Mississippi Arts Commission

In 1968, the Mississippi Legislature created the Mississippi Arts Commission as the official grants-making and service agency for the arts. Since then the Commission has broadened its role as an active supporter and promoter of the arts in community life and arts education.

The Commission operates both an administrative side and a programmatic side. The administrative side consists of the executive and deputy directors, the fiscal officer, the systems administrator, the public relations director and the executive assistant. The programmatic side consists of directors over the following areas: Community & Economic Development, Arts in Education, Arts Industry, Folk; Traditional Arts, Whole Schools Initiative and various special initiatives.  The Commission worked tirelessly to provide much-needed assistance to the arts community on the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the area in 2005.

Through the arts, diverse communities of all sizes can better identify shared values, create vibrant public spaces, and enhance the effectiveness of schools. The arts also attract visitors who leave with a strong, positive image of Mississippi. Fostering excellence in the arts provides the inspiration to generate a higher quality of life for all citizens.

Creative Aging Profile

Mississippi Creative Aging Initiatives improves the quality of life for Mississippi-based elders by providing them with access to experiences in the arts. We accomplish this by educating youth and involving our most talented artists to perform/instruct where the seniors live and meet. We performed in nursing homes, independent and assisted living communities, senior day care programs, and senior centers.

Agency Initiative 

MS Poetry for Life

The goal of the MS Poetry for Life Project is to facilitate the creativity of people living with Alzheimer’s dis­ease and related dementia. Advocating for cultural change in the healthcare industry and for the daily inclusion of arts in assisted living and adult day care, this project does not set boundaries in traditional beliefs in what possible for people with memory impairment to create.

By saying to people with dementia, “we value you”; participants are saying: “we value all members of our community”. By working with health care professionals and giving them a tool to have fun with and stimulate the people they serve, participants are saying: “we value your work”. By working with family members who have a loved one with demen­tia, participants are saying: “you are not alone in your struggle to treat your loved one with dignity”.

Poetry for Life Pilot Project took place in Link Centre (Tupelo).

The students gain a better understanding of the end of life processes. People living with memory loss have interaction with young people and cross generation understanding is increased by bringing students into direct contact with people living with memory loss. The students gain experience performing their poems in a public setting, learning techniques to project their voice and use proper posture. The pilot project may expand the poetry audience and create new outreach for Poetry Out Loud and encourage participants to attend local competitions.

The above describes the initial commitment to participate in the pilot project. We hope that teachers and schools will continue the visit and perform poetry with the elders.

Click here for more information about Poetry for Life.

Mississippi Folklife Directory

Mississippi is home to a wide range of traditional art forms and distinct community events. The music, crafts, and other traditions help the state’s residents to pass on their beliefs to younger generations and reinforce their community’s shared identity. The Folklife website is part of the Mississippi Arts Commission’s ongoing effort to increase awareness in the state’s traditional arts and culture. It features information on the artists and communities we have been active in documenting and providing support for through our programs and services.


Mississippi is home to nearly 3 million people. Of these, more than 936,000 (31.6 percent) are over age 50; more than 541,000 (18.2 percent) are over 60; almost 260,000 (8.8 percent) are over 70; and more than 96,000 (3.2 percent) are over 80. The proportion of women rises to 66.3 percent of those 80 and older.

The proportion of Mississippi’s population that is 60 and older is growing more rapidly than other components of the population. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 25.3 percent of Mississippi’s population will be 60 and older by the year 2030, an increase of almost 39 percent from 2012.

Information is gathered from Mississippi Population Report

Creative Aging Point Person

Turry Flucker

Prior to becoming the Arts Industry Director at the Mississippi Arts Commission, Turry M. Flucker served for nine years as Branch Director at the Louisiana State Museum, directing the Louisiana Civil Rights Museum Project. While directing this statewide effort, Flucker managed the 5,000 square ft traveling exhibition called RACE: Are We So Different?, a project developed by the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota. In November, 2010, Flucker brought together Civil Rights organizations in New Orleans along with the United States Marshals Museum in Fort Smith, Arkansas to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of New Orleans Public Schools.

Flucker is a native of Houston, Texas, where he graduated from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts with a concentration in vocal music (opera). Flucker is the author of three pictorial history books published by Arcadia Publishing: African Americans of Jackson, African Americans of New Orleans, and Black Arts of New Orleans, as well as, several published articles and art reviews.