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Governor’s Awards: 2011 Recipients

Arts in Education

Charles A. Rhoads

Brandon, Mississippi









Mr. Rhoads has worked in public education for 17 years as an art instructor.  Throughout his tenure, he has not only produced talented young artists, but he has inspired students to give back to their community.  His vast knowledge of the visual arts and his understanding of sound teaching methodology give him the ability to motivate even the most reluctant student artist.  His classroom is a nurturing, learner-friendly environment where students are given the autonomy to try techniques that inspire them.  He has personally built a visual arts program at three of Rankin County School District’s more impoverished areas; McLaurin Attendance Center, Pisgah High School and now at Puckett High School.  He is an extremely gifted artist himself who could have chosen a far more lucrative profession.  However, he has chosen public education and has devoted his life to giving the arts a face in rural Rankin County. 

Nominated by Wendy Clemons, Puckett High School

Arts in Community

Natchez Literary & Cinema Celebration

natchez, Mississippi







Since 1990, the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration(NLCC) has annually provided a five-day conference of high quality, cross-cultural, multi-faceted programs, spanning the creative arts of literature, film, music, theatre and visual art.  The leaders of the NLCC are proud that the mostly free conference attracts thousands of racially inclusive attendees, including students, professors, and teachers.  Former Mississippi Governor William F. Winter has served as Director of Proceedings for all 21 years of the conference, introducing such gifted artists as Eudora Welty, Maya Angelou, Julia Wright, and Gerald McRaney.  Original documentaries, commercial films, theatrical performances, interactive exhibits, and hundreds of original programs have followed themes of Southern life.  Annual artistic outreach programs include the Ellen Douglas Writing Workshops, the Chocolate Milk Café for young writers, a summer workshop for young writers and filmmakers, and the Richard Wright Ramble, a tour of locations associated with the famed author.  Through the Horton Foote Award for Special Achievement in Screenwriting, the NLCC has recognized such Southern-related screenwriters as Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade), Alred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) and Beth Henley (Crimes of the Heart). 

Nominated by Mark LaFrancis

Artistic Excellence

Gwendolyn A. Magee

Jackson, Mississippi








From the British Isles through France, from Namibia to Japan, people are familiar with the work of the Mississippi artist Gwendolyn A. Magee.  Her work has evolved from hand-stitched traditional quilts to breathtaking, illustrative and highly texturized narrative textile art that can now be found in the permanent collection of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.  A Fellow of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, Magee has received numerous awards including the United States Artists Award in 2007.  She spent her formative years in North Carolina, but has been a resident of Mississippi since 1972.  Magee was 46 when she decided to take her first quilting class.  With her exacting eye and assured hand, she quickly mastered appliqué and free-motion embroidery techniques and discovered those radiant colors she had always imagined.  The scope of her art ranges from abstract to narrative.  Her use of color, design and subject matter are what make her work so compelling.  Representational imagery is the format she uses to delve deep into her cultural heritage as she shares her insightful exploration and expression of both historical and present day experience of African-Americans.

Nominated by Geraldine Kearse Brookins, Ph.D.

Excellence in Music

Mac McAnally

Of Belmont, Mississippi

Now resides in Nashville, Tennessee








Music was the most obvious road for Lyman "Mac" McAnally to take from his Belmont, Mississippi hometown. He was a guitar and piano prodigy who performed in clubs at 13, wrote his first song at 15 and landed as a Muscle Shoals studio musician at 18. Mac signed his first record deal at 20 and launched two successful singles that were on the Billboard Hot 100.   His songwriting drew the attention of Jimmy Buffett and Hank Williams, Jr., both of whom recorded his songs. Alabama took his "Old Flame" to No. 1 in 1981. The song cemented his status as a hit maker, a reputation that has never waned. Reba McEntire, T.G. Sheppard, David Allan Coe, Shenandoah, Ricky Van Shelton, Charley Pride, Randy Travis and Steve Wariner are just some of the artists who cut Mac's songs over the next 20 years.  Meanwhile, Mac's skills as a musician continued to bring calls that carried him into the studio. Over the course of his career he's built an enviable registry of credits that includes Roy Orbison, Hank Williams, Jr., Amy Grant, Jimmy Buffett, Travis Tritt, Linda Ronstadt, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Dolly Parton and many more. And his guitar and vocal skills weren't confined to the studio as he joined Buffett's touring Coral Reefer band, an association that continues to this day. McAnally has also produced several of Buffett's albums and written many of his songs.  In 2007, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the following year the Country Music Association named him Musician of the Year. 

Nominated by John J. Cook, M.D.

Lifetime Achievement

Joe Willie"Pinetop" Perkins

of Belzoni, Mississippi

Now resides in Austin, Texas









Research the Mississippi Delta blues or any of the most revered and respected names in blues music such as Chess Records, King Biscuit Time, Sun Records, or Muddy Waters, and you will discover they were at one time a part of Pinetop Perkins’ life.  He received a Grammy Award in 2005 for Lifetime Achievement, but Pinetop wasn’t finished making music.  In 2008 he received another Grammy Award, this time for Traditional Blues Album.  Born on a farm outside of Belzoni, Mississippi in 1913, he taught himself how to play guitar and began playing at dances, house parties, and in honky tonks.  A serious knife injury to his left arm caused him to put down the guitar and concentrate on the instrument that would bring him worldwide fame and acclaim, the piano.  After decades of playing for some of the biggest names nationally in the blues, including Robert Nighhawk, Earl Hooker and Little Milton, Pinetop replaced Otis Spann in Muddy Waters’ band in 1969 and remained an integral part of that world renowned blues band until 1980. After 60 years of success, Pinetop was just beginning.  He stepped out as a front man in 1992 and has released more than 15 solo records since then.  His influence also includes the Pinetop Perkins Foundation, a tax exempt non-profit organization that provides support to young musicians and helps provide care for elderly musicians at the twilight of their career.

Nominated by Ron Brown, Mississippi Public Broadcasting and Edgar E. Smith, Ph.D.


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