New Albany Main Street Provides Community Art Lessons for Local Youth

NEMiss.News Main St uses grant for youth art lessons



New Albany Main Street Association was the recipient of a $4500 grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC). MACs annual grant funds come from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mississippi State Legislature.

“Since 2018, we have been working on many ways to promote the arts throughout our community,” said Main Street Director Billye Jean Stroud, “and we were thrilled to be one of the organizations selected.”

Funding from MAC allowed Main Street to provide eight months of art classes to 4th and 5th grade members from New Albany’s Boys & Girls Club. Students were engaged in artistic activities throughout the school year on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Classes were held after school at the Community Center and were led by a variety of local artists and artisans.

One artist, New Albany High School art teacher Emily Murff, spent time with the students creating graffiti style art. She commented, “This has been a wonderful opportunity for the students and the artists involved. Any time our community youth can be offered art classes the results are going to be positive.”

MAC Artist Roster artist, Andi Bedsworth, traveled from Oxford to lead the students in a painting and fiber arts project. New Albany Middle School art teacher and class organizer, Tracy Vainisi, said, “This has been such a great opportunity for the club members.” She added, “New Albany Boys & Girls Club offers so many wonderful opportunities, and I was really excited to be a part of this Main Street project.”

The grant allowed for five artists and one artist intern to be hired and a plethora of art supplies to be purchased. At the end of the classes, students took home a custom dyed pillow that they sewed, an air plant sculpture, a portfolio of art pieces, as well as their own painting set.

The Mississippi Arts Commission is a state agency serving more than two million people through grants and special initiatives that enhance communities, assist artists and arts organizations, promote arts education, and celebrate Mississippi’s cultural heritage. MAC is funded by the Mississippi Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mississippi Endowment for the Arts at the Community Foundation for
Mississippi, and other private sources.

For more information, visit

For information about the Mississippi Arts Commission, please contact Ellie Banks,
Communications Director, 601-359-6546 or

New Albany Main Street
New Albany, Mississippi

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