Gray Tollison opposes plan to dissolve Mississippi Arts Commission

Published 2:00 am Sunday, January 29, 2017

State Senator Gray Tollison (R-Oxford) is on the side of the Mississippi Arts Commission and funding for the arts in Mississippi, including Oxford and Lafayette County in particular.

Tollison told The EAGLE he is opposed to “any legislation that relegates MAC to a government agency that serves an important but different role for our state. MAC needs to remain as an independent board.”

Tollison was speaking in reference to a bill that emerged in the Mississippi Senate this week that proposed disbanding the Mississippi Arts Commission and making it a part of the Mississippi Development Authority.

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Many local arts supporters are concerned that such a move would hurt local funding for many cultural institutions here, including the Oxford Film Festival, Double Decker Arts Festival, Thacker Mountain Radio and the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.

YAC director Wyane Andrews is spearheading a meeting to be held at 1 p.m. today at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center to provide information and updates to people concerned about the proposed bills, and rally support and come up with ways to fight the end of the MAC.

“I have been a long time supporter of the Mississippi  Arts Commission and the funding that has been awarded to individuals and organizations across Mississippi, especially Oxford and Lafayette County.

“Over the years, MAC has provided funding to the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, Thacker Mountain Radio, the Oxford Film Festival and many local artists to support their work,” Tollison said. “These artists and organizations have expressed their appreciation to me of the funding they have received from MAC.

“I will continue to be an advocate for the arts at the State Capitol.”