The Southaven Arts Council is getting a boost from the state Arts Commission as it grows more active in the community.
The Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) has given the local group a $1,000 grant. Southaven Arts Council President Kelly Adkins said it is the first grant awarded the fledgling organization.
“We’re really excited to receive our first MAC grant,” Adkins said. “It’s going to be used to help us develop a strategic plan.”
Started in 2018 and currently without a facility or studio of its own, the Southaven Arts Council has not let that keep them from promoting the arts. Adkins said the strategic plan will help set in motion the council’s programs for the future.
“Nonprofits have to have a strategic plan much like for-profit businesses,” Adkins said. “We need to set up our short term and long term goals on what we would like to achieve in the future.”
The grant funding is made possible by the Mississippi State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Adkins admits the programs offered in Southaven have been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic response, but she said the council has still found ways to promote the arts.
“COVID-19 has pretty much shut us down the past few months, but we’ve been able to do a few things,” Adkins said. “We passed out art kits to underserved kids recently and we did sidewalk charcoal art to cheer up the staff at Baptist-DeSoto (Hospital) . We’re hoping to get more socially-distanced activities going soon.”
“At a time when the arts community is still very much reeling from the COVID-19’s pandemic, we are truly delighted to be able to provide grant funding to worthy organizations across the state,” added Malcolm White, MAC executive director. “We applaud and are proud to support the efforts these organizations have made to keep the arts alive in their communities.”
Since its start two years ago, the Southaven Arts Council has hosted classes and exhibits, as well as public arts programs. It has held poetry readings, a children’s art camp and an artisan festival. SAC also has a gallery at the M.R. Davis Public Library.
Adkins believes the arts are very important to the growth and quality of life in Southaven.
“There hasn’t been any resource for the arts before in Southaven,” Adkins pointed out. “We’re the third-largest city in Mississippi, the biggest in DeSoto County, and it’s time we have an arts council.”