Monday, August 29, 2011

Boys of Summer

I ran into this group of young men on a Saturday walk in the Fondren neighborhood of Jackson. Each and every one of the guys could do flips and back handsprings. It was a beautiful sight to see!

Meeting these young men reminded me of my own childhood and the ways my brothers and I filled our long summer Saturdays. I was a mud pie gal, myself. My brothers, on the other hand, had machetes and would carve trails through the dense cane thickets near our rural home. It makes me think a bit about the way we "play" here in Mississippi. What are some of the folk traditions in our state that serve as ways to play? Would we consider games like "Red Rover" a folk tradition? Surely mud pies fall into the folk! What about clover necklaces and catching lightening bugs? Do you have any to add?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Creative Economy Summit

The MAC has been in partnership with the Mississippi Development Authority for quite some time on a very big project: an all encompassing study of the creative economy in Mississippi. Such a study is quite an undertaking and it took lots of brain power and research to explore the vast creative jobs and industries based here in the Magnolia State. Last week, we unveiled the study and its revealing results to a knock-out crowd at the Jackson Convention Center. We heard about the importance of creative jobs in the information age from Governor Barbour and our hopes for new, creative industries were increased by the words of Mary Peavey. MAC directory Malcolm White mapped out the creative nooks and crannies of our landscape and helped us all to better understand the true creative goldmine that is Mississippi.

The attendees were engaged, excited and diverse: The Creative Economy Summit was not a place for a free boxed lunch and a day away from the computer. It was truly a moment of enlightenment, of hope and inspiration. Attendees experienced an intense "speed dating" session of varied creative economy topics, in-depth break-out sessions and an all encompassing panel discussion on best practices for growing the creative economy in your community.

At the end of the day, everyone in attendance was asking for more. The presenters, the attendees, the staff and the artists... everyone wanted more of the enrichment that only a creative economy can bring: One that nourishes the soul and pads the pocket book.

Go here to listen to Governor Barbour talk about the "creative assets" of our state.

Go here to download the full Creative Economy study.

In the meantime, a few facts:

  • In Mississippi the relative concentration of people employed in all creative enterprises was 32 percent higher than Alabama, 15 percent higher than Kentucky, 14 percent higher than South Dakota and 54 percent higher than west Virginia.

  • 60,704 people are employed in Mississippi's creative economy, including both employees of creative companies (ie: Viking Range) and employees of other companies who work in creative occupations (ie: graphic designers).

  • Mississippi's creative enterprises (ie: McCarty Pottery) are responsible for the employment of 40,284 people in just under 3,000 establishments with almost one in three of these people 9,580-- working in a creative occupation.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Arts Service at its Best

Congratulations to MAC staffers Lee Powell and Shirley Smith on their dedicated service to the arts. In July 2011, Lee marked 10 years at the MAC and Shirley marked 25 years at the MAC. The day-to-day operations of this agency rely on the experience and expertise of these two bright women and we are very proud to call them our own. Congratulations, Lee and Shirley, and thank you for all you do for the arts in Mississippi.

Malcolm presents Lee with her award certificate from Governor Barbour.
Malcolm and Shirley stop for a smile in the MAC conference room. Thanks for 25 years, Shirley!