Monday Committee fills summertime with events

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Yoknapatawpha Arts Council

From Townie Takeover to Sanctuary Arts Festival, there is something for everyone

YAC Report

COVID-19 changed how events could be hosted. That impact lingers. Event organizers have instituted health and sanitation protocols when planning events. Adjusted attendance expectations. Reviewed if former programs are viable.

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The Arts Council sought community input to assist in reviewing the programs the Arts Council hosted before COVID and how to engage the community going forward. Composed of community members who had purchased tickets to events, long-time volunteers, former
interns who now worked in the community, and families seeking programs, this group has been meeting on the first Monday of the month for two years helping the Arts Council.

The meetings involve discussions on programs and services that might be missing in the community.

Access to programs was a concern. This included access to art lessons or classes for children and adults. The outcome was Art for Everyone, a program that provides tickets to events, scholarships to classes and the launch of Art Lockers, which featured free art supplies. Art for Everyone is sponsored by a local doctor with a matching gift from a Baptist hospital.

Art for Everyone places tickets, passes, and registration forms for events at the local public library that can be checked by community members. The Art Lockers are stocked with art supplies and kits with community partners such as the Oxford Fiber Festival creating kits themed to their festival.

Wayne Andrews is the executive director of YAC.

This group of volunteers has continued to share events they have experienced in other communities that they would like to see in Lafayette County, offering ways to create events that support local businesses or highlight creatives within our community. The advice has also included how to restart events under the new paradigm of staff shortages and increased costs.

The result has been reimagined favorites returning in new forms and new events that tap into the community spirit. The Monday Committee has assisted in developing these upcoming events.

Townie Takeover: Saturday, July 29, is a walking tour of the college bars. “Many of us do not go to some of the bars that are more popular with the students,” said committee member Caroline Hourin. “We thought for those who have moved to Oxford that a tour with games and
food would offer a chance for new residents to get their Townie card.” The event features a walking bingo game, Oxford trivia contest and the chance to live the life of an Ole Miss student.

The Art Crawl, the popular monthly tour of art spaces in Oxford, returns as part of a new festival. Sanctuary Arts Festival highlights the importance of having artists in the community. Studies by Americans for the Arts have shown that having artists residing in a community increases access to arts programs, provides opportunities for representation by diverse voices, and creates a more cohesive community.

The event features a relaunched Art Crawl, Studio Tour and Art Slam Contest. The Art Slam features artists telling short stories about works of art. Sanctuary Arts Festival will launch on Aug. 4-5.

Iron Bartender: Friday, Aug. 11, returns with bartenders from a regional restaurant competing for the title of Iron Bartender. The one-night event has the public tasting specialty creations and getting to know regional bartenders. The contest has become recognized statewide as the chance for bartenders to show their skills.

The Snack Down on Aug. 17 is a tasting event highlighting the culinary entrepreneurs of Oxford. Food trucks, cottage goods, organic farmers, brewers and distillers not only provide a wide variety of foods in the Lafayette County region, but they also contribute to the diverse local economy.

These small businesses contribute to a vibrant community and also offer economic opportunities. The event is supported by the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Leadership Lafayette program as a way to highlight the contribution of small businesses to our community.

Information and Tickets for these events planned by the event committee are on sale at