Grammy Museum

Delta Center hosts Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Services at Delta State

The Board of Commissioners and staff of Volunteer Mississippi met recently at Delta State University's Alumni House. Presentations were given by Dr. Rolando Herts of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning and Linda Stringfellow of the Center for Community and Economic Development.

The Board of Commissioners and staff of Volunteer Mississippi met recently at Delta State University's Alumni House. Presentations were given by Dr. Rolando Herts of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning and Linda Stringfellow of the Center for Community and Economic Development.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning recently hosted the Board of Commissioners of Volunteer Mississippi, also known as the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Services. Volunteer Mississippi’s mission is to engage and support Mississippians of all ages and backgrounds in service to their communities.

According to David Mallery, executive director of Volunteer Mississippi, this is the first time in his eight-year tenure that the Board of Commissioners has met in a Mississippi Delta community.

“We are very impressed with the facilities at Delta State and the professionalism and hospitality that we have experienced here on campus and in the Cleveland community,” said Mallery. “We look forward to more opportunities to connect the Board of Commissioners and Volunteer Mississippi with organizations in the Delta. We appreciate The Delta Center for welcoming us to the region.”

Volunteer Mississippi commissioners and staff members from around the state traveled to Cleveland for the two-day meeting experience. The group’s various points of origin included municipalities as far east as Columbus and as far south as Gulfport and Bay St. Louis.

The meeting took place at Delta State’s Alumni House. Dr. Rolando Herts provided an overview of The Delta Center’s signature partnership programs including the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshop, the International Delta Blues Project, and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. Linda Stringfellow also was invited to present on the Mississippi Delta Service Corps, an Americorps VISTA program based at Delta State’s Center for Community and Economic Development.

“Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, is quoted as saying, ‘Service is the rent we pay for living,’” said Herts. “Life for so many Delta residents is economically and socially challenged. Many of these challenges are tied to the Delta’s culture and history. The Delta Center’s programming offers ways for residents and visitors not only to understand our culture and history better, but also to discover ways to become engaged in creating change for the better. We look forward to exploring such opportunities with Volunteer Mississippi.”

Dr. Richard Conville, board chair of the commission, echoed Herts’ comments about how understanding local culture enhances community service.

“Volunteer Mississippi has a strong presence in Delta communities through the Mississippi National Service Network, which includes Americorps, Senior Corps and VISTA,” said Conville. “It makes sense for our Board of Commissioners to have more regular meetings in the Delta so that we can learn more firsthand about the culture of the communities that we are serving. The Delta Center has helped us to begin this process.”

During their stay, the group also toured GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi, learning about the museum’s community volunteer docent program. Afterwards, they dined on authentic Delta barbecue and catfish at Airport Grocery and stayed overnight at a local hotel.

“Everyone here has been so welcoming,” said commissioner Janis Lane from Byram. “I will definitely encourage my family and friends to visit the Delta.”

“Dr. Herts told us about the GRAMMY’s Top 40 Places to Visit in the Delta website,” said commissioner Roktabija Abdul-Azeez from Jackson. “Now that I know about it, I will be using it to plan my next trip to the Delta.”

Established in 1994 as the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service, Volunteer Mississippi has worked to encourage a culture of citizenship, service and responsibility to America. In partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, Mississippi Department of Education, Mississippi Center for Nonprofits, and faith-based and community organizations statewide, Volunteer Mississippi fosters community engagement and building volunteer capacity throughout the state.

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Delta Center organizes museum tours for architecture students

Delta Center staff members Dr. Rolando Herts and Lee Aylward at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi with Ross Barkley of Eley Barkley P.A. Engineering and Architecture (center), Jimmie Tucker of Self and Tucker Architects (far right), and the University of Memphis National Organization of Minority Architects Student Competition Team.

Delta Center staff members Dr. Rolando Herts and Lee Aylward at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi with Ross Barkley of Eley Barkley P.A. Engineering and Architecture (center), Jimmie Tucker of Self and Tucker Architects (far right), and the University of Memphis National Organization of Minority Architects Student Competition Team.

During the spring 2016 semester, The Delta Center For Culture and Learning has hosted several student groups visiting the region from a variety of higher education institutions, including Mississippi State University, Harvard Law School, Yale University and Emory University.

Most recently, The Delta Center arranged two museum architectural tours for members of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) from the University of Memphis. The students visited GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi on Delta State’s campus and the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola.

The NOMAS design competition team is developing a cultural heritage museum concept for Los Angeles’ historic Crenshaw district. The group of students was sponsored by Jimmie Tucker of Self and Tucker Architects, a Memphis-based firm that has designed the National Civil Rights Museum, STAX Museum and FedExForum.

Ross Barkley discusses Mississippi Delta cultural heritage elements used in designing GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi.

Ross Barkley discusses Mississippi Delta cultural heritage elements used in designing GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi.

“This national student competition is requiring our architecture students to incorporate design elements that reflect local cultural heritage,” said Tucker. “These tours provided insights and a back story that we would never have been aware of just by visiting these museums by ourselves.”

“The Delta Center continues to fulfill its mission by providing place-based learning opportunities for students and visitors from around the state, the nation and the world,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center. “These customized educational experiences about the Mississippi Delta can only happen when groups come to visit us here in the Mississippi Delta.”

Lee Aylward of The Delta Center made arrangements for the students to experience a personalized tour of the GRAMMY Museum with Ross Barkley of Eley Barkley P.A. Engineering and Architecture. Barkley was one of the lead architects for the museum. The Eley Barkley firm is based in Cleveland.

“Mr. Barkley showed us program, concept and schematic design documents,” said Tucker. “These are excellent examples that our students will be able to use to ignite and inform their design process.” 

“Ross Barkley’s expertise in bringing projects like this to completion was invaluable to its final outcome,” added Aylward. “The GRAMMY Museum will stand as a testament to his talent and ability.”

During their visit to the B.B. King Museum, the students toured the existing museum structure and discussed plans for the museum’s expansion with Robert Terrell, director of operations. The expansion includes a memorial courtyard for the late B.B. King, known as the King of the Blues and Mississippi’s Secretary of the State of the Blues.

Robert Terrell talks with NOMAS members about plans for the B.B. King Memorial Courtyard.

Robert Terrell talks with NOMAS members about plans for the B.B. King Memorial Courtyard.

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GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi And Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area Launch New Website Featuring Top 40 Mississippi Delta Attractions

To recognize their commitment to promoting educational and cultural quality of life in the Mississippi Delta region, GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA) have partnered to develop a new website showcasing the Top 40 places to visit in the Mississippi Delta. Delta residents and visitors can discover 40 of the most celebrated locations in the Mississippi Delta beginning today by visiting GRAMMYMuseumMS.org and clicking on the Explore tab.

The Top 40 features cultural heritage attractions throughout the Mississippi Delta that tell the region’s diverse stories. The website underscores the Museum and MDNHA’s shared interest in promoting the entire 18-county Mississippi Delta region as an educational cultural heritage destination of which its residents should be proud.

“As GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, we explore and celebrate the enduring legacies of all forms of music, and we’re also telling the story of the cradle of America’s music right here in Cleveland, the heart of the Mississippi Delta,” said Emily Havens, Executive Director of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi. “Our area’s rich musical legacy is a source of pride for Delta residents. We want to encourage everyone to explore and learn about our entire region, from local school groups to travelers from around the globe.”

The Top 40 features panoramic images of some must-see destinations and attractions throughout the Delta. Among the featured attractions are Tunica River Park, the birthplace of internationally renowned actor James Earl Jones; Baptist Town in Greenwood; Vicksburg National Military Park; Cotesworth Mansion in North Carrollton; St. Paul Church of God in Christ in Lexington; and unique local eateries like Blue Front Café in Bentonia and Farmer’s Grocery in Grace.

“The Top 40 celebrates the Mississippi Delta’s rich, diverse culture,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning, which is the management entity for the MDNHA. “GRAMMY Museum Mississippi and the Heritage Area both are committed to promoting the entire Delta. Yes, the Delta is the birthplace of the Blues, and music is a big part of our story, but there is so much more to discover and experience here, such as civil rights, culinary, and nature-based heritage sites. The Top 40 website highlights examples of these diverse cultural heritage attractions across the Delta region.”

Top 40 attractions were identified in collaboration with the Mississippi Delta Tourism Association and various county boards of supervisors throughout the region. Each of the 18 Delta counties has two attractions represented on the list. Four of the attractions are region-wide, including Bridging the Blues music heritage festival and the Mississippi Freedom Trail for civil rights heritage.

“We appreciate GRAMMY Museum Mississippi and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area for coordinating the Top 40 list,” said Webster Franklin, President and CEO of the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau and member of the Mississippi Delta Tourism Association. “This is a great program that will bring positive attention to the entire region.”

There are plans to develop the Top 40 even further during a second phase that would make the website even more interactive and participatory.

About GRAMMY Museum Mississippi
Built and operated by the Cleveland Music Foundation — a non-profit organization developed in 2011 — the 28,000-square-foot GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is housed near the campus of Delta State University, home of the Delta Music Institute’s Entertainment Industry Studies program, which features the most unique audio recording facilities in the South. Similar to its sister Museum — the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE — GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is dedicated to exploring the past, present and future of music, and the cultural context from which it emerges, while casting a focused spotlight on the deep musical roots of Mississippi. The Museum features a dynamic combination of public events, educational programming, engaging multimedia presentations, and interactive permanent and traveling exhibits, including a Mississippi-centric area that introduces visitors to the impact of Mississippi’s songwriters, producers and musicians on the traditional and modern music landscape. For more information about GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, visit www.grammymuseumms.org. For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @GRAMMYMuseumMS on Twitter and Instagram, and like “GRAMMY Museum Mississippi” on Facebook.

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Delta State University Enters Into Lease Agreement for the Establishment of GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi

PHOTO: From left, President of the Cleveland Music Foundation Lucy Janoush and Delta State University President Dr. John M. Hilpert sign the lease agreement for the establishment of GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi to be located on the Delta State University campus in Cleveland.

PHOTO: From left, President of the Cleveland Music Foundation Lucy Janoush and Delta State University President Dr. John M. Hilpert sign the lease agreement for the establishment of GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi to be located on the Delta State University campus in Cleveland.

Delta State University has entered into a lease agreement with the Cleveland Music Foundation to provide the property for the construction of the GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi in Cleveland.

On Friday, February 1, Delta State University President Dr. John M. Hilpert and Lucy Janoush, president of the Cleveland Music Foundation, the non-profit entity set to build the museum, signed a 99-year lease agreement designating a four-acre tract of property located on the south end of the Delta State golf course along Highway 8 as the site for the construction of the museum. Groundbreaking is tentatively set for late February.

As part of the agreement, the Cleveland Music Foundation will provide the funding and resources for the reconstruction of the golf course so that it remains a nine-hole facility.

The signing comes after Governor Phil Bryant’s recent presentation of a $1 million check to the Cleveland Music Foundation as the first installment for the establishment of the first official GRAMMY® museum outside of Los Angeles.

GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi will be a world-class, 20,000 plus square foot facility dedicated to exploring the past, present and future of music and the cultural context from which it emerges. The museum’s permanent exhibition will utilize film, video, interactive kiosks and, of course, music.

The museum will be closely affiliated with the Delta Music Institute (DMI), Delta State’s accredited program of music industry studies. A student exchange program will be developed between GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi and GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE to offer qualified DMI students opportunities to earn college credit and interact with their counterparts at Los Angeles area colleges and universities.

“This is important not only to the Delta Music Institute, but to the entire university,” said Hilpert. “We anticipate the participation of many faculty and students in the establishment and operation of GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi.  This is a very meaningful project to all constituencies of the university, and I want to thank Lucy Janoush and the board of the Cleveland Music Foundation for their hard work toward driving this project to completion.”

GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi will present a unique economic development opportunity for Mississippi. Partnering with one of the world’s most recognized brands will help cement the state’s claim as “The Birthplace of America’s Music.” Mississippi has invested in a number of projects to honor its unique culture and heritage; among them are the Mississippi Blues and Country Music Trail markers, the B.B. King Museum, the Delta Blues Museum and the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center.

“This project would not be remotely possible without Delta State University’s participation and support,” said Janoush.  “We are so thankful to Dr. Hilpert and DMI Director Tricia Walker and her students for their efforts in helping to bring GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi to Cleveland.”

"GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi represents not only a fantastic cultural attraction for our state, highlighting Mississippi’s amazing contribution to American music, but it will offer the next generation of young music industry professionals an exciting entry point into today’s music industry,” said Walker. “The GRAMMY brand is a worldwide brand, it has the power to open a lot of doors and opportunities for our students.”

For information about GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi or the Delta Music Institute, contact the DMI office at (662) 846-4579 or dmi@deltastate.edu

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