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Ideas explored for arts center

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
May 31, 2002
The Southern Arts and Entertainment Center, established by the Legislature to spotlight the state's rich tradition of artists, musicians and entertainers, has a new name the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center.
The name was decided at the first meeting of the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center Development Committee last month.
Paul Ott, chairman of the committee, said the change was made to narrow the focus of the center on the state, although he expects it to draw people to Meridian from throughout the South and even the world.
At its second meeting Thursday, the committee exchanged ideas on developing a Web site, securing legislative support and soliciting the assistance of entertainers from Mississippi to serve on an honorary committee to lend their popularity and name recognition to the project.
The committee also discussed several fund-raising and marketing ideas for the center. A draft of a mission statement for the center is being considered by the committee and a letter was approved to be sent to advertising agencies throughout the state to see which firms are interested in developing a logo for the center.
The committee saw a presentation from Mississippi State University assistant professor of architecture John Poros and assistant professor of landscape architecture Wayne Wilkerson, who had students do a hypothetical arts center plan at Bonita Lakes. Wilkerson said it would be beneficial to spread the center's buildings out, as well as the parking units, because of the rugged terrain and to preserve the natural beauty of the site.
Plans for the center will include an amphitheater, hall of fame, two performance halls and artist studios.
The committee also discussed forming the criteria membership in the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Hall of Fame. Ott recommended that the inductees be native Mississippians.