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Delta Blues Museum Receives Mississippi Arts Commission Operating Grant

Clarksdale, Mississippi, United States
Ken Murphy

The nation's first museum dedicated to the Blues awarded funds for general operating support

The Delta Blues Museum of Clarksdale has been awarded a $27,000 operating grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC). This grant is a portion of the $1.34 million in grants the Commission will award in 2014-2015 and will be used to fund Museum operations, including events and temporary exhibits. The grants are made possible by continued funding from the Mississippi State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. "The creative economy has never been more vibrant than it is today in the communities across Mississippi," stated Dr. Tom Pearson, Executive Director at MAC. "This agency is honored to play a small role in assisting these organizations to continue their work of reinforcing the value of the arts and the role they play in creative place- making and economic development."

The MAC Grant at Work

Delta Blues Museum Director Shelley Ritter sees the continued support and funding from the state agency as vital to the growth of the Museum, citing the 2014 grant as the 10th she has successfully sought in her 11 years with the Museum. "The Mississippi Arts Commission's continued support of the museum is crucial to our ongoing efforts to fulfill our mission. Our mission aligns with that of MAC's Folk and Traditional Arts program, in that we work to celebrate Mississippi's--and America's--traditional musical art form, the Blues," offers Ritter. "I've personally seen the expansion of both the Museum's and MAC's programs through the years and have been pleased with the increase of traditional artists on the MAC roster."

MAC grant funds are also used to support educational initiatives and public events held at the Museum throughout the year, like the "Gone But Not Forgotten" exhibit opening this Thursday night, July 17th, from 5 to 7 p.m. Billy Johnson's photography exhibit highlights Delta Blues musicians who are now deceased but whose legacies live on through their music-Museum visitors will have a "backstage" glimpse into the lives of these artists, through Billy's images. MAC funds will help offset expenses for the temporary exhibit--just one example of the MAC grant at work.

About the Mississippi Arts Commission

The Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, serves the residents of the state by providing grants that support programs to enhance communities; assist artists and arts organizations; promote the arts in education and celebrate Mississippi's cultural heritage. Established in 1968, the Mississippi Arts Commission is funded by the Mississippi Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mississippi Endowment for the Arts at the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson and other private sources. The agency serves as an active supporter and promoter of arts in community life and in arts education.

About the Delta Blues Museum

Established in 1979 by the Carnegie Public Library Board of Trustees and re-organized as a stand-alone museum in 1999, the Delta Blues Museum is Mississippi's oldest music museum and the nation's first museum dedicated to the American art form known as the Blues. A 2013 recipient of the IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Services-the nation's highest honor for museum and library service to the community-the Delta Blues Museum is dedicated to creating a welcoming place where visitors find meaning, value and perspective by exploring the history and heritage of the unique American musical art form, the Blues.

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