The planters along Main Street in downtown Starkville have received a fresh coat of paint, thanks to Starkville Main Street Association, the City of Starkville, and the Starkville Area Arts Council, along with funding from the Mississippi Main Street Association.
Coordinated through SAAC with artist Graham Carraway, the project included volunteers from Starkville High School, Starkville Academy, Henderson Ward Stewart, MSU Department of Art, SAAC, and the community. Subject to social distancing requirements, volunteers worked for nearly three days after initial delays caused by Tropical Storm Cristobal. The second round of work was completed by Carraway, who created the designs for the planters including elements inspired by architectural features along Main Street.
Other public art projects are in development for the community, some of which are planned in collaboration with Alex Bostic (SAAC Board Member) and Jenna Altomonte, both faculty in MSU's Department of Art, which created a studio mural class this past Spring. Although the class was impacted by COVID-19, SAAC and MSU are excited to collaborate and engage local college artists.
"I immediately fell in love with the idea! I think anytime you can add something different or interesting to a downtown you should," says Alaina Prentice, Chair of the Starkville Main Street Association and Owner of Merle Norman Luna Bella. "Public art is supposed to be a conversation starter and eye catching. I think the SMSA Board and the SAAC were able to accomplish this with the bright bold colors. Hopefully the planters will cause people to stop and look, and maybe pop into a local retail store or restaurant as well!"
"I believe that art makes our lives better and the planters' new colors add vibrancy to downtown. I look forward to more projects that create a sense of place and fun for our downtown area," says Mayor Lynn Spruill.
"Public art is perhaps the most complicated project we have attempted. It's like herding cats and dogs and zebras and elephants and butterflies into a room and agreeing on what pizza to order that everyone will eat... and like. Everyone seems to want public art, yet no one agrees on what's best. But, that's what makes it a worthwhile challenge," says SAAC E.D. John Bateman. "For this project, I owe tremendous gratitude to art faculty from Starkville Public Schools, Starkville Academy, and MSU's Department of Art. Not only do they provide great support, but they're the ones teaching and building our local talent base. I can't wait to see how public art here gets better, as we learn what works and what doesn't."
To view pictures and other completed murals, along with information on each project, participating volunteers, and sponsors, please visit www.starkvegasart.org.
If you are interested in supporting public art in the community, please contact SAAC or visit www.starkvillearts.net to volunteer or donate.
,The Starkville Area Arts Council has received a two-year grant award for general operating support from the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) in the amount of $13,000.
For FYE June 2021, MAC has awarded $1.3 million in funding to artists and arts programs across the state. Recipients benefit in a number of ways, including operating support for museums and community arts centers, arts integration and guest artist presentations in schools, and continuing education and supplies for working artists.
This project is supported in part by funding from the Missisippi Arts Comission, a state agency, and in part, from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. SAAC uses MAC funding and other grant sources to support general operations, which allow it to operate programs year round. General operating support is critical to ensure oversight and growth of all SAAC programs, including after-school initiatives like Art Partners, events like Art in the Park and our Art in Public Places series, as well as the Cotton District Arts Festival.
"We are extraordinarily grateful for the funding and, in particular, approval for two years. This makes budgeting much easier and frees our internal capacity to seek other sources of funding next year. MAC also serves as a key arts partner by providing resources and input on communications, diversity, and other organizational needs," says Executive Director John Bateman. "They are a real asset for the Mississippi arts community."
To view the full list of this year's MAC grant recipients, please visit https://arts.ms.gov/fy2021-grant-recipients/
#starkvillearts #MAC #MississippiArtsCommission
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