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12/18/2020 - Jackson, Miss.

Mississippi has a rich history of contributions to the country's arts and culture landscape. Many talented musicians, writers, visual and performing artists have called Mississippi home. Mississippi Public Universities help celebrate and examine this rich heritage, while also cultivating the next generation of talented artists, writers and performers.

As an educational and cultural center for the Mississippi Delta and the region, Delta State University promotes art and culture through a variety of programs and initiatives. Delta State is home to the state-of-the-art Bologna Performing Arts Center which offers a rich tapestry of cultural and educational opportunities, attracting quality programming, superb artists and powerful performances. DSU's Delta Music Institute features two world-class recording facilities, opportunities with GRAMMY™ Museum Mississippi, and the traveling Mobile Music Lab. Serving more than 4,000 students, the DMI Mobile Lab program provides exposure to songwriting as well as basic digital audio technology and videography to students across the Delta. Delta State's International Conference on the Blues attracts national and international musicians and scholars, along with fans of the blues, for three days of presentations and performances.

Jackson State University hosts several cultural events while also partnering with Jackson Public Schools on "Ask for More Arts," which helps integrate art into JPS classrooms to help facilitate learning and community. The JSU theatre department always offers a series of inspiring and thought-provoking performances, often exploring complex themes intended to facilitate change for the better. These performances are open to the community, most recently through a virtual platform. Numerous theatre students have gone on to have fulfilling careers on Broadway and the film industry. JSU also has several student-led creative arts collectives that hold various school and community events and initiatives that shed light on the need and benefit of creative arts as a risk-free exploration of innovation and artistic expression.

Mississippi State's Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts generates more than $4 million annually. Along with hosting legendary performers like B.B. King, Wynton Marsalis and Lyle Lovett, the center's revived 19th-century theater has been listed by Architectural Digest magazine as a "historic American theater." Its 30,000 square-foot conference facility hosts over 70,000 visitors each year. The lead arts organization for the national Any Given Child initiative, it locally works to increase youth access to arts opportunities in public schools. Mitchell Memorial Library on the Starkville Campus is home to the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, one of only six U.S. presidential libraries. Visitors can enjoy the Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana, a tribute to the 16th president, and the John Grisham Room, featuring the author and MSU alumnus's best-selling books published in several languages.

Mississippi University for Women offers more than 100 cultural events annually, most without charge, enhancing the quality of life in the region. The Leslie Farrell Threadgill Lecture and Artist Series endowment, held by the MUW Foundation and given by her family, is The W's largest lectureship endowment. The fund promotes family and cultural influences to advance the artistic and intellectual environment of the university and to strengthen the cultural bond between the university and the public.

From the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts to the Center for the Study of Southern Culture to William Faulkner's Rowan Oak, the University of Mississippi is home to many programs, events and facilities that support the creative economy. This past spring, the celebrated Willie Morris Awards for Southern Writing moved from New York City to UM through a $3 million gift from Reba White Williams and Dave Williams. The awards were created in 2008 to promote Southern writers, especially contemporary ones, while also preserving the life and legacy of Yazoo City native Morris. The Morris Awards add to a robust lineup of annual compelling literary-themed events that include the Oxford Conference for the Book and the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference.

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is one of only 37 institutions in the nation accredited in theatre, art and design, dance and music. Annually, USM hosts more than 300 exhibitions, concerts, performances and world-class artists. Through the Arts Institute of Mississippi, USM promotes arts across Mississippi, works to increase funding for arts education and public arts, encourages collaboration and public outreach among USM arts programs, recognizes local and statewide arts initiatives and special projects, and celebrates outstanding Mississippi high school arts teachers.

For the past four decades, the Department of Fine Arts at Alcorn State University has sponsored what has become one of Mississippi's longest-running and most prestigious jazz festivals. Named the Alcorn State University Jazz Festival (ASU JazzFest), this day-long celebration features performances by some of the world's standout jazz musicians, student groups, and ensembles. Highlights of the festival include the afternoon educational workshops and free evening concerts by some of the most notable jazz greats. Masters like Clark Terry, Max Roach, Slide Hampton, Maynard Ferguson, Freddie Hubbard, Louie Bellson, Donald Byrd, Ramsey Lewis, Stanley Turrentine, McCoy Tyner, Arturo Sandoval, and Branford Marsalis have graced the stage of this event throughout its 40-year history, establishing the ASU Jazz Festival as a true gem and leading musical event throughout the southern region.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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