by Jim Dees – This week produced the heart-warming sight of hundreds, if not thousands, of Mississippians becoming enthusiastically active in the affairs of their government. In this case, citizens rose up to defend the independent expression and promotion of arts in our state. The Mississippi legislature considered a bill to abolish the Mississippi Arts Commission and fold the commission’s duties into that of the Miss. Development Authority, an economic development group.
Those backing the move never put forth a breakdown of the savings the bill would create. They only cited vague motives such as creating a “more complete cultural experience.” Phone calls, emails and extensive social media activity helped successfully kill both bills – for now. A legislative end run – rarely used, but always available – allows for parliamentary rules to be suspended in order to bring the bills back up for consideration AT ANY TIME before adjournment on April 2.
In other words, it ain’t over yet. And even if the Arts Commission survives this legislative session, it must be assumed such efforts could be introduced again.
Here at Thacker Mountain Radio, we are proud recipients of annual funds granted by the Mississippi Arts Commission. We can vouch for their diligence and deep love for this state’s artists. We are proud and grateful for their work and for all the dedicated artists, patrons and legislators who made a difference this week.
In fact, as host of the show, I would like to invite any and all Mississippi legislators to come visit The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour for a “complete cultural experience.” They will hear music and literature from around the world and see artists who have dedicated their lives to creative expression. They will sit in a re-purposed bookstore filled with volumes on art, history, food, film – even gardening. They will be surrounded by a diverse audience who revel in Mississippi’s arts. And they will hear our rocking house band, the Yalobushwhackers – a complete cultural experience unto themselves.
This week has reiterated a lesson we all knew but needed to hear again: the arts matter and people care. Our wonderful state has many serious problems, but one problem we don’t seem to have is producing art and creativity that the whole world embraces. This week was a reminder of how passionate our artistic community is and our democracy too.
Now put your hands on the radio!
This Thursday, Feb 2: One of the most original new voices in fiction, O. Henry Award winner, Chanelle Benz, and her debut story collection, The Man Who Shot Out My Eye is Dead.
New Orleans musician Jamie Lynn Vessels will rock out songs from her album, Home.
Oxford-native songwriter, Austin Smith, will make his debut on the show.
More info: http://thackermountain.com/