Faith Hill to serve as arts center's honorary chair

By Staff
ANNOUNCEMENT U.S. Rep. Charles "Chip" Pickering, left, speaks Tuesday with Charlotte Tabereaux, executive director of the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center, and actress and Lauderdale County native Sela Ward after the announcement of the center's architectural design team. Martinez &Johnson Architecture, in association with Pryor &Morrow Architects, will spend six months designing the $50 million center in Meridian. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star.
By Erin Hilsabeck / staff writer
July 28, 2004
The executive director of the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center was surprised Tuesday when she learned the "big news" Faith Hill will be the center's new honorary chairman.
Hill, a singer born in Star, will replace Lauderdale County native and Emmy Award-winning actress Sela Ward, who found it tough to juggle several philanthropic projects with her career. Ward recruited Hill for the job.
The announcement of Hill preceded the official introduction of the center's architectural design team.
Ward will remain on the center's honorary committee, whose members are spokesmen for the project. Ward attended the news conference; Hill did not.
Tabereaux also announced that Martinez &Johnson Architecture of Washington, D.C., in association with Pryor &Morrow Architects Design Team in Columbus, will be in charge of the master plan for the arts and entertainment center.
The more than $50 million center is expected to be built on a 175-acre site in the Bonita Lakes area of Meridian. Plans call for a concert hall, an outdoor amphitheater and a hall of fame.
Martinez said he and his team could have master plans completed by the end of the year, at which time more extensive fund-raising will begin.
Several elected officials attended the news conference, including Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith and U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering. Also attending were Paul Ott, the center's president, and Leland Speed, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority.
Ward said she values the importance of the arts.

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