45am Tour of Mississippi Museum of Art
Location: 380 South Lamar Street, Jackson, MS 39201
Participants:
Jane Chu, chairman, National Endowment for the Arts
Malcolm White, executive director, Mississippi Arts Commission
Betsy Bradley, director, Mississippi Museum of Art
Ellen Leake, chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mississippi Museum of Art
Mayo Flynt, past chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mississippi Museum of Art
Jochen Wierich, interim chief curator, Mississippi Museum of Art
Julian Rankin, director of Art and Public Exchange, Mississippi Museum of Art


11:00am–noon Public Event—Remarks and Conversation. This event is open to the public and no RSVP is required.
Location: Mississippi Museum of Art, 380 South Lamar Street, Jackson, MS 39201
Participants:
Jane Chu, chairman, National Endowment for the Arts
Malcolm White, executive director, Mississippi Arts Commission
Betsy Bradley, director, Mississippi Museum of Art


4:00–5:00pm Site visit with Yoknapatawpha Arts Council
Location: 413 South 14th Street, Oxford, MS 38655
Participants:
Jane Chu, chairman, National Endowment for the Arts
Malcolm White, executive director, Mississippi Arts Commission
Wayne Andrews, director, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council
Mrs. Robyn Tannenhill, mayor, City of Oxford
Yoknapatawpha Arts Council staff
Mr. Jon Maynard, CEO & president, Oxford Lafayette Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Foundation
Allen Kurr, vice president, Economic Development Foundation
Dr. Jeff Dennis, board member, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council
Andrea (Andi) Bedsworth, Art –to – Go
Derek Brown, Life Long Productions


July 18, 2017—Clarksdale and Indianola
11:00am–noon Reception with the arts community at the Delta Blues Museum. *Note- there are some photography restrictions at the museum.
Location: Blues Alley Ln, Clarksdale, MS 38614
Participants:
Jane Chu, chairman, National Endowment for the Arts
Malcolm White, executive director, Mississippi Arts Commission
Shelley Ritter, director, Delta Blues Museum
Chuck Espy, mayor, Clarksdale,
Rep. Orlando Paden, Mississippi House of Representatives
Senator Robert L. Jackson, Mississippi State Senate


2:00–3:00pm Tour of B.B. King Museum. *Note- there are some photography restrictions at the museum.
Location: 400 2nd St, Indianola, MS 38751
Participants:
Jane Chu, chairman, National Endowment for the Arts
Malcolm White, executive director, Mississippi Arts Commission
Malika Polk-Lee, executive director, B.B. King Museum
John (Bill) McPherson, board chairman, B.B. King Museum
Allan Hammons, founding board chairman and current board member, B.B. King Museum
Robert Terrell, director of Operations, B.B. King Museum
Verna Ransom, education coordinator, B.B. King Museum

Contact

Liz Auclair (NEA), auclaire@arts.gov, 202-682-5744
Anna Ehrgott (Mississippi Arts Commission), AEhrgott@arts.ms.gov, 601-359-6546