Welcome to Mississippi of the Future

February 20, 2018

This is a story about time travel. 


It begins in 1964. First National Bank (now Trustmark), headquartered in Jackson, commissioned a study to celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary. They predicted what Jackson would be like 75 years hence, in 2039. In the introduction to the Jackson/2039 report, signed by Bank President Robert M. Hearin, the company expressed a desire to look toward the future instead of simply reflecting on warm memories of the past.


On December 10, 2017, Mississippi turned 200 years old.


To commemorate the state’s bicentennial and to wrestle with its complicated past, the Mississippi Museum of Art mounted Picturing Mississippi, 1817-2017: Land of Plenty, Pain, and Promise, now on view, interpreting more than two centuries of history through the eyes of artists. The Museum’s largest exhibition to date, Picturing Mississippi is comprised of artwork by more than 100 artists lent by dozens of institutions across the country and abroad; not only Mississippi masters like Eudora Welty and Gwendolyn Magee, but internationally famous names like John James Audubon and Andy Warhol.


This exhibition, like fifteen blockbuster exhibitions before it, is part of The Annie Laurie Swaim Hearin Memorial Exhibition Series. It is made possible through support from the state of Mississippi, countless corporate entities (including Trustmark), private individuals ... and the steadfast commitment of the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation.


In 1964, when Robert Hearin and First National Bank dreamed of the future, they had high hopes and a slew of predictions. They could not have then foreseen the landmark Picturing Mississippi exhibition that their vision helped make possible. Nor could they have known that their time-traveling project would serve as inspiration for another wave of envisioning, carried out by Mississippians of today, who used the medium of art to imagine what Mississippi might be like 200 years from now.


Envision Mississippi, inspired by the Jackson/2039 study, invited Mississippi student-artists and the public to gaze into the crystal ball of time. To stand at the bicentennial crossroads, to explore Mississippi’s interwoven past through art, and to use art to express their dreams for what the future might hold. Just as Robert Hearin would have done.


Welcome to Mississippi of the future.


These are just a few selections. Be sure to visit to full gallery at envisionms.tumblr.com.


Envision Mississippi is a partnership of the Mississippi Museum of Art, the Mississippi Library Commission, and Parents & Kids Magazine. Sponsored by Trustmark.

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