Art + Exchange Meridian

July 27, 2018

 

Wednesday, July 27 | Meridian, Miss. ... CAPE joined forces with the City of Meridian, Main Street Meridian, and Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience to gather public input as part of the Art + Exchange Story-Gathering Tour. This research serves as part of Phase 1 of a new program of place-based artist residencies that will fund community-engaged artworks across Mississippi.

 

Participants shared their opinions on the past, present, and future of the community. This input will be utilized in Phase 2 of the residency program, when Mississippi artists will be invited to propose specific project ideas that address narratives raised by the public.

 

Development and Economic Access

 

PAST AND PRESENT

  • Downtown revitalized

  • Good restaurants

  • Traffic not challenging

  • The Meridian High School football team

  • The weather is primarily great, but the heat can be a negative

  • Keeping trash cleaned up is a challenge

  • Some people are afraid of change and progress

  • There is a resistance to change

  • Not enough tech and art jobs in this area to meet demand

 

HOPES FOR THE FUTURE

  • Make changes; grow as a city; attract businesses and visitors

  • Get more of the community to come out to events and shop downtown

  • Grants writer for community

  • Better use of existing resources

  • Additional downtown restaurants, bakery, coffee shop

  • Showcase our chefs

  • Industrial growth

  • More job opportunities, period

 

Community Narrative

 

"People will tell your story for you, if you don't tell it."

 

PAST AND PRESENT

  • People are very social

  • We have regular, inclusive city events

  • Backwards mentality; no progression or critical thinking skills

  • (Gun) violence is an issue

  • Gangs and shootings are problem for law enforcement

  • There is a lack of political awareness; awareness of what goes on elsewhere is needed

  • There is a lack of leadership; people have agendas

  • Bashing of city administration is a rampant

  • Getting the youth involved in activities and events is challenging

  • The kids are the future; if they don’t have something to be a part of they’ll tear it down

 

HOPES FOR THE FUTURE

  • Total community involvement

  • We need bridge-building opportunities within community

  • More youth programs

  • Better communication among politicians

 

Public Spaces, Buildings

 

PAST AND PRESENT

  • Bonita Lakes is a beautiful place to go and relax or have family time

  • Mississippi Children’s Museum-Meridian

  • Threefoot Building

  • Beautiful, historic architecture falling apart

 

HOPES FOR THE FUTURE

  • Clean up our city

  • Take down old broken-down vacant houses all over Meridian

  • Restore Merrehope House

  • Amphitheatre

  • Parking towers

 

The Arts

 

"I get tired of hearing there's nothing to do; if we attended events as a community, there'd be nothing to complain about."

 

PAST AND PRESENT

  • Meridian Museum of Art does a great job connecting with organizations to do art classes

  • There is an increased interest in arts downtown

  • The Riley Center/Grand Opera House

  • Temple Theater for the Performing Arts

  • The MAX

  • Rich musical heritage in the hub city

  • Parents are very interested in providing arts integration for their children; very supportive of community arts

  • Amy Owen Child Initiative; working toward equity and access to the arts for children and students in our city

  • Flash Film Fest; Rails to Reels Film Festival

 

HOPES FOR THE FUTURE

  • Arts education for schools; general knowledge about arts benefits

  • Get community to attend and support the arts opportunities

  • Refurbish the Temple Theatre

  • Shed more light on David and Jimmy Ruffin (The Temptations), Al Wilson, and other musicians

  • Artwork downtown: public murals, sculpture, etc.

  • Funded artist residencies

 

Diversity and Equity

 

PAST AND PRESENT

  • Integration of Meridian Community College in 1965

  • Food deserts, poverty are issues

 

HOPES FOR THE FUTURE

  • Boost the economy to raise living standards

  • Lights in the projects (criminals hide in the dark)

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CENTER FOR ART & PUBLIC EXCHANGE

SUPPORTED BY

OUR FOUNDING PARTNERS:

W.K. KELLOGG FOUNDATION,

LUCE FOUNDATION,

SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER,

& BRADLEY

MISSISSIPPI MUSEUM OF ART

380 SOUTH LAMAR STREET

JACKSON, MS 39201

601.965.9907 

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©2018 BY CENTER FOR ART & PUBLIC EXCHANGE.