Katrina Byrd | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Katrina Byrd

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Courtesy Katrina Byrd

Of the $1.5 million in funding that the Mississippi Arts Commission has granted to artists and arts programs across the state for fiscal year 2013, MAC awarded 50 grants in Hinds County, totaling $314,467. MAC also approved 58 artists for membership in the Mississippi Artist Roster, 10 of whom are in Hinds County: John Paul, Johnny Burgess, Lannie Spann McBride, Randy K. Mapes, Rick Anderson, Scott Albert Johnson, Shawn Leopard and John Paul, Tom Harmon and Katrina Byrd.

Jackson native Katrina Byrd is a teaching artist, a storyteller and a past contributor to the Jackson Free Press. Byrd has been accepted to both the Mississippi Arts Commission's Artist Roster and Teaching Artist Roster.

"I'm very excited to be added to the Artist Roster," Byrd said. "I've been wanting to get on the roster for years."

The Millsaps alumna has received several small art grants over the years, but never made the Artist Roster.

Byrd, who is visually impaired, has been writing since age 7 and is the author of three books: "Justice is Blind," "One Hot Minute" and "Byrds of a Feather."

"I've always viewed writing as an escape," Byrd said.

On Monday, July 15, Byrd will present her first workshop at the 2012 Whole School Institute. "The Story Recipe" workshop will share strategies with teachers including the basics of storytelling, point of view, speaking and listening. Byrd told the JFP that the workshop "will be very interactive, including movement like dancing and writing."

"The workshop will also be an anti-bullying workshop," Byrd said. "Being able to listen to other kids' points of view and understand it will eliminate bullying."

The workshop will include stories based on the fairy tale of the "Three Little Pigs," which tells the story of a wolf blowing the pigs' homes down from their point of view; and "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs," which tells the same story from the wolf's point of view; he simply had a cold and blowing the pigs' homes down was an accident.

Byrd's other workshops include "Man in the Mirror" and "Shake Rattle and Roll." She also wrote several monologues and plays that have been performed locally, and two of her short stories were featured in Black Magnolias Literary Magazine.

MAC awarded funds to more than 40 Mississippi counties. The grants ranged from support for museums and community arts centers to small grants that assist schools with bringing in guest artists. More than 30 individual artists and 180 different organizations received grants. Ten were individual grants to artists: Steven Wells Hicks, Steve Kistulentz, Roy Adkins, Robby Piantanida, Peter Zapletal, Paul Fayard, Mary Quin, Liliclaire Chaworth McKinnon-Hicks, Ellen Ann Fentress and Andy Hilton. The rest of the Hinds County grants went to art councils, elementary schools and choirs.

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