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Area agencies receive funds for programs

Three nonprofits in Lafayette County will be able to expand programming, thanks to grants from the Mississippi Hills Heritage Area Alliance.

Next week the Oxford Film Festival, Visit Oxford and the Oxford Lafayette County Heritage Foundation will put pen to paper with the Alliance and sign up for 50 percent matching grants. While 15 grants are headed out to 11 member counties and the Alliance is handing out a total of $103,440, Lafayette County is receiving $23,3000.

“All of the approved grant projects are very good and cover a wide geographical area within our NHA boundaries,” said Mary Cates Williams, executive director of the Alliance. “We look forward to getting contracts signed and authorizing the work to begin.”

The Oxford Film Festival was awarded $1,250 to help provide film shorts for media use, social media marketing and marketing materials for heritage sites in the region. Festival director Melanie Addington said their project falls under the OxFilm Society, which will enable filmmakers to get financial help making movies about North Mississippi.

“We are really excited to take part in this,” Addington said. “We are hoping to fund two documentary shorts that we will then host a special screening. We want more people to be able to tell the stories of our community and to have the tools to be able to do that. So with the funds, we will also be providing use of our film equipment and lend any support we can to help them get the films made.”

Visit Oxford will get the largest portion of Lafayette County’s allocation, bringing home $20,000 for directional signage for key cultural heritage sights as a part of Oxford’s wayfaring program.

“Visit Oxford is thrilled to be working with the city of Oxford on a comprehensive wayfinding signage project, that will help visitors as well as many locals find our cultural attractions as well as other points of interest in the city,” said Visit Oxford Executive Director Mary Allyn Hedges. “This project will also be beneficial to our local partners and attractions to enable that visitors find their destination easily which will enhance the visitor experience.”

Oxford Lafayette County Heritage Foundation will receive $2,050 for a project that will provide an in-character presentation of L.Q.C. Lamar to visitors, school children and the public.

Williams said 29 entities did not receive approval for various reasons, but can resubmit at a later date after showing connections to the Alliance’s management plan themes and ensuring the matching funds are available. The Alliance also will allocate another round of funds, $50,000, in May and June for education programs, including defraying some of the costs of school field trips.