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My name is Darren Schwindaman, and I've been working as a graphic designer for ten years. For the ...
My name is Darren Schwindaman, and I've been working as a graphic designer for ten years. For the last eight years, I've been developing my business into Creative Distillery, a branding studio in Jackson. We complete projects in brand identity design, advertising, social media marketing, and website design for small business and nonprofit clients. We're proud to contribute to Mississippi's creative economy by employing young creatives, and we're proud to serve so many of our clients who power Mississippi's creative economy.
When arts organizations and creative entrepreneurs invest in branding, they're investing in an asset that will open doors to audiences and funders. We've recently completed a label design for a Mississippi-made cold brew coffee. That label will help the product stand out on the shelf and get premium retail space in a time when local, artisan-made food products are outshining traditional supermarket brands. In one year, we completed design for the Mississippi Opera, Crossroads Film Festival, the Mississippi Museum of Art, and the Mississippi Chorus. High-quality design materials increase the ability of those organizations to bring their events to new crowds and to draw visitors to appreciate Mississippians' creativity.
Creating a Business
I love Mississippi's creative economy because its story feels like my own. My own passion for branding work began as a creator: working with typography and imagery to tell a story in an ad or capture a brand's essence in a logo identity. "Business" was far from my mind. However, as I became involved behind the scenes with clients, I learned more about developing my own profession. Thinking about employees, expenses, margins, and other business realities helps me create a healthy business that provides for my family and for my employees. The healthier we are on the balance sheet, the more I can grow our team.
When my generation of young, diverse creatives thinks about why they've chosen to live in Mississippi, the first answer is always "the people." The people make for our projects' biggest rewards. Anytime a client trusts us with his or her organization's brand, Creative Distillery enters into a relationship to present them in the most creative, memorable way we can. We are always energized by the artists and entrepreneurs who are doing incredible creative work that we're excited to show off. We're grateful to clients that have helped us grow by referring us to a steady stream of projects.
We all know about our state's history of raw talent in the visual, written, performing, and culinary arts. In recent years, however, the sophistication of how those talents are presented and sold is sparking a new opportunity for artists to make their living professionally creating. I'm excited for Creative Distillery's role in supporting creatives, whether they be our clients and our own employees. I can't wait to see what Mississippi creates next.
Thacker Mountain Radio Coming to Jackson
The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour is bringing its award-winning show to Duling Hall in Jackson on ...
The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour is bringing its award-winning show to Duling Hall in Jackson on Thursday, May 7 at 7:30 pm. Guests for the program will be Americana/roots band Willie Sugarcapps, chef/author John Currence, songwriter Beth McKee and painter Wyatt Waters. The show is hosted by Jim Dees and the Thacker house band, the Yalobushwhackers, led by Memphis rockabilly guitarist John Paul Keith. Following the Thacker show, Willie Sugarcapps will perform a full concert. (Note: Not a live broadcast, this show will be recorded for future air on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.)
Tickets for this seated show are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and may be purchased at http://www.dulinghall.com/tickets. Doors open at 6:30 pm. Duling Hall is located at 622 Duling Avenue, Jackson, MS 39216.
Willie Sugarcapps’ music has been called “Zen country,” performed by a “twangy, rootsy, harmony-fueled band.” The band is a gathering of established Americana solo artists: Grayson Capps, Will Kimbrough, Corky Hughes and the duo Sugarcane Jane - Savana Lee and Anthony Crawford. Loose, informal jam sessions led to the birth of this very collaborative band. Each takes turns singing lead as they switch up between fiddle, banjo, mandolin, lap steel, bass and even ukulele. Their CD, Willie Sugarcapps, won Americana Album of the Year in 2013.
Audiences know multi-instrumentalist Kimbrough from his work with Jimmy Buffett, Rodney Crowell and Todd Snider. His latest solo CD is Sideshow Love. Capps is a Mobile, Ala native whose five CDs reflect the Gulf Coast including his latest, The Lost Cause Minstrels on which Hughes plays guitar. Also from Mobile, Corky Hughes has played guitar for such bands as Black Oak Arkansas, Jimmy Hall, Wet Willie, and Bo Diddley. Also from Alabama’s Gulf Coast is the married duo, Savana Lee and Anthony Crawford, who created their band, Sugarcane Jane in 2009. Their latest album, Dirt Road's End, was released last month.
Renowned Oxford, Miss. chef, John Currence, is the author of the cookbook, Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey: Recipes from My Three Favorite Food Groups and Then Some (Andrews McMeel Publishing). The book takes readers from his grandparent’s New Orleans garden, through towboat kitchens, Western European restaurants, North Carolina smokehouses, back to New Orleans. After settling in Oxford, Currence opened City Grocery in 1992. The City Grocery Restaurant Group now includes five. In 2009, Currence received the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef South and was a winner of the Charleston Food and Wine Festival’s Iron Chef Challenge. He is currently a Contributing Editor at Garden and Gun magazine.
Copies of Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey will be for sale and Currence will sign copies before and after the show.
Former Jackson resident, Beth McKee’s newest CD, Sugarcane Revival will be released May 16 but advance copies will available at Duling Hall. Like her previous CD, the excellent, Next to Nowhere, her new album features McKee’s original tunes and her percolating accordion and swamp boogie shuffles with touches of gospel, jazz, and reggae. The album also features guitarist Tommy Malone, formerly of the subdudes. McKee’s upcoming CD release party in Florida will raise funds for The Fresh Bus (http://www.thefreshstopbus.com/), a mobile produce market serving food-challenged neighborhoods. McKee, formerly of south Jackson, now lives in Orlando, Fla.
Wyatt Waters is a painter and gallery owner from Clinton, Miss. He has illustrated 13 books including three with author/chef Robert St. John, Southern Seasons, A Southern Palette and An Italian Palette. Waters will produce a still life watercolor of the Thacker Mountain show as it is performed.
John Paul Keith is a songwriter and guitarist originally from Knoxville but now based in Memphis. His latest CD is Memphis Circa 3AM (Big Legal Mess Records). The CD was produced by the late Roland Janes – longtime house guitarist and engineer for Sun Records.
The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour can be heard every Saturday at 7 pm on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, (WMPN 91.3FM in Jackson) and online at http://www.mpbonline.org/programs/radio/listen-live/. More information on upcoming shows is available at the show’s website, http://thackermountain.com/. Photos from past shows can be found on the show’s Facebook page and podcasts can be heard on the show’s Soundcloud page at https://soundcloud.com/thackermountain.
The 10 Most Beautiful Towns in Mississippi
The Culture Trip, a popular international arts and travel blog, has named these Mississippi ...
The Culture Trip, a popular international arts and travel blog, has named these Mississippi destinations the "10 Most Beautiful Towns" in the state:
- Bay St. Louis
- New Albany
- Ocean Springs
- Port Gibson
Of course, we think that this should be a several-part series because there are so many beautiful towns in Mississippi, but we're pleased that these 10 are featured!
Lo Lady Fashion
If you were to tell my younger, Yankee self that one day I would be living in Jackson, Mississippi, ...
If you were to tell my younger, Yankee self that one day I would be living in Jackson, Mississippi, I would have laughed hysterically and responded with “Right… where in the world is that exactly?”
My name is Lauren Miltner and I am the creator of a Jackson-based jewelry line called Lo Lady Fashion. I hail from Grand Rapids, Michigan, originally, and planted southern roots about 11 years ago. The journey I have been on is absolutely unique with a wide array of clock-punching, mind-numbing jobs that eventually led me into visual merchandising. I have never claimed to be “an artist” simply because my strong suits were unconventional and did not fit into any kind of traditional artistic mold. Don’t ask me to paint, draw, make pottery, sketch, and sew… unless you want to end up with a product a kindergartener could easily duplicate.
Lo Lady Fashion started to form about two years ago when I teamed up with my Jackson-transplant mother, Patti Igoe Betts, as she started rediscovering vintage artwork. We began turning different images into up-cycled art pendant necklaces. Little did I know that was only the beginning of a line of jewelry that revives and reinvents all different forms of items that hold sentimental and significant value to my customers. They began bringing old broaches, earrings, keys, and family pictures; they wanted customized pieces they could wear to represent their loved ones and life experiences. Mississippians have so much incredible history and heritage. Lo Lady Fashion takes different forms of mixed media, whether it is a vintage heirloom, photo or an incredibly beautiful fragment of turquoise or quartz and combines your story with a modern design creating a one of a kind piece of “wearable art.”
As a business owner here in Jackson, I want to shine a light on the fact that the creative economy here is one that is unique and interwoven into its cultural roots. You do not have to be a traditional artist, a cookie cutter creature; it is the exact opposite in this community. Be brave and step out into the abilities you have been gifted with to make an impact.
“Remember always that you have not only the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
Yazoo City: Beyond the Witch Tour
I’ve been working at Visit Mississippi for almost three months. Since it’s my job to ...
I’ve been working at Visit Mississippi for almost three months. Since it’s my job to sell our state, one of my top priorities is to make trips to the parts of the state in which I’ve never stepped foot. I’m sad to say, that’s a lot of places, y’all.
Alabama born and Washington D.C. raised, I didn’t actually become a Mississippi resident until I was 14 years old. I never left.
It’s my hope that I can fill my Mississippi passport over the next few years, and I hope to share each adventure with you.
On my first Mississippi field trip, I visited Yazoo City. I must admit something here. Originally, I was only in it for a witch-hunt.
Allow me to explain. You see, there’s a local legend involving “The Witch of Yazoo,” an old woman who was said to lure in fisherman and torture them, eventually returning from the grave to burn the city in 1904. Her gravesite is located in Glenwood Cemetery, which was listed as a stop on the tour, which had been organized for a group of travel writers. That alone was enough to grab my attention, and I’m glad it did.
Although the cemetery tour unexpectedly turned out to not be my favorite part of the day, it lured me to experience Yazoo City, which really is a treat in itself.
When we arrived, we stepped out of the car to find the most brightly painted downtown area I’ve ever seen. Each building is a different, vibrant color. Visitors are treated to 80s pop music coming from speakers as they stroll past storefronts.
After breakfast, we were given a tour of The Main Street Hotel, which continued the colorful theme inside its all-inclusive, suite-style rooms. Owner JoAnn Adams can tell you the story behind each one; they're all uniquely decorated with fine linens, antique furniture, claw-foot tubs and more.
From the hotel, we ventured to Glenwood Cemetery where we experienced a guided historical tour, and the legend of The Witch of Yazoo.
Thoroughly creeped out, we figured it was the perfect time for some barbeque. The family-owned Ubon’s Barbeque was right up our alley. Serving pulled pork, ribs, brisket, and more, Ubon’s boasts their own sauce, which was sweet, tangy and out of this world.
We then headed to The Blue Front Café in nearby Bentonia, which opened in 1948 and is a stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail, to experience Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, Mississippi blues legend and Blue Front owner, in a private performance.
Yazoo City is worth exploring. It’s perfect for a semi-local weekend getaway, for history buffs, or those just looking to step outside the box.
For more information on Yazoo City, or to plan your trip, see www.visitmississippi.org.
Photo 01: Colorful Main Street in Yazoo City
Photo 02: The Main Street Hotel boasts colorful, unique suite-style rooms
Photo 03: A tour guide leads the Glenwood Cemetery Tour
Photo 04: The sweet, tangy, house-made barbeque sauce at Ubon's
Photo 05: Local blues legend and owner of Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
On Midtown Pond
Henry David Thoreau in On Walden Pond said that he had traveled widely in ...
Henry David Thoreau in On Walden Pond said that he had traveled widely in Concord. After forty years in Midtown, I can say much the same about Midtown Jackson.
I was on Millsaps Avenue for many years at Pearl River Glass Studio, a proud pioneer of Midtown. I started the studio 40 years ago and moved it to Midtown in 1976 before buying our first two buildings in 1989. Four years later, we completed renovations adding space, equipment and, most importantly, more artists into the business.
Though we weren't on a picturesque pond, living in a self-made shed, we were in a wilderness of sorts. Many times I have thought that the great top soil I found when starting to garden there, how it must have been very fertile fields long before the train yard appeared at the end of the avenue.
For many years I liked being the "pioneer artist" in Midtown. It gave us lots of privacy. In the beginning, getting the work done and making the business viable was first priority that didn't need too many distractions. I venture to say that this was Thoreau's point for moving away from Concord. "Solitude is the well spring for inspiration", was the advice of Maria Rilke for anyone pursing an art form. I agree.
Later on, I started thinking about sharing the idea of Midtown as an arts district with others. One holiday break in the early 80's, I got in my truck and drove around the eight block midtown commercial area. I wrote down the addresses and what I estimated was the total vacant empty square footage of the building space. I recall the number being well north of 200,000 square feet.
Artists, craftsman, musicians, and innovators all need a space, a place to create the solitude, so when the muses arrive, there is a place for them to all take up residence. The residency afterwards, and with hard work, creates production and finally commerce.
From that time, I knew that the arts district could happen in Midtown. And, there is still room to grow in-and-around the current exciting projects.
I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts and reminiscences with you. Stay tuned. Stay creative and creating.
Photos of Andy Young (1 & 3) taken by Frank Farmer for Find It In Fondren™
<- Promotional graphic was created by Stephen Flinn Young
A Perspective on Creativity
Creative workers have long been subject to the prejudice that they’re just free ...
Creative workers have long been subject to the prejudice that they’re just free sprits who don’t work very hard.
Creativity, by its raw meaning is introducing something new to the world — hardly an easy task. Creating is the only form of pure magic left to us.
We make things that seconds before did not exist. We consider the needs of our community and the world and approach our tasks with passion and diligence — always trying to fill our workspace with meaningful accomplishment.
The workspace is our magician’s hat, where we pull our next trick.
It’s the blank slate.
It’s the empty notebook.
It’s the block of clay.
It’s the blinking cursor on this word-processing software.
It’s also the rich, flat soil before crops are planted.
It’s the raw steel before it’s stamped into a part that controls an engine.
It’s an empty hard drive, ready to be filled with code that organizes a business.
Creativity is making. In Mississippi, we make more than stuff and things. Art, music, machines, food and even stories are some of our exports.
Whatever we’re making, we should all have a common goal in mind: If we’re going to make anything, we have to make a difference.
Letter from a Mississippi State Student
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Josh Mabus is the President and CEO of The Mabus Agency.
Read his recent article published in the Mississippi Business Journal: "Why I Stayed?".
Learn more about Shearwater Pottery, featured in this post's cover photo, here: www.shearwaterpottery.com
Duncan, Miss. to Receive Blues Trail Marker
Duncan, Miss. will soon unveil a new marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail, honoring the ...
Duncan, Miss. will soon unveil a new marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail, honoring the city’s blues legends. Eddie C. Campbell, renowned blues guitarist and singer, is one of several artists included on the marker. The unveiling will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, April 10, at East Main and Park Street in Duncan. Campbell will perform at the unveiling.
“We are very excited to be able to honor these special people and their connection to Duncan,” said Kelli Carr, director of Cleveland Tourism. “Bolivar County has such a rich musical heritage, and it not only appeals to the ever-growing tourist sector traveling the Blues Trail, but also serves as a wonderful education component to residents who might not have known these connections. It brings a certain amount of civic pride. We are very excited that Eddie Campbell can come home to Duncan and attend his marker unveiling. It makes it quite special when those we honor can see the impact they have made on music history.”
The Mississippi Blues Trail's 185th marker dedication ceremony will mark both a homecoming and a comeback for Campbell, who was born in Duncan in 1939. Campbell left Mississippi as a child and was raised in Chicago, where he joined a legendary circle of musicians, including fellow Mississippi transplants Otis Rush and Magic Sam, who created the famed West Side sound. Campbell, who toured and recorded widely, lived in Europe in the 1980s and appeared in a German production of William Faulkner's "Requiem for a Nun." On his last tour to Germany in 2013 he suffered a stroke, and though he still battles its effects, he has been playing again at his home in Chicago. With support from the Mississippi Blues Foundation he will be leaving Chicago for the first time since his stroke to perform at the marker dedication and on April 11 at the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale.
Campbell shares connections with other Duncan and Clarksdale area musicians, notably blues icon Jimmy Reed, who lived on the nearby McMurchy plantation before moving to Chicago, and Robert "Bilbo" Walker, a familiar figure in the juke joints around Clarksdale, Bobo, Alligator and Duncan, who knew Campbell in Chicago in the 1960s. Duncan native Ernest Lane, best known for his work with Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm, was also recruited to play piano on one of Campbell's albums.
Others honored on the Duncan marker are local favorite Willie "Rip" Butler, a longtime member of the Wesley Jefferson Band who also worked with Robert Walker; pianist Willie Love, who made historic recordings for the Trumpet label in Jackson in the 1950s; Percell Perkins, who sang the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi and other gospel groups; young Clarksdale bluesman Anthony "Big A" Sherrod, whose birth, as he tells it, took place on a Greyhound bus traveling through Duncan; and Rosetta Patton Brown, who was not a performer who but who was known to many visitors and aficionados as the daughter of Charley Patton, the man often called "the founder of the Delta Blues."
“As the Mississippi Blues Trail continues to grow, the story of how our state produced the foundation of modern music is told in more detail,” said Malcolm White, director of Visit Mississippi. “The markers tell of musical legends, their influences, and the history of area that gave birth to the blues. The Blues Trail is one of the best ways to experience the richness of Mississippi and we are so pleased to add Duncan to the list of markers and celebrate Eddie Campbell in his hometown."
For more information about the Mississippi Blues Trail, visit www.msbluestrail.org, explore the state’s official tourism website at www.VisitMississippi.org, or contact Mary Margaret Miller, Visit Mississippi’s Creative Economy program manager at email@example.com.
Lurny D's & the Food Truck Revolution
We are LurnyD’s Grille Food Truck, the first gourmet food truck of its kind to hit ...
We are LurnyD’s Grille Food Truck, the first gourmet food truck of its kind to hit the streets of Jackson, Mississippi. My wife and business partner, Betsy opened our food truck in October 2012. In March of 2012, I was at a crossroad in my life with 2 business plans in hand, one to take over a retail store that I had managed for 6 years and the other to open a gourmet food truck. Betsy and I love cooking and are self-proclaimed foodies. We both felt that the food truck was the best decision and went all in. And now 2 ½ years later, we feel that we not only add to the MS Creative Economy, but we play a major role in bringing a new food truck culture to the state. Food trucks are sweeping the nation and since we’ve been in business we’ve seen a vast increase in the metro area, as well as around the state. Our passion is unique, creative cooking with an ever changing, evolving menu. We have loyal customers on all social media platforms that follow us, which in turn increases revenue for the state. We can be seen at major events in the Jackson/Metro area, local events in Fondren, Belhaven and Midtown as well as Smith Park Downtown. The lure of food trucks is a major plus for tourism.
Betsy and I had a vision from the very beginning of creating a food truck association, not only for the Greater Jackson area but the entire state of Mississippi. We knew it would be only a matter of time when we’d begin to see more trucks rolling around and so the Mississippi Food Truck Association was born. Tupelo is one of the cities leading the way for the food truck movement and has an ongoing Food Truck Friday event that is very popular. Food Trucks, trailers and carts can be seen in cities such as Batesville, Grenada, Greenville, Natchez and Oxford. Jackson has 7 trucks rolling and has already begun to see Food Truck Round-up type events around the city at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Millsaps College, Mississippi College, the MS Museum of Art and numerous events in Midtown. In fact, we are talking now with Lucky Town Brewery about hosting the very first MS Food Truck Association event this summer. We would love to expand this event in the future by taking it to different cities. Big things are happening and we are so happy to be a part of it. We love our job and are very excited about what the future holds.