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Main Street represented on Mississippi Creative Economy Advisory Panel

MS Creative Economy

Main Street represented on Mississippi Creative Economy Advisory Panel

Jackson, Miss. (July 22, 2015) - Twenty-three creative professionals, community leaders and economic developers from across the state have been selected for an advisory panel—the first of its kind—to grow the Mississippi Creative Economy. The advisory panel will help guide Visit Mississippi’s  Bureau of Creative Economy & Culture’s strategic planning and resources, which are designed to enhance and expand the state’s creative sector. The panel will convene in an inaugural meeting on July 29 at The Hatch, a creative business incubator located in Midtown Jackson. 


"The purpose of the Creative Economy Advisory Panel is to build the statewide infrastructure needed to grow the creative sector," said Malcolm White, Director of Visit Mississippi. “It will bring key influencers together who are committed to fostering creative people, businesses, and communities in their hometowns. Investing in, engaging, and promoting Mississippi’s creative people and their work will ultimately enhance the quality of life throughout our state."


Members of the new Creative Economy Advisory Panel include:

David Crews of Cleveland, chef instructor at Mississippi Delta Community College, executive chef of Six Shooter Land and Timber, executive chef of Merrimac Farms

Andy O'Bryan of Water Valley, founder & president of Yalobusha Craft Beer 

Neil White, creative director and publisher at The Nautilus Publishing Co. 

Neal McCoy of Tupelo, executive director of the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau 

Al White of Duck Hill, director of Action Communication and Education Reform (ACER) 

Tim Moore of Philadelphia, Chamber/Main Street director

Leslie Hiatt of Meridian, account executive at Leading Edges Ad Agency

Martha Whitney Butler of Bay St. Louis, owner of French Portager

Lori Watts of Columbia, project manager for Marion County Development Partnership

Dub Rogers of Natchez, owner and creator of Steampunk Coffee Roasters

Milton Chambliss of Port Gibson, director of Claiborne Economic Development District

Daniel Johnson of Jackson, director of Engagement and Learning at Mississippi Museum of Art

Whitney Grant of Jackson, director of Community Development at Midtown Partners

Matthew McLaughlin of Jackson, attorney at Baker Donelson

Rhea Williams-Bishop of Jackson, executive director of The Center for Education Innovation

Bob Wilson of Jackson, executive director of Mississippi Main Street

Mary Martha Henson of Jackson, executive director and chief operating officer of MEDC

Meg Cooper of Rolling Fork, director of the Lower Delta Partnership

Charly Abraham of Cleveland, instructor at Delta Music Institute

Lee Harper of Jackson, owner of Koinonia Coffee

Reggie Fullwood of Jackson, director of Jackson Medical Supply

Raven Brooks of Hattiesburg, events Coordinator for Hattiesburg Convention Commission

Ken Flynt of Meridian, owner of Art & Design Tech, LLC. 


Mississippi’s creative economy is the sum of all wealth generated by the state’s cultural and creative enterprises, institutions, people and places. It adds value to traditional economic sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, service and tourism, while influencing where people choose to live, work, learn and visit. Some examples of economically creative industries include performing arts, culinary, design, film and even craft breweries.


For more information on Mississippi’s creative economy, visit or

Contact: Paige Hunt, Visit Mississippi | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | 601-359-2707

Old Bicycles Get New Life in Olde Towne Clinton



Project will promote tourism in Olde Towne






Make time for a drive through Olde Towne in Clinton, and you might find yourself yearning to ride a bicycle again.


You could be inspired to find an old bike, get out your paints and give it new life as a piece of art.


Using imagination, creativity and ingenuity, Clinton artists have transformed almost a dozen bikes into something worth your time to see whether you walk, a drive or perhaps even more fitting, ride a bicycle, through the oldest part of town.


Take a few minutes to study each bike on display in front of businesses here and there, and you’ll probably be intrigued by the playfulness and personalityof each one. “The idea behind it all is that Clinton is a friendly community where you want to bike and spend time,” said Tara Lytal, program director at Main Street Clinton.


A downtown revitalization program, Main Street uses an old-fashioned yellow bicycle in its logo, so it seemed a natural fit to promote Olde Towne using bicycles, she said.


The bikes are expected to draw visitors to Olde Towne, which is bordered by Mississippi College to the south and the Clinton Parkway to the east, she said. The area, some of which is paved in red brick, features antique shops such as Leake Street Collection and When Pigs Fly, an art gallery thatshowcases works by watercolor artist Wyatt Waters, a book store with the name Pentimento Books, an outdoor adventure and clothing retailer known as Paxton Peak, a restaurant known as 303 Jefferson and Cups an Espresso Cafe.


The bikes also remind viewers in a subtle way that bike-riding is fun and a good way to exercise, Lytal said. The Natchez Trace Parkway is near Clinton and often a route for bicyclists.


Main Street Design Committee members thought about using bicycles made of Fiberglas, similar to the painted cow statues that were part of a public art exhibit in Chicago in the 1990s, but decided actual bicycles would be more authentic and keep costs down, she said.


“Some are old bikes, some are new,” Lytal said. “We started out by asking people who are professional artists to decorate bikes and then reached out from there.”


Waters, a watercolor artist and Beatles fan, was inspired to paint his bike yellow similar to John Lennon’s 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V touring limousine that was yellow and decorated with bright blue and red flowers and psychedelic designs.


Sam Beibers, a watercolor artist who is exhibits supervisor at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson, let his interest in cicadas lead him. He attached wings made of wire and big red eyes made of a Christmas ornament cut in half to give cicada characteristics— and even managed to finish the transformation before cicadas made their return this year.


“I asked for the ugliest bike they had and started over three times,” he said. “When I finished it, I liked it.”


George Ewing paints his creation, “Wheel of Dreams,” at his home in Clinton. When finished, it will go on display with other decorated bicycles throughout Olde Town Clinton.


The bicycle “Color Wheels,” by noted local artist Wyatt Waters, is at the intersection of Jefferson and Main streets.



Marijane Whitfield paid homage to Clinton’s history with a taxicab yellow bike that features the words Clinton Taxi Co., has a pink flamingo as its driver and includes a rider that reminds one of the Mississippi College Choctaws and Clinton High School Arrows.


Beth Shores, who with her husband owns retailer Paxton Peak, told the story of her family on an outdoor journey — including their love of disc golf — on the green bike in front the store. “It all came to me as I was painting,” she said.


A bike painted by Titus Taylor, a Clinton youngster, with Frankenstein in mind will be on display during the fall market in Olde Towne on Oct. 10, Lytal said.


At least one bike is still in the works, Lytal said. She expects more to be added and perhaps a map will be produced that lists the locations.


So far, the project has cost about $500, Lytal said. Main Street volunteers came up with their own low-cost way to mount the bikes, each of which has a plaque that credits the artist andlists its name. Lytal, whose office is marked by a blue bicycle rimmed with Christmas lights, expects the bikes will be vibrant for two to three years. “We don’t know exactly how long they’ll last being outdoors,” she said.


Bill Hetrick, a broker associate at Hetrick Real Estate in Clinton and whose wife, Marilyn, serves as president of Main Street Clinton, said he’s impressed by the creativity of the artists.


“The bikes remind me of the catfish statues that were placed indowntown Jackson several years ago,” he said. “The designs are all over the board.


“Folks who haven’t been to Clinton really need to come to Olde Towne for one of the markets or other events. It’s a nice way to spend a morning or afternoon. It’s a pretty area, and the bikes add to the ambiance.”


Waters, who often rides a yellow cruiser style bike, said he’s pleased by the project.


“Olde Towne is turning into the personality part of Clinton, and I like that,” he said.


Edward Moak's 'Bike Rides in Mississippi' sits in front of Cups on Monroe at Main Street in downtown Clinton.


Marijane Whitfield's bright yellow creation, “My Sweet Life in Clinton,” is hard to miss at the intersection of Jefferson and West Leake streets in downtown Clinton.


South Miss. has seen millions of dollars of development so far this year; millions more to come

South Mississippi has seen millions of dollars of development so far this year; millions more to come


People walk along Beach Boulevard on Friday in Bay St. Louis, where Triple Tails is under construction next to Buoy's.

South Mississippi can boast two new casino hotel towers, a new minor league baseball stadium and several new restaurants and stores this year -- and we're only halfway through 2015.


The cranes are operating and the phones are ringing in cities across the Coast as developers look for new opportunities.


They abound. Only one miniature golf course has been operating in Biloxi since Hurricane Katrina, but two more will be opening this year. Banana's Mini Golf on Pass Road in East Gulfport is coming soon and a 36-hole championship course with an "erupting" volcano is part of the Scarlet Pearl Casino that will open in D'Iberville in December.


Other projects are equally captivating. Fishbone Alley promises to transform a rundown alley in Gulfport into a social hot spot modeled after Printer's Alley in Nashville. A newly proposed festival boardwalk is envisioned along Restaurant Row in Biloxi, where The Salty Oyster eatery just opened at Shaggy's and two more restaurants, Baja Beach Biloxi and Spinnakers beach bar, will open soon.


Several hotels are under construction and grand plans for shopping centers are being discussed.


"It's nice to see things coming back," Biloxi Councilman Felix Gines said. "Developers are showing interest, especially in the downtown area. The baseball stadium was the cornerstone," he said, and he sees business growing there and expanding down the Coast.


It isn't just businesses that are returning. Homes are going up across the Coast and Gines said in Biloxi, "we're getting real close to our pre-Katrina numbers in residential."


David Parker, Gulfport's development director, keeps a list of major projects on his cell phone: the recently completed $58 million Island View Casino expansion; the $60 million expansion of Memorial Hospital at Gulfport; Anchor Plaza's four hotels; Centennial Plaza's three phases and the expansion of the SportsPlex to increase sports tourism.


"I've three times that many I can't talk about yet," he said.


Laurie Toups, who started work as Gulfport's Main Street director in January, said she immediately got to work with the economic-development department.


"We stay so busy," she said. There is no magic formula for attracting business and developers. "They contact us, we contact them," she said.


The Hatten Building, whose first floor will house TrustMark Bank, is completely renovated and Toups said the man who bought the old Cadillac building is ready to start a big renovation with two floors of commercial topped by two floors of residential.


Other commercial buildings are available downtown, she said, "although they're going fast."


In D'Iberville, construction in nearing an end on the Interstate 10/110 intersection, providing a network of roads leading to the Academy Sports and other new businesses coming to Sangani Boulevard.


Signs of a stronger economy are seen across the Coast in casino revenue and sales tax for the cities and the highest prices for home sales since 2009 -- and development is following. Salvetti's moved back to downtown Ocean Springs and although Salmagundi's gift shop closed, Poppy's gift shop and art gallery quickly opened on Washington Street.


The waterfront and downtown Bay St. Louis are booming as businesses return, festivals draw people to the town on weekends and Coast Transit Authority launches its new Bay Trolley.


Lulu's on Main just expanded in the former Maggie Mae's, Purple Banana is in a new building, and Tish Williams, director of the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce, said more restaurants are coming on the beach and one on Main Street.


The Ground Zero Hurricane Museum will reopen in Waveland in time for Katrina's 10th anniversary, and Williams said a new pier in Waveland and all the improvements at McLeod Park add to the area's ecotourism.


"There's a lot of development and building and more people coming back and rebuilding their second homes," she said.

Read more here:

Ramcat Rhythm & Brews in Greenwood to feature Beer Pairing Dinners, Raise Money for Main Street


Downtown Beer Tasting to raise money for Main Street Greenwood

GREENWOOD, MISS. (July 7, 2015) – Summer may be in full swing, but Main Street Greenwood is already looking forward to early fall for its next downtown event, which will be a craft and homebrew beer tasting in historic, Ramcat Alley on Saturday, August 1, 2015 from 6 – 10 PM.
Ramcat Rhythm and Brews 2015 is set tickle your taste buds with samples of craft beers from Capital City Beverages and home brewed beers from throughout Mississippi. In addition to the beer event in Ramcat Alley, Ramcat Rhythm & Brews will feature two separate beer dinners at Serio’s and Giardina’s. Both dinners will feature chef selected courses paired with New Belgium craft beers.
Brantley Snipes, Executive Director of Main Street Greenwood said, “With craft growing in popularity, we want to showcase the potential of downtown Greenwood to be a part of this new and exciting industry. Downtown Greenwood is already the culinary capital of the Delta and home to our very own winery, so the next thing is a local brewery.”
Wade Evans, spokesman for Capital City said “Capital City Beverages distributes the finest craft beers in the industry. With the popularity of craft beer increasing, we think Ramcat Rhythm & Brews is an excellent way to introduce some of our featured craft brews.”
Admission will be $20.00 per person for the Ramcat Alley event. Tickets include admission, beer tokens, and a custom koozie. Beer dinner tickets will be $50 and will include admission into Ramcat Alley event. Additional craft brews will be available for $4.00. Music will start at 6:00 PM with the Tombigbees followed by the Kudzu Kings at 8:00 PM. Tickets for the Ramcat event are available at the gate or by going online to Beer dinner tickets are available at both restaurants and by following the link.
All hombrewers are invited to participate at no cost. There will be homebrew tasting competition with the winner taking home a cash prize. Homebrewers must contact Main Street Greenwood for an application.
Money raised by the event will support Main Street Greenwood in its mission to preserve and promote downtown Greenwood. This will be a “great time, for an even better cause, raising awareness of our downtown’s potential in a growing industry “says Snipes.
For more information visit the Ramcat Rhythm & Brews Facebook page at:
Main Street Greenwood promotes and celebrates downtown Greenwood through the preservation of our historic resources and through projects, events, and activities that make downtown a viable place to live, work, and visit. For more information, visit

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Ocean Springs, a town with a reputation as an “arts community” has several art galleries and was hometown to the late Walter Inglis Anderson, a nationally renowned painter and muralist.

Mississippi Main Street Association
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Phone: 601/944-0113 | Fax: 601/353-3469
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