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Cultural round table at the Powerhouse on Monday

Special to The EAGLE

Perspiration dangles precariously from the temple of the arts organizer. Salty sweat has fused cloth to skin, but it has nothing to do with the hot, humid temperatures of north Mississippi in the summertime. Artists and arts organizers are rolling up their sleeves and getting down to business to make the arts sizzle in Oxford.

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council will convene a cultural round table on Monday at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center at 5 p.m. The arts groups will network,  share organizational goals and touch on hot topics like the Americans for the Arts survey and the opportunities associated with the National Endowment for the Arts grant of $24,000 for the Arts Incubator beginning in August.

“Summer presents a prime time for arts groups to develop goals and finalize programming for the upcoming year. We’re excited to help work together to cross-promote events and developed shared goals,” said Wayne Andrews, YAC executive director.

The round table meetings facilitate current events and the creation of new ones. It is from these meetings that arts groups developed events that provide Oxonians ways to beat the heat, among them: Summer Concert Series, Movies and Music in the Park, and new offerings like the Makers Market Night Markets and Red, White & Boogie, a free community dance on July 2 at the Old Armory, are developed from round table partnerships.

Art crucial to economy

“The local arts community has made a tremendous impact on Oxford’s economy and its continued growth should be a point of pride for all Oxonians,” said Allen Kurr, vice president of the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation.

“Oxford’s creative economy provides job opportunities and apprenticeships for local arts enthusiasts and allows students to tap into their creative side,” Kurr said. “Hands-on learning through interactions with sculptors, painters, musicians and authors only enhances the value of an Oxford education which is very attractive to prospective industry, retirees and investors.  Increased visitor spending and local investment is certainly aided by the growth of the arts and that is good for all Oxford businesses.”

The round table will include information on the Americans for the Arts survey in which Oxford represents the state of Mississippi in a study on the economic impact of the arts. Arts groups will learn how they can take part and be represented in this national study.

“The heat is on to work together. We want Oxford to enjoy the fruits of this work and see large dividends in the quality of art experiences available,” said Meghan Gallagher, YAC’s education and outreach coordinator.

Participation is open to any arts and cultural organization. Representatives of the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oxford Ballet Company, Oxford Film Festival, the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, Thacker Mountain Radio, Theatre Oxford, the University of Mississippi University Museum and YAC are taking part.