A Commitment for the Creation and Celebration of the Arts
The Gertrude McCarty Smith Foundation for the Arts is a non-profit organization, dedicated to fulfilling the late artist's vision and desire to serve as a catalyst for lifelong discovery and exploration of the visual, literary, musical, performing, and digital arts in Mississippi communities and beyond. The foundation's goals are to enable individual artists, arts educators and community members of all ages to learn and practice a variety of artistic disciplines by providing access, educational programs, and resources.
GERTRUDE'S VISION Artist and writer Gertrude McCarty Smith (1923-2007) envisioned a world where the arts are accessible and appreciated by people of all ages, backgrounds, and interests – starting in her beloved Mississippi. Whether encouraging a young child to paint or learning from artists of other disciplines, Gertrude discovered that artists everywhere had a special gift to "brighten up the world - each and every day." She believed the arts - both the creation of and the enjoyment of - had the power to transform an individual and their community for the better. Gertrude spent her life not only writing and creating visual art, but encouraging other artists, young and old alike, to follow their dreams of artistic endeavors.
THE NEED Mississippi is a region rich in soil, heritage and culture. However, there has been a lack of access and opportunity for many artists young and old. The State boasts nationally acclaimed cultural institutions and legends such as William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Margaret Walker Wright, Tennessee Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Leontyne Price, Elvis Presley, Tammy Wynette, B.B. King, Jimmy Buffet, Walter Anderson, George Ohr, Alice Moseley and Collins native Gerald McRaney, among many others. Yet the majority of this talent has had to leave Mississippi to seek opportunity because the state’s cultural assets have been and continue to be grossly underfunded and supported. The GMS Foundation hopes to make wide and deep investment in this homegrown talent pool.
PURPOSE As a creative beacon for artists and families, the Pine Belt-based Foundation is envisioned as a multidisciplinary cultural resource for the visual, literary, performance and media arts. It will enable the creation of and celebration of the arts through community access, arts education and on-site work areas. Its main purposes are to connect and showcase artists to the local community, as well as offer free and low-cost regular arts programs including after-school classes, family learning events and senior activities. Additionally, it can foster strong creative, economically-sound careers of artists working in different disciplines through educational workshops, forums and residencies.
BENEFITS Artists & the Creative Community
Creates opportunities for artists of all disciplines to come together for encouragement, learning, and direction
Connects the local arts with creative professionals from around the state and beyond
Prepares artists for professional careers including teaching business skills
Supports professional development for artists and arts educators
Strengthens education in and through the art
Eliminates stereotypical views of the arts and artists
Makes artists and the arts more accessible to all the community
Provides creative, stimulating and educational activities at little or no cost
Provides interdisciplinary arts instruction from early childhood to senior set
Encourages a life-long appreciation of the arts
Provides jobs and volunteer opportunities
Serves as the community’s civic center
Draws the community closer
Encourages repeat tourism and patronage of local merchants
Builds local pride, ownership and collaboration
Adds an esthetic beauty in community
Encourages youth retention in the area
Promotes cleaning up area
Revitalizes the community for future generations
Works to make the whole community more aware of the importance of the arts through partnerships with arts, schools/educational, businesses and community organizations
Improve the capacity and stability of Mississippi's artists
Increase knowledge of and pride in Mississippi arts and culture
Recognize and encourage Mississippi artists
Provides successful example to other rural start-up businesses and nonprofits
SUPPORT The success of the Gertrude McCarty Smith Foundation for the Arts will be made through a high level of volunteerism, network of partnerships and the generous donations from individuals, businesses, foundations and governmental sources. To get involved or for more information, contact Johanna Burlingham at 310-498-7530 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
managed by gertrude mccarty smith foundation for the arts