Thacker Mountain Radio, Oxonians among MIAL winners

Published 2:00 am Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters (MIAL) has announced its award winners for works first published, performed, or shown in the year 2016.

The award recipients, chosen by out-of-state judges prominent in their respective fields, will be honored at the MIAL annual Awards Banquet to be held this year on the campus of Delta State University in Cleveland, on Saturday, June 3.

The Noel Polk Lifetime Achievement Award this year is shared by Jere Allen and Samuel Jones.

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Jere Allen, a resident of Oxford, is Professor Emeritus of Art at the University of Mississippi.  With a B.F.A. from the Ringling School of Art and an M.F.A. from the University of Tennessee,

Allen has been the recipient of the MIAL Visual Arts Award, an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission, and a grant from the Fulbright Foundation.

His paintings are found in many public and private collections and were included in the Meridian International Center’s exhibition, “Outward Bound: American Art on the Brink of the Twenty-First Century,” that toured Southeast Asia.

This internationally known figurative artist states, “My paintings employ a reactive method in the search for an elusive notion that has perplexed me for many years.  The images, symbols, and compositions that stem from personal, social, political realities are often a foil to assist in the realization of feelings generated by that elusive notion.”

A Citation of Merit is being presented this year to Thacker Mountain Radio, a live radio show based in Oxford and featuring author readings and an array of musical performances.

It began in 1997 as the “Words and Music” show and has hosted such musical and literary artists as Natasha Tretheway, Caroline Kennedy, Nobel winner Orhan Pamuk, Willie Morris, Jimbo Mathus, Charlie Musselwhite, Paul Williams, and Elvis Costello.  The Director/Producer is Kate Teague with host Jim Dees and house band The Yalobushwhackers.  Thacker Mountain is based at Off Square Books and broadcast by Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

Celebrating 20 years on the air this year, Thacker Mountain received the Governor’s Award for Broadcast Excellence in 2005.

Carlyle Wolfe of Oxford, is the winner in the Visual Arts category for Fall.  She earned her B.F.A. in painting from the University of Mississippi and an M.F.A. in painting and drawing from Louisiana State University.  She has also studied in Cortona, Italy, and at the University of Georgia. Until recently she taught part time at the University of Mississippi.

Wolfe has received three Mississippi Arts Commission Visual Arts Fellowships and has won the MIAL Visual Arts Award previously.

Her work has been exhibited throughout the South and was recently selected for the Art in Embassies program at the U.S. Embassy in Maputo, Mozambique.  Her winning work documents her desire for a deeper understanding of the natural world around her.

She paints oils on panel and watercolor on paper and makes large-scale installations. Her work begins with drawings based on close observation of plants and with landscape color studies. She has recently begun using her drawings and color studies to make large sculptures.

The Power of Belief: Spiritual Landscapes from the Rural South wins the Photography Award for David Wharton. This is his second MIAL photography award.  He is the Director of Documentary Studies at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.

Wharton holds an M.F.A. in photography and a Ph.D. in American Studies, both from the University of Texas. His photographs have been exhibited throughout the United States and in group shows in Europe and Latin America.

GTF Publishing states about this winning book, “David Wharton reveals in his remarkable new book of photographs, the South is a place — a land, a region, a culture, a ‘way of life’ — so heavily invested in religious belief that the spiritual is constantly made manifest in the ordinary.”

For more information about attending the Awards Banquet and related events, visit the MIAL website at