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Oxford sculptor awarded grant from Mississippi Arts Commission

Earl Dismuke spends his time honing his love of sculpting, and thanks to the Mississippi Arts Commission, he will have the chance to expand his skill by learning from some of the world’s best.

Earlier this month, MAC announced Dismuke was the recipient of a $500 mini-grant, which will be used to help him attend the International Sculpture Center’s 2019 Conference. The conference is taking place in the Portland, Ore. on Oct. 12 through 15.

“I’m just extremely grateful and honored to have gotten it,” Dismuke said. “What the MAC does for artists and the arts in Mississippi is just wonderful and I’m just extremely grateful for the opportunity to go to the conference. I couldn’t have done it without this mini-grant.”

Dismuke, who spends his days as a business analyst at the local software company FNC Corelogic, moonlights as a sculptor and a public artist. He works out of his Oxford studio and is a co-founder of the Yokna Sculpture Trail – a rotating public sculpture exhibit in Oxford. This past year, Dismuke has exhibited pieces at Studio Waveland in Waveland, Miss., and at the Treehouse Gallery in Oxford. His current piece is a large-scale work entitled Dingbat, for the Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition in New Orleans. It is set to be installed this fall.

The Oxford sculpture also played a role in getting the town’s first outdoor mural installation. Dismuke met the artists who painted the mural on the back wall of Sneed’s Hardware last month while attending a gallery in Waveland.

Dismuke’s mini-grant is part of of the nearly $1.4 million in grants MAC planned to award in 2019 and 2020. MAC, which was established in 1968, is a state agency serving residents of Mississippi by providing grants that support programs to enhance communities, assist artists and arts organizations and promote the arts in education and celebrate Mississippi’s cultural heritage.

“Artists who receive grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission represent some of the most gifted individuals in their respective fields,” Malcom White, executive director of MAC, said. “These outstanding artists carry on Mississippi’s legacy of artistic excellence, and MAC is proud to support those who enliven and enrich their communities with creative spirit.”

Attending the conference is a chance for Dismuke to learn new techniques and the world of sculpting and to network with other sculptors from around the country. He plans to also share “what Mississippi has to offer.”