Arts Council committee creates summer events – The Oxford Eagle

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council strives to be a community organization.

Create and build programs based on feedback from community members, artists, and community partners. Advice from visual artists resulted in the creation of the Gallery Series, a year-round program of visual art exhibitions that encompasses the Power Station, Ulysses “Coach” Howell Activity Center, City Grocery and Heartbreak Coffee. The program helped artists schedule and plan, creating a longer show season that didn’t cluster around festivals such as Double Decker.

Presenting artists, those who perform or organize events, helped the Arts Council create its equipment loan program. The program provides projectors, screens, sound systems and film equipment to support live performances of festivals, shows, events or film/live broadcast.

Some of the groups using this program include monthly literary events Quasar, Tunes Around Town, and local filmmakers making movies.

Arts events are community experiences: a mix of social and cultural celebrating a sense of belonging.

Over the past year, the Arts Council has asked members of the community to participate in the development of events that combine these two elements. One of the biggest challenges facing Mississippi is the perception that the grass is greener in other communities outside of Mississippi. Statistics show that Mississippians are leaving the state for communities like Ashville, Austin and Nashville.

The rationale centers around opportunities for career advancement and improved quality of life. While Oxford offers a wealth of cultural experiences with a festival or event each month, the Arts Council launched a committee to identify and respond to ideas from the community.

Since last July, a committee made up of Shellie Carr, Mary Madeleine Koury, Kelley Hunsberger, Mindy Waldrop, Lo Magee and Caroline Hourin has been developing ideas and testing events to engage the community.

They partnered with community groups, engaged Leadership Lafayette, and worked with local businesses. The committee made suggestions on how to reinvent established events, such as the Ornament Auction, and created new ideas to test.

This group of community members has announced their summer schedule of events.

Townie Takeover: July 16e

You’re never too old for a pub crawl, especially when it invites you to explore all the college bars while the students are away. The event includes a tour of local college bars with specialty drinks sponsored by Clark Beverage and Diageo.

The event kicks off at The Green at Harrison’s at 4 p.m., where pub bots collect their playing cards. Pop-up murals will guide attendees on a tour of the square that culminates in a live concert featuring Rocket 88 and a barbecue dinner hosted by Southern Craft Stove & Tap.

Iron Bartender: August 12e

This popular event returns with regional bartenders participating in the Iron Bartender Challenge. The bartenders must create a cocktail based on a blind drawing of a mysterious spirit – the judges are the audience.

Each admission ticket comes with voting tokens encouraging attendees to sip and vote. Competitors came from Tupelo, Starkville, Clarksdale to challenge hometown favorites.

Odd Ball: August 26e

This new event is an extravagant side show to mark the 50th anniversary of the Arts Councile anniversary. Featuring live music from Hope Clayborn’s Soul Scrimmage and side-show artists, all under a large tent built into the Powerhouse.

The committee sought to create an environment where artistic experiences would be on the ground interacting with the crowd. Local artist Frank Estrada has been commissioned to create a series of limited edition artwork to celebrate the Arts Council’s anniversary.

The committee has strived to create monthly experiences that invite the public to connect with the Arts Council and the elements that make LOU a vibrant place to live. “Once you realize there are events like Thacker Mountain Radio, Quasar, the Oxford Film Festival, professional rodeos, summer sunset concerts and food truck events. Oxford overlaps with Austin, Nashville or any other city. Member of the joint committee Caroline Hourin. “Invitations to these events can be found in the Arts Council’s free weekly newsletter – sign up at,” Hourin added.

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