The National Endowment for the Arts created the American Masterpieces initiative to acquaint Americans with the best of their cultural and artistic legacy. The performances, exhibitions, tours, and educational programs held as a result of this initiative are geared to reach large and small communities in all 50 states. Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts.
The Mississippi Arts Commission's first American Masterpieces project in the fall of 2007, focused on the works of musical genius, William Grant Still from Woodville, MS. A series of concerts, featuring the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, traveled to five venues across the state and featured the voices of seven choirs from Mississippi universities. Currently, a traveling exhibit highlighting the life and work of this amazing musician is visiting venues across Mississippi. This exhibit is the result of a collaborative effort of the Culture Club, the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Mississippi Library Commission, the Mississippi Humanities Council and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
The second series in MAC's American Masterpieces Initiative was the American Masters of the Mississippi Gulf Coast: George Ohr, Dusti Bongé, Walter Anderson, Richmond Barthé. American Masters of the Mississippi Gulf Coast was also a traveling exhibition organized by the Mississippi Arts Commission that featured the works of these talented Mississippi visual arts masters. The exhibit visited eight venues across Mississippi between August 2008 and January 2010.
The Mississippi Arts Commission was proud to be a supporter of the Eudora Welty Centennial Celebration, and to include it as the third in our series of American Masterpieces Initiatives. She is recognized as one of America's greatest and most cherished authors and April 13, 2009 marks her hundredth birthday. Welty lived and worked in Jackson for most of her 92 years and found a "sense of place" there that fueled her creative vision that would be the driving force behind her career and life.
For two exciting weeks every four years, dancers from around the world, along with students and teachers, company directors and ballet patrons converge on Jackson, Mississippi to compete for prizes, study with master teachers, offer company contracts and enjoy some of the world's best dance performances. The Mississippi Arts Commission was proud to feature the '10 International Ballet Competition as the agency's fourth American Masterpieces Initiative. For more information visit www.usaibc.com.
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