Oxford Film Fest Opposes Moving the Mississippi Arts Commission

 

We have issued this letter in print and email today to our state leaders on behalf of the Oxford Film Festival. I encourage you to do the same by contacting:

 

Nolan Mettetal <nmettetal@house.ms.gov>, 662-487-1512

Jay Hughes <jphughes@house.ms.gov>, 601-359-3339

"Sen. Gray Tollison" <gtollison@senate.ms.gov>, 601-359-2395

Steve Massengill <stevemassengill@rocketmail.com>,

jlamar@house.ms.gov,

smassengill@house.ms.gov,

jbeckett@house.ms.gov (601) 359-3335

lchassaniol@senate.ms.gov

 

and share your support with: Malcolm White , Director Mississippi Arts Commission mwhite@arts.state.ms.us

 

The Oxford Film Festival board and Executive Director object to the bill proposing to move the Mississippi Arts Council responsibilities to the Mississippi Development Authority.

 

We believe very strongly that this measure is a step in the wrong direction. Oxford has a very strong arts community which is linked to economic development in Lafayette County. Art and economic development absolutely SHOULD go hand in hand in Mississippi.

 

But, arts and economic development differ in their approach, resources, and how they foster partnerships. We need our Arts, Tourism and Economic Development leaders to coordinate, but should have experts in each field leading those efforts. The Mississippi Arts Commission does more than fund arts programs across the state. They provide the tools that help communities build on their unique qualities, organize resources, and attract visitors creating an economic impact to businesses. The MDA can manage many things when it comes to the growth and economic health of Mississippi and local communities, but the Arts is not one that they have the expertise to handle.

 

This bill will hamper one of the most important parts of our economy. Combining the Arts and Economic Development efforts would place a burden on MDA. It would also create a void in the management of artistic growth in our state.

 

On a more personal note for film festivals, many of us receive funds from both entities and this would greatly impact our budgets and in some cases force us to close or shrink our festivals. This state is very lucky to have two of the 50 top film festivals in the country as named by MovieMaker Magazine as well as a flourishing film industry including a new major at the University of Mississippi. This change could greatly damage the festivals that are here to support film as an art.

 

Please reconsider the effort to eliminate the Mississippi Arts Council. It is a huge mistake.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Melanie Addington, Executive Director

Wayne Andrews, Board President

Sparky Reardon

Donna Ruth Roberts

Jon Maynard

Dr. Ralph Vance

Hudson Hickman

Shannon Cohn

Timothy Burkhead

Meaghin Burke

Steve Sahlein

Lucas Singh

Jack Garner, Oxford Film Festival Board Members