Art commission promotes Mississippi arts and culture

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Arts Commission has been on the road visiting cities throughout the state. The visits have been part of an effort to enhance the arts and culture in Mississippi. Tuesday night the commission was at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport, meeting with local artists to get ideas.

That new strategic plan is expected to be published sometime in July. In between that time the Art Commission will revisit its mission statement, vision statement and core values. Those changes will all be based on input from the public.

As a part of the Mississippi Art Commissions Strategic Planning Process, the commission has traveled the state conducting a total of five town hall meetings ending in Gulfport.

"I think its really important that the art commission has these town hall meetings. They're very cognizant of the needs of the community and the desires and the fact that we're working really hard to make those things happen," Wings Performing Arts Director, Tonya Hays said.

"We're doing these town hall meetings. We're doing online surveys. We're doing interviews. We're doing polls. We're just gathering up all sorts of information as we prepare our next five year plan for how the arts commission will function," Malcolm White, of the Mississippi Arts Commission said.

That five year plan will map out the services and goals the commission will operate under. The meetings allow the public to tell the commission face to face, what sorts of things they would like to see.

"What we hope to achieve is to get people to talk to us. To tell us what their community needs, what they need as artists. It's all sorts of really interesting things. Some of which we do and have been doing for a long time, and some of which we haven't done and we will be incorporating into our days work as we continue down this planning process," White said.

"I think that arts nurture not only the talents and the passion someone has, but also the spirit. Because of the cooperative nature of the arts, it also nurtures team building and leadership skills as well," Hays said.