The Governor’s Arts Awards Thursday honor Mississippi’s arts treasures, such as the late photographer James Patterson. Image: John Hicks

by Sherry Lucas

It’s gotten to be a habit I can’t shake. The Governor’s Arts Awards offer such a great feel-good love fest for the creative juice that flows through this state, I just have to get my annual dose.

This year’s will be especially poignant, with a posthumous award going to highly skilled, very talented and most generous photographer James Patterson. The body of work he left us is, quite simply, magnificent, and woven into the fabric of this community with a thread that couldn’t be stronger (or better lit). And, speaking of threads, the other honorees have ties just as sturdy and deep and worthy of celebration — London Branch, Canton Spirituals, Ruth Miller, New Stage Theatre, Peavey Electronics and Julia Reed.

Congratulations to this year’s creative class!

Elsewhere, put your party boots on the ground and find some fun. Plenty out there, looks like.

“Spirits of the Passage: The Story of the Transatlantic Slave Trade” is now open at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Explore rare, firsthand accounts of loss and resilience and artifacts from the unlikely discovery of a sunken slave ship. The exhibit is open during normal museum hours, Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday 1-5 p.m. Purchase tickets here.

Kickback at the Compound, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Kundi Compound, is a chance to hang out in a cool space with music, card and board games, Netflix and more in the lounge.

The touring production of “Kinky Boots” comes to Jackson’s Thalia Mara Hall Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are limited; visit

“Hell in High Water,” a play with music about the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927, continues through Sunday at New Stage Theatre. Seats are filling fast for this show, which features blues artist Vasti Jackson and New Stage veterans John Maxwell, Sharon Miles, Kimberly Morgan Myles and Joseph Frost. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. For tickets, $30 adults, $25 seniors/students, visit the box office or call 601-948-3531.

“Hell in High Water” continues through Sunday at New Stage Theatre. Image: Kyle Tillman and New Stage Theatre

Celebrate artistic and cultural honorees Thursday with the 4:30 p.m. public reception and 6 p.m. awards ceremony for the 2019 Governor’s Arts Awards. The free event, open to the public, pays tribute to these stellar recipients: jazz musician London Branch (excellence in music and education); gospel powerhouse The Canton Spirituals (lifetime achievement award); fiber artist Ruth Miller (excellence in visual arts); regional professional theater New Stage Theatre (excellence in theatre); late photographer James Patterson (excellence in photography and community support); Peavey Electronics owners Hartley and Mary Peavey (governor’s choice); and author Julia Reed (cultural ambassador).

The Governor’s Arts Awards honor Mississippi’s arts treasures, such as the Canton Spirituals (lifetime achievement). Image: Mississippi Arts Commission

Cowboy up and pull on the boots. The Dixie National Rodeo is back in town at the Mississippi Coliseum, and in addition to a slew of cowboy, bull riding, roping, wrestling and barrel racing action, there are also some musical fun in the arena at each performance: Easton Corbin, 7:30 p.m. Thursday; Morgan Wallen, 7:30 p.m. Friday; Shenandoah, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; John Anderson, 3 p.m. Sunday; Dylan Scott, 7:30 p.m. Monday; Cody Johnson, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday; Scotty McCreery, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13. Tickets are $20-$35 and up at and the Coliseum box office.

Shenandoah is the musical draw at Saturday’s Dixie National Rodeo. Image:

The grand opening of Coffee Prose, 5:30-9 p.m. Thursday, at 1619 N. West St., (corner of West and Millsaps Avenue) will include a reception with food, beverages, live music and local leaders.

The 2019 Chocolate Festival, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at Market Street Flowood, at the corner of Old Fannin Road and Lakeland Drive, brings together music, shopping and chocolate tastings with participating stores and promos. Tickets are $5 adults, free for children 12 and younger.

S.T.E.M., Leaves & Trees, 10 a.m. to noon Friday at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, is a science celebration of Mississippi Arbor Day with hands-on crafts, games and displays focusing on Mississippi trees, for school groups and families. It’s included with museum admission ($6 adults/$4 kids 3 and older) or membership.

Friday, catch the opening reception for “Working Matters” by Kristen Tordella-Wiliams, 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Pearl River Glass Studio. Cast paper and iron sculptures, printmaking and papermaking art in “Working Matters” revolve around the residue of labor and economy in our daily lives.

“Tool-Dipped Boots” is among the works in Kristen Tordella-Williams’ “Working Matters” at Pearl River Glass Studio gallery. Image: Courtesy of the artist

The Vegabonds bring new South rock to Duling Hall with a 9 p.m. Friday show and an opening by Cody Rogers. Tickets are $12 advance ($20 for a pair, and $15 day of show.

The Vegabonds entertain Friday night at Duling Hall. Image: ardenland

The MSO Woodwind Quintet is in the spotlight for the Sclater Chamber Concert, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mississippi College in Clinton, in the Aven Fine Arts Building. Tickets are $20 adults, $5 students, cash or check, at the door.

The MSO Woodwind Quintet performs Friday at Mississippi College’s Aven Hall in Clinton. Image: Dottie Serio

Visiting artist Teresa Haygood leads kids in creating magical bean mosaics, in workshops at 11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday at the Mississippi Children’s Museum. It’s included in museum admission ($10 per person/free for children younger than 1) or membership.

Ignite the Night: Hamptons Holiday, 7-11 p.m. Saturday at the Mississippi Children’s Museum, gives adults the chance to play after hours at the museum with an adults-only evening with a whimsical theme. Don summer chic, enjoy fun lawn games, bid on auction items and more and grab a taste of luxury. Event proceeds help fund museum operations. Find out more about hosting opportunities at

The Big Fondren Rock Show, 9 p.m. Saturday at Soul Wired Cafe, 4147 Northview Plaza, features Hunter Chappell. Doors at 7 p.m.

“Kansas City: The Story of the Negro Baseball League,” 3 p.m. Sunday at Thalia Mara Hall, retells the story of black baseball greats such as Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson. It’s hosted by the city’s parks and recreation’s Champion Dance Center and Montage Theatre of Dance from Hinds Community College. Tickets are $5 at the department of parks and recreation office inside Metrocenter Mall; admission is free for kids ages 5 and younger.

Tuesday’s program in the Millsaps Arts & Lecture Series is “A Tale of Two Observatories,” about renovations/restoration at the Millsaps College Observatory and at Barnard Observatory at Ole Miss. The program is at 7 p.m.; tickets are $10.

The Millsaps College Observatory and architect Robert Parker Adams are part of Tuesday’s Millsaps Arts & Lecture Series program. Image: Millsaps College

Sherry Lucas, a features writer in Jackson for the last 35 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting a curated sampling of creativity and culture from across the metro area. For additional Fondren events, see our online calendar here. Reach Sherry at

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