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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Art in the Library: Preview Party Two

The Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) and the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) partnered this year to showcase artists adjudicated through MAC's annual Visual Artist Fellowship Grant program. The exhibits, on display at MLC (3881 Eastwood Drive in Jackson), have featured some of Mississippi's finest artists.

The current exhibit, which runs through January 11, 2019, features seven pf the 2019 MAC Visual Arts Fellowship recipients. A special artist reception takes place Thursday, December 13, from 5-7 pm. MAC's Visual Artist Fellowship grant program honors Mississippi artists who demonstrate the ability to create outstanding work in their chosen field, including painting, sculpture, photography, and many other mediums. These grants are highly competitive - only a small number of applicants receive an award. Meet some of these folks below!

Rory Doyle is a working photographer based in Cleveland, Mississippi-the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Doyle is a recipient of a 2018 Visual Artist Fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission for his ongoing project on African American cowboys and cowgirls in the Delta. The project was featured in the Half King Photo Series in New York City in June 2018, along with a concurrent show in Harlem.

He was also recognized for the project by winning the photojournalism category at the 2018 EyeEm Awards in Berlin, Germany. Doyle's publication list includes The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Photo District News, The Atlantic, ESPN's The Undefeated, Getty Images, Financial Times, Yahoo News, and more. Born and raised in Maine, Doyle has lived in Mississippi since 2009.

Eric Huckabee was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1985 and grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where he currently lives and works. He earned his MFA at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2011, and his BA from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2009.

His work has been exhibited across the eastern United States, including shows at Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia, Prince Street Gallery in New York, and at The Satellite Show Miami. In 2018 he was awarded an individual artist grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission. His work is included in the collection of Woodmere Art Museum. Huckabee has been featured in New American Paintings and is currently teaching drawing at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Betty Press never expected to be living in Mississippi. She grew up on a farm in rural Nebraska. After graduating from university, she traveled around the world for two years with her husband. In the 90's, she worked as a photojournalist for eight years in Africa. Because of this, she brings a singular perspective to her current photo project which documents the black and white culture in Mississippi. Recording "real life" in small communities throughout Mississippi with black-and-white film and toy and vintage cameras - the resulting imperfections, soft focus, and vignetting serve as metaphors for how landscape, race, and religion have played a part in the complicated history of Mississippi and still affect lives today.

She is well known for her photographs taken in Africa where she lived and worked in Kenya from 1987 to 1995 and in Sierra Leone in 2008-2009 while her husband was on a Fulbright scholarship. Now living in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and retired from teaching at the University of Southern Mississippi, she continues to photograph in the South as well as in Africa, which she still considers her second home.

In case you missed it, be sure to check out yesterday's post collecting the rest of the artists who are showing their work at the Mississippi Library Commission, Charlie Buckley, Carolyn Busenlener, Rob Cooper, and Earl Dismuke! We look forward to seeing you Thursday, December 13, from 5-7 pm.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Art in the Library: Preview Party One

The Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) and the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) partnered this year to showcase artists adjudicated through MAC’s annual Visual Artist Fellowship Grant program. The exhibits, on display at MLC (3881 Eastwood Drive in Jackson), have featured some of Mississippi’s finest artists.


The current exhibit, which runs through January 11, 2019, features seven of the 2019 MAC Visual Arts Fellowship Recipients. A special artist reception takes place Thursday, December 13, from 5-7 pm. MAC’s Visual Artist Fellowship grant program honors Mississippi artists who demonstrate the ability to create outstanding work in their chosen field, including painting, sculpture, photography, and many other mediums. These grants are highly competitive – only a small number of applicants receive an award. Meet some of these folks below!

After studying at Ole Miss (BFA 2004) and Miami University (MFA 2009), Charlie Buckley taught drawing and painting at Miami, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss. Since 2011, he has been working exclusively as a painter, and is represented by Fischer Galleries in Jackson, Southside Gallery in Oxford, and The Arts Company in Nashville. Charlie's work was recently on display in the Bicentennial exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Art, "Mississippi, Land of Plenty, Pain, and Promise". A two-time fellow in Visual Arts from the Mississippi Arts Commission, Charlie has also been awarded the Visual Arts award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, and has been chosen to be an Artist in Residence at Acadia National Park for the Spring of 2019. He is the collection of the Walton Family Foundation, Bank Plus, The Graduate, the Community Development Foundation, Metropolitan  Bank, The Arkansas Children's Hospital, the University of Mississippi, Baptist Memorial Hospital, and more.

Charlie lives in Tupelo with his wife Amber and daughter Jane.

Mississippi abstract artist, Carolyn Busenlener, lives in Pearlington, Mississippi, with her studio on a bayou next to a pond. She enjoys the serenity of the country after living most of her life in New Orleans. After receiving a BFA from Tulane University (Newcomb College) the artist taught and continued to paint. She has won numerous awards at juried shows and was chosen to participate in the Mississippi Invitational at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Carolyn has twice been a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Visual Arts Fellowship. The artist also was awarded the Jane Carter Hyatt Fellowship.

Carolyn is represented by four galleries across the country and has a painting the permanent collection of the Mississippi Art Museum in Jackson, Mississippi.

Rob Cooper has spent his artistic life surrounded by glass. The Jackson-based artist has spent most of his years as an active artist working at Pearl River Glass Studio, a commercial studio that creates stained glass windows, architectural art glass, and restores historic stained glass. He currently works as one of the glass artists for the studio, painting imagery on the stained glass windows and other glass artwork they create for churches, private residences, and commercial clients.

Cooper got his start at Pearl River Glass while in high school, doing an internship at the studio through the APAC arts program at Jackson Public Schools. He spent some time studying outside of Mississippi, earning a BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Afterwards, he returned to Jackson and continued his work at Pearl River.

Cooper plans to spend at least part of his Fellowship year deepening his knowledge of the history of the art form and trying to find ways to incorporate classic design elements into his own work.

Earl Dismuke works out of his studio in Oxford, Mississippi, where he resides with his wife, two daughters, and two sons. He received his BFA from the University of Mississippi in 2007. He is a cofounder of the Yokna Sculpture Trail in Oxford, MS. He was the recipient of the Oxford Mississippi Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce's "2015 Leadership Award" for his work on the Yokna Sculpture Trail, a 2017 recipient of the Gallucci Creative Fund Grant, and a 2018 recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Fellowship Grant.

His work has been shown internationally in Basel, Switzerland at Scope Basel, and in Lima, Peru, and across the southeastern United States. He has a piece in the permanent collection of the Dallas Museum of Biblical Art. His goal with his work is to tell a story, but to leave enough ambiguity in the work that the audience can make interpretations themselves. When the artist invites the viewer to interpret what the work means or what the artist was thinking, the viewer is forced to bring something of themselves into the work. He believes this binds the artist and the viewer.

Don't miss tomorrow's post collecting the rest of the artists who are showing their work at the Mississippi Library Commission, Rory Doyle, Eric Huckabee, and Betty Press! We look forward to seeing you Thursday night at 5 pm at MLC.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Meet MLC Monday: Scott Higdon

On November 1, 2018, the Mississippi Library Commission welcomed a new Director of Technology Services to our staff. Scott Higdon now oversees the daily operations of the department. He holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Mississippi College and a master's degree in Leadership from Belhaven University.

Since starting at MLC, Scott has observed the unique camaraderie between the Tech Services employees and says he likes that uniqueness. "I enjoy the teamwork that a Technology Services staff must have to be successful. I have played, and loved, sports all my life, and sports are all about learning to work with a team. Everyone has different specialties and responsibilities, but what you do or don’t do with the skills you have can have a positive or negative effect on the whole team.  Not everyone is a pitcher, a slap hitter, or can mash home runs, but they are all vital to the success of the whole." Scott notes that the entire staff has been very welcoming since he started work here, making his transition from his former place of employment much easier than expected. (He had worked there for 22 years!)


When asked about the importance of libraries, Scott had this to say, "Growing up with a mother who was a teacher and a principal and a grandmother who was a college professor, my family always recognized the importance of education. Education is all about knowledge and the pursuit of knowledge. Where better to pursue knowledge than in a library? There is no age restriction on that pursuit either. Libraries allow people of all ages to come in, explore, and learn."

Scott enjoys reading, but with a busy family has difficulty finding time. His favorite book is The Big Miss by Hank Hane; he recently finished The Escape by David Baldacci. He says he's obsessed with golf, travel, sports, and live music. Scott has only missed two Mississippi State home football games in the last 33 seasons and has even attended (at the minimum) one MSU game in each of the SEC stadiums. He's also a New Orleans Saints and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. He and his wife of nearly twenty years have two daughters, aged 8 and 11. He is a deacon, a Sunday School teacher, and a member of the choir at First Baptist Church Richland.

Friday, December 7, 2018

MLC is Proud to Support Mississippi's Public Libraries

Hulen Bivins
Mississippi Library Commission
Executive Director

With the conclusion of Fiscal Year 2018, a final accounting by the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) shows that over 7 million dollars of support was provided to the state’s 53 public library systems. These funds were provided as direct grants, competitive grants, and via statewide services. Of the total amount provided, the State of Mississippi was the source of $6,737,643, with the balance of the funding provided by the federal government under the Grants to States program administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).


Using state funding, direct grants provided employee benefits throughout the state to library staff members; these funds also enabled each of the 53 public library systems to maintain a highly qualified, masters-degreed professional as the library director, thereby enhancing the services of each public library. Further, with competitive grants, public libraries were able to create and expand new services while maintaining traditional services. The MAGNOLIA information database collection is an example of a statewide service that is provided by public libraries through state funding and made available to every citizen.


The federal dollars received from IMLS supported a variety of services, such as the procurement of new public computers, community reading programs supported with new book titles in a variety of formats, continuing education activities, development of STEM programing, and cooperative activities with K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities.


Following the tabulation of monies as reported for the fiscal year, MLC Executive Director Hulen Bivins noted that, “In all of the activities enumerated, the Mississippi Library Commission has worked with the state’s public libraries to both strengthen and enhance library services for the benefit of the state’s citizenry. This work has provided homework aid, business development assistance, and a furtherance of knowledge regarding issues in the fields of finance, law, and medicine. The achievements accomplished are a direct result of the cooperation and tremendous work of the 53 public library systems in using the funding made available by MLC in an efficient, cost-conscious manner.”

Monday, November 26, 2018

Meet MLC Monday: Josh Saxton

Our Facilities Maintenance Supervisor Josh Saxton may have started at the Mississippi Library Commission back in August of 2017, but from February through October of this year we had to make do without him: his National Guard unit was deployed overseas. We welcomed him and his expertise back with open arms last month! Josh is in charge of all major equipment and systems at MLC, as well as everyday maintenance and monitoring. He holds a national EMT certification, HVAC/R certification, and a universal EPA license. He is currently working on an associate's degree in history.


Josh says that he likes working at MLC because of the atmosphere and the people. He also enjoys lunches with co-workers and paid days off to spend with his family. Josh is a big library fan and says, "I believe libraries play a tremendous role in education. They offer books, the internet, and other paths of knowledge to people who otherwise can't afford them." He loves to read Stephen King books; the last one he read was The Drawing of Three. In his free time, he likes playing guitar, working out, games and gaming, fishing, and sightseeing.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Meet MLC Monday: Sandra Tucker

Sandra Tucker is the Janitorial Supervisor at the Mississippi Library Commission. Since she joined our team five months ago in May, she has done an exceptional job in making sure that our facility is clean and inviting. Sandra says she likes working with all the friendly people who work at MLC and says one of the best parts of her job is greeting the staff and public who visit the library.


Sandra enjoys MLC's quiet environment. She also says, "I like libraries because you can always visit and learn something new. They're an important part of our community because people use them to study and find books that are the right fit for them."

Sandra isn't a big reader, but does like to read the Bible. She shared Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus with her grandmother recently and both of them had a great time reading the children's classic. In her spare time, Sandra likes to spend time with her family and attend church. She also likes to stay active by walking and playing tennis and softball.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Meet MLC Monday: Annie Watkins

Annie Watkins joined the team at the Mississippi Library Commission a year ago as our Collection Management Librarian. She adds new books, comics, DVDs, and special items to MLC's collection, as well as new documents to the state document depository. She also removes holdings that have been weeded from the collection. Annie holds a master's degree in Library and Information Science. She confesses that one of her favorite parts of working at MLC is that she has her own office; at her last job, she had a desk in a shared office. "It's nice to have my own space!"


"I like libraries because they provide a needed service to the public. They don't provide just entertainment, but also a place to learn and relax," says Annie. "I love libraries because they allow me to keep up with literary trends and to find new and interesting authors." Annie says that she loves to read, but doesn't have a favorite book and rarely rereads them. The last book she read was Fighting to Survive by Rhiannon Frater, but says that it was "complete garbage" and doesn't recommend it. When Annie isn't working or reading, she loves playing video games. "I’m big into Overwatch right now. I usually main healers or Junkrat when I get sick of people spamming 'I need healing' even though they’re halfway across the map or in the middle of enemies, but I’ve recently discovered the pure joy of playing a tank and decimating my opponents."
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