On Thursday, Nov. 30, the Mississippi Museum of Art announced the opening of its community-centered initiative, the Center for Art and Public Exchange.
The initiative will use art, exhibitions, programs and artist engagements to “increase understanding and inspire new narratives in contemporary Mississippi,” a press release says.
“We at the Mississippi Museum of Art believe that when great, profound art and human beings come together, when they intersect, there’s something magical about that place,” MMA Director Betsy Bradley said in the release. “We think that personal transformation can happen in that circumstance. We also believe that if one expands that circle, (when) people of different backgrounds together experience great art in intentional ways, that communities can be changed. In other words, we really do believe that art combined with human agency can change the world.”
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded the initiative with a $1,398,000 grant over three years.
Programming begins in January with a Museum After Hours pop-up exhibition of Kim Rushing’s photography of Parchman Farm. The event will also have community conversation, live music and excerpts from Ava DuVernay’s documentary, “13TH,” a film that explores the 13th Amendment, which freed slaves and prohibited slavery. The event is Thursday, Jan. 18, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
On Feb. 3, staff from Liz Lerman, Inc., will facilitate an Art and Coffee event where attendees talk about their personal reflections about Mississippi history illuminated through the museum’s bicentennial exhibits.
The cornerstone event for CAPE is the “Bringing Forward the Past: Art, Identity, and the American South” symposium. The two-day event will explore race, identity, trauma, memory and more.
The “Picturing Mississippi” opening is on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum will offer guided tours at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. It will also have shuttle service to and from the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History, both of which are also opening that day.
For more information on CAPE, visit museumcape.org. For more information on the Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St., 601-960-1515), visit msmuseumart.org.