Meridian’s Aa’Keela Hudnall and Richelle Putman are among artists and arts programs across the state selected as Mississippi Arts Commission grant recipients for fiscal year 2021.

The Commission has awarded $1.3 million in funding for the fiscal year, which began July 1 and continues to June 30, 2021. Awards were made in 76 Mississippi House of Representatives districts and 46 state Senate districts, to 133 organizations and schools and to 66 individual artists. Recipients will benefit in a number of ways, including operating support for museums and community arts centers, arts integration and guest artist presentations in schools and continuing education and supplies for working artists.

“Though the arts have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are encouraged by the artful ways people have adapted to continue to enliven and serve communities, and we are truly grateful to be able to provide grants to these worthy organizations and talented individuals,” said Malcolm White, executive director of MAC.

“We also thank the Mississippi Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts for providing these funds that will undoubtedly infuse communities in the state with inspiration and creative spirit,” White said.

In addition to making direct grants, MAC accepted 25 schools into its Mississippi Whole Schools program in fiscal year 2021. The program provides educators with intensive professional development for integrating the arts across the curriculum.

MAC also approved 29 artists and performing groups for inclusion in its Artist Roster and Teaching Artist Roster, which features many of the best artists and arts educators working in the state. The Artist Roster is updated annually on MAC’s website, and the newest edition will be available this fall.

FY2021 MAC Grant recipients from the Meridian area include:

• Individual Artist Fellowship — Richelle Putman, $3,700 for a Literary Artist Fellowship, Fiction.

• Individual Artist Roster — Aa’Keela Hudnall, Vocal and Piano

• Organization Operation Grant — Meridian Council for the Arts, $3,900; Meridian Little Theatre, $13,700; Meridian Museum of Art, $11,000; Meridian Symphony Association, $7,000; Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience (The MAX), $19,400

• Whole Schools Program — Crestwood Elementary School, Northwest Middle School, Oakland Heights Elementary School, T.J. Harris Elementary School and West Hills Elementary School.

• Model Whole Schools Program — Poplar Springs Elementary School.

For a full list of grantees, visit the following link: For more information on MAC’s grant programs, Artist Roster and other services, visit the agency’s website at

• The Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) 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

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