Poetry Out Loud, LeFleur Museum District and Silhouettes at the Art Museum | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Poetry Out Loud, LeFleur Museum District and Silhouettes at the Art Museum

Taylor Mills of Northwest Rankin High School is this year's state champion and will represent Mississippi at the Poetry Out Loud national finals in Washington, D.C., April 30-May 1. Photo courtesy MPB

Taylor Mills of Northwest Rankin High School is this year's state champion and will represent Mississippi at the Poetry Out Loud national finals in Washington, D.C., April 30-May 1. Photo courtesy MPB

The finals for the state's 2019 Poetry Out Loud contest, which the Mississippi Arts Commission sponsored, was on March 5 at Mississippi Public Broadcasting's television studio in Jackson. The competition included 2,839 students and 132 teachers from 39 high schools throughout Mississippi. Nine students made it to the finals.

Taylor Mills of Northwest Rankin High School is this year's state champion and will represent Mississippi at the Poetry Out Loud national finals in Washington, D.C., April 30-May 1. Victoria Byrd of Pascagoula High School was the second-place winner, and Angelita Micele of Vancleave High School in Vancleave came in third place. The grand-prize-winner of the national championship competition will receive $20,000.

The other state finalists included Juliet Buckholdt of Ridgeland High School; Anna Claire Franklin of Oxford High School; Victoria Gong of Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in Columbus; Katlynn McCollum of North Pontotoc High School in Ecru; Desiree Roby, who is home schooled through the Christian Home Educators Connection; and Belaynesh Shiferaw of Quitman High School in Quitman.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation created Poetry Out Loud in 2005 with the goal of helping students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and improve reading comprehension, the Poetry Foundation's website states. The competition is open to students in all 50 states, and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

MPB will air its footage of the competition statewide on MPB Television at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 26, with a second airing scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 28. For more information, visit mpbonline.org.

LeFleur Museum District Receives Tourism Award

The Southeast Tourism Society, a Georgia-based nonprofit that promotes tourism across the southeastern United States, recently gave Jackson's LeFleur Museum District its Shining Example Partnership Award for LMD's cooperative tourism work, or joint marketing and other efforts among the four museums to work together to promote Jackson as a tourism destination for the state. A release from the district states that the museums had an economic impact of $28.4 million for the city in 2018.

Jackson's LMD includes the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum, the Mississippi Children's Museum, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum.

Visit Jackson partnered with the four museums to establish the district in May 2014 as part of National Travel & Tourism week. The member museums offer a joint-ticket option for visitors that allows them to visit all four museums at a discounted rate.

The district's signature event is the Mississippi Science Fest, a three-day event that takes place in September each year. The event includes a C Spire-sponsored coding challenge for elementary-school students, a "Field Trip Friday" event for students and hands-on activities at all four museums that focus on STEM subjects, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Mississippi Tourism Association named the event "Small Festival of the Year" for 2018.

"The Mississippi Children's Museum is honored to partner with the other museums in the district to promote hands-on learning for both children and families," Susan Branson, director of external affairs for the Mississippi Children's Museum, told the Jackson Free Press. "We are committed to many more years of strong partnership."

This year's Mississippi Science Fest will take place from Sept. 19-21. For more information, visit mschildrensmuseum.org, msfame.com, msagmuseum.org or mdwfp.com/museum.

Mississippi Museum of Art Opens Silhouette Galleries

The Mississippi Museum of Art will open two new exhibitions, "Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now" and "A Closer Look: Silhouette Artists in Antebellum Mississippi," to the public on Saturday, April 27.

"Black Out" is a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institute's National Portrait Gallery featuring cut-paper profiles originally made before the rise of photography in the mid-19th century. Silhouette artists would have a subject sit in front of a projected light to cast a shadow onto paper, and then cut out the silhouette and mount it onto another piece of paper. Some artists would also paint the silhouettes.

The gallery will also contain 45 objects including ceramics, sculptures, prints, origami and mixed-media installations from 1796 to now.

"A Closer Look," the Mississippi Museum of Art's companion exhibit to the Smithsonian's gallery, will highlight works by early-19th-century artists from New Orleans, Natchez and Vicksburg. Roger Ward, chief curator at MMA, created the exhibit.

Both exhibitions will remain on display until Aug. 25, 2019. The exhibits and their associated programs are free and open to the public. For more information, call or visit msmuseumart.org.

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