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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 380
Monday, January 30, 2017
Mississippi Arts Commission — RIP?

In Today’s Issue:

-Mississippi Arts Commission RIP? Please Call or Text your Mississippi reps today and ask them to oppose HB 1325 and (SB 2611). (see below for why)

-Library Love Letters Campaign: you can help protect funding for our nation's libraries by composing a "library love letter!"

-Sat Feb 11th - February Full Moon is for lovers — Full Moon Night Paddle in the Big Canoe — on the biggest river in North America - romantic, magical, mystical.

-12noon Saturday, Feb 18th, LMRF General Annual Membership Meeting, with a potluck, and Sunflower River Cleanup. Sharing our 5-year strategic plan 2017-2022!

(...Keep reading below for more details about these and other February events...)

The Mississippi Arts Commission supports and fosters some of the finest music the world has to offer -- the Mississippi Delta Blues -- here at the annual Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival.

Mississippi Arts Commission RIP?

Deadline tomorrow, Tuesday Jan 31st: Mississippians, tell your reps and senators to oppose SB 2611 and HB 1325, which are bills in committee to completely do away with MAC. Please call or text TODAY! Go to Creative Mississippi for names and numbers.

In case you are not aware, there is an effort underway to create a new version of Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) under the umbrella of MDA, the Mississippi Development Authority. We already know the arts are good business. Mississippi music and other arts attracted 22 million visitors to Mississippi in 2016 generating $6 billion income for the state. But we also know that restructuring arts commissions weakens them, and makes them less effective. Studies show by 28% (see full story below in Mississippi Today). Why mess with a good thing? MAC is a healthy and vital component in the life of all Mississippians. No reason to "fix it" if it ain't broke. If this bill were to pass, there would be no real or substantial Arts agency in Mississippi.

The Mississippi Arts Commission makes possible the Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival, and helps many other events and projects essential to life and economy in the Mississippi Delta — and all over the state. The Delta Blues Museum, GRIOT Arts, and the Dugout Canoe Project are but a few examples. Tell your reps and senators to oppose HB 1325 (and it's mirror bill in the senate SB 2611), which are the bills in committee to completely do away with the MAC. Creative Mississippi has set up a list of critical legislators who you can call or text today, Monday Jan 30, 2017. Note: for most of these, you can call and leave a message! Click Here for the Creative Mississippi info page.

Please call or text today and help us save our beloved Mississippi Arts Commission!

Read more about the fate of the MAC:

Abolishing Arts Commission gets closer to House floor

by Anna Wolfe, The Clarion-Ledger, Jan. 27, 2017

Arts Commission transfer bill advances

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today, Jan. 27, 2017

Creative Mississippi: Call to Action

Our Dugout Canoe Project is made possible in part by a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission. Unless you act today, we may not be able to continue canoe carving in Clarksdale.

Library Love Letters Campaign

Libraries across the state are facing budget cuts, and some are even cutting hours and closing branches. To let legislators and lawmakers in Jackson and Washington know that communities value libraries, the Mississippi Library Association has organized Library Love Letters, and you can help! Just come by and fill out a postcard explaining why you love the library or what it means to you or to the community. You can send it along to lawmakers, or let us do that for you. We hope this coordinated effort will make us more visible and allow us the resources we need to serve Coahoma County.

Upcoming Events:

Sat Feb 4th at 5 pm, Source Of Confidence Celebration and Trailer Release Party: On November 27th, 2016 Viki, Lisa, and Alyce became the first all-Woman’s Expedition to canoe the 4th Longest River System in the World! It was an incredible adventure and we want to celebrate this success with you! Darby’s Pub and Grill, 315 North 5th Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Sat Feb 11th February Full Moon is for lovers! Full Moon Night Paddle in the Big Canoe. Meet at 2pm at Quapaw Canoe Company and board our shuttle bound for the muddy banks of the Mississippi River. Paddle to remote sandbar island for supper and moonrise. Paddle downstream to next landing by the silvery light of the Super Moon. Bonfire and Potluck. Email for more details and/or reservation.

Thurs Feb 16th at 5:30 p.m. For the Love of Books Gala — Join us Thursday, February 16th, at the Coahoma County Higher Education Center (Cutrer) for the annual fundraising event in support of the Community Book Talks Lecture Series. It will kick off at 5:30 with hors d'oeuvres, music, and entertainment from our local history collection. Tickets are available at the library or at the CCHEC. If you'd like to volunteer to help or donate food, please call Sarah Ruskey (624-4461) or Jen Waller (645-3555). Carnegie Public Library: the library with a canoe on its card!

Saturday, Feb 18, 2017: LMRF General Annual Membership Meeting. Our general annual membership meeting takes place at noon on the Saturday closest to Valentine’s Day. The 2017 meeting is 12noon Saturday, Feb 18th, at Quapaw Canoe Company Clarksdale, with a potluck, and Sunflower River Cleanup afterwards. Come join us, if you can. We will have canoes and paddleboards for the cleanup. If you can’t join us, then wherever you are -- love your river. And as we say around here: “May the River be with You!”

March 20 -May 10: Rivergator Celebratory Expedition March-May 2017. Now filing seats! You can sign up for the 6-week expedition from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico celebrating the completion of the Rivergator: one million words describing the Lower Mississippi. Your participation in this celebration will help make it a success!

April 20-23: Juke Joint Festival

Coming up in Fall 2017: Quapaw Canoe Company Artist’s Retreat! One week on the Mississippi River with your pens, paints, paper, guitar — whatever your tools of creativity are. Bring your gear, we’ll take of the rest including guiding, outfitting, meals and campsite. By hand-crafted voyageur canoe.

The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

is brought to you courtesy of

The Lower Mississippi River Foundation

Our Projects:

Rivergator: 1Million words describing the Lower Mississippi River:

Wild Miles: 71% of the Lower Miss is wild according to river rats. Will it stay that way?

Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program: long term apprenticeships developing personal character and young leaders through canoe building, big river guiding, and survival skills on the Lower Mississippi River.

LiNKS = Leave No Kids On Shore

LiNK-ing kids to the big river and mother nature -- with the passion of a LYNX.

Every LiNK in the chain is as important as the others. Real-time experiences for the betterment of personal health and environmental conservation along the Lower Mississippi River. In coordination with schools and after-school programs in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas.

Friends of the Sunflower River

Established in 2005 for cleanups, paddle events and other educational programming on the Sunflower River.

River Arts

Youth program begun in 2012 as an after-school river activity in conjunction with GRIOT Arts.

Our Friends:

Quapaw Canoe Company: custom-guided wilderness expeditions on the biggest and wildest river in North America, in our hand crafted cypress strip voyageur canoes. Now with outposts in Memphis, Vicksburg, Helena and Natchez. Home base: Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Big Muddy Adventures: custom-guided adventures on the Missouri, Mississippi, Meramec and Illinois -- covering the Grand Central Station of America's rivers from home base St. Louis.

Our Dugout Canoe Project is made possible in part by a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission. Unless you act today, we may not be able to continue canoe carving in Clarksdale!