Downtown Jackson News

RFP for Master Developer

The City of Jackson has issued the request for proposal of a master developer for the property across from the Jackson Convention Complex. If you’re a developer interested in the potential of Downtown Jackson, follow this link, Responses are due November 5, 2018.

Ben Allen Announces Retirement

Ben Allen announces retirement from Downtown Jackson Partners

Under Allen’s leadership, Downtown experiences a nearly $1 billion renaissance

JACKSON, Miss. (June 21,  2018) – After more than a decade at the helm of Downtown Jackson Partners (DJP), Ben Allen has announced his retirement, effective September 30, 2018, leaving behind a record of unparalleled growth and development in Mississippi’s largest central business and residential district.

“Ben’s commitment to the success of Downtown Jackson cannot be overstated,” said  Steve Davis, chairman of the DJP board of directors. “His leadership has resulted in tens of millions of dollars in new projects that have transformed Downtown into a place that has attracted many new businesses and hundreds of new residents.”

Allen, who began his service to Jackson as a city councilmember for 10 years, took the reins of DJP in 2007.

“I am so proud to have had the opportunity to be part of an organization that has been instrumental in transforming Downtown into a premier district for business, government and residential living,” said Allen. “The real credit goes to all those dedicated men and women who continue to see the potential of Mississippi’s largest, most progressive Downtown area.”

Since Allen became president of DJP, Downtown has seen many new public and private developments totaling nearly $1 billion.

Private developments include:

  • Tombigbee Lofts                                                           $1.5 million
  • Pinnacle at Jackson Place                                            $48.5 million
  • King Edward Hilton Garden Inn                                      $89 million
  • 200 North Congress Renovation                                     $3 million
  • Langston Building                                                         $2.2 million
  • Standard Life Flats                                                       $35 million
  • 100 West Capitol mixed use                                         $1.7 million
  • Dickey’s Building mixed use                                         (not known)
  • Eley Guild Hardy 329 East Capitol building                    $1.7 million
  • Foundry Lofts                                                              $1.5 million
  • Iron Horse Grill                                                            $6 million
  • Westin Hotel                                                               $65 million
  • Capitol Art Lofts                                                          $10.7 million

Public projects include:

  • Art Garden at the Mississippi Museum of Art                 $5 million
  • Walter Sillers Building renovation                                  $28 million
  • Mississippi Supreme Court                                          $42.7 million
  • MDEQ office renovation                                               $6 million
  • Jackson Convention Complex                                      $65 million
  • Old Capitol Museum                                                   $16 million
  • United States Federal Building                                    $122 million
  • Thalia Mara Hall restoration                                        $5.5 million
  • McCoy Federal Building renovation                             $86.7 million
  • Capitol Street Renaissance                                        $9.2 million
  • JSU West Capitol Street renovation                            $2 million
  • Museum of Mississippi History                                   $65 million
  • Mississippi Civil Rights Museum                                $74 million

Projects currently under construction, include:

  • Heritage Building mixed use Capitol Street (4 apartments and offices)
  • 400 block of East Capitol mixed use
  • Lamar Life Building Capitol Street mixed use (24 apartments)
  • Landmark Center mixed use (grocery store, offices and 200 apartments) Capitol Street
  • Edison Walthall apartments (128) and mixed use
  • Faulkner Building Events Center Capitol Street

Allen, who began his service to Jackson as a city councilmember for 10 years, took the reins of DJP in 2007. Under his leadership, Allen:

  • Established the “Block by Block Downtown Safety Ambassador Program”.
  • Established “Downtown Courtesy Hotline” for all downtown visitors’ and residents’ convenience.
  • Helped birth the Jackson Free Press “Boom Jackson” magazine, and the “Jackson” edition of “Portico” magazine.
  • Founded and served as the chair of the community involvement organization “Team JXN”.
  • Procured $9.8MM in federal and state funding for the “Capitol Street Renaissance” project, turning “Mississippi’s Main Street” one-way street into two way.
  • Led the restoration of historic Smith Park.
  • Instituted public art “Welcome to Jackson” murals and others

The DJP Board of Directors has unanimously approved Associate Director John Gomez, a 13 year employee, as Interim President of DJP beginning October 1, 2018.

Mississippi’s Bicentennial Celebration Saturday December 9th

President Donald Trump will be attending the opening ceremonies of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Museum of Mississippi History that begin at 11am on Saturday. State Street, High Street, Jefferson Street and Tombigbee Street will be closed to vehicle traffic as well as the streets inside the area during the President's visit. I-55 will be closed prior to the President's arrival and when he departs. Please plan accordingly.

​For an updated list of events for the grand opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Museum of Mississippi History, visit here.

Original Release:

Thousands of people from across the state and nation will travel to Jackson to celebrate Mississippi’s bicentennial at the grand opening of the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Saturday, December 9. A program featuring live music and remarks by project partners, elected officials, and local and national civil rights figures will begin at 11 a.m. on the Entergy Plaza, with a ribbon-cutting and tours of the museums to follow. Speakers include Governor Phil Bryant, civil rights leader and Georgia Congressman John Lewis, former governors Haley Barbour and William Winter, and former NAACP chair Myrlie Evers.

“We are so excited that the day is nearly here when we can share these world-class museums with the public,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “All Mississippians can be proud of these two museums, and their statewide impact—both educational and economic—will be immediate and lasting.”

All tickets for opening weekend entry to the museums have been claimed, with the first going to supporters who purchased charter memberships during the summer. “To ensure as many people as possible could experience the museums at the grand opening, we made available free tickets with admission at set times throughout Saturday and Sunday,” said Blount. “Within two days, all six thousand tickets were gone.”

Tickets are not needed to attend the opening day program. Free parking will be available at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds, and seating will begin at 10 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Mississippi Girlchoir and Utica Jubilee Singers will kick off the opening ceremony at 11 a.m., and the Madison Central High School Brass Quintet will perform an original fanfare composed by the award-winning James Sclater for the state’s bicentennial. Following remarks from program participants, a Bicentennial Choir featuring more than one hundred members of church and school choirs under the direction of Cynthia Goodloe Palmer will perform “This Little Light of Mine.”

Live music performances highlighting Mississippi artists will continue throughout the afternoon, beginning at 1 p.m. with Heart Society featuring Teneia Sanders-Eichelberger and Ben Eichelberger. At 2:30 p.m., Grammy-nominated gospel singer Doug Williams will take the stage, followed at 4 p.m. by Greenville native Steve Azar and the Kings Men—a group of all-star musicians who played with B.B. King, Elvis Presley, and other musical “kings.”

North Street will be closed to vehicles, and food trucks will be in place throughout the day. Other museums and historic sites in downtown Jackson will be celebrating the bicentennial during the museums’ grand opening, and free transportation will be available throughout the day to and from those sites.

The Mississippi Museum of Art will premiere its bicentennial exhibition “Picturing Mississippi, 1817–2017; Land of Plenty, Pain, and Promise,” a landmark investigation of Mississippi’s identity through art. The exhibition will feature masterpieces by artists seldom exhibited in the state, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Thomas Hart Benton, and Andy Warhol—as well as works by native Mississippians. Admission to the museum is free, and there will be guided tours of the exhibition at 10:30 a.m. and 1 and 3:30 p.m.

Capitol Street from Lamar to State will close to vehicles from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the “Mississippi Mile”—the largest pop-up, open air gallery in the U.S. Artists and craftspeople will have booths up and down the street with goods for sale, and some two hundred large-scale images will be showcased in the windows of storefronts from State Street to Mill Street. These photographs were produced earlier this year in Mississippi communities as part of Blue Magnolia Films’ “Celebrating Storytellers” project. Please view the map for the scheduled activities and restaurants that will be open.

Jackson’s oldest building, the Old Capitol Museum, will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The circa-1841 Mississippi Governor’s Mansion will be open from 1 to 3 p.m. for self-guided tours, and the Mississippi State Capitol will be open for tours from 1 to 5 p.m. Smith-Robertson Museum and Cultural Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. free of charge.

The Mississippi Legislature provided $90 million for the museums. Another $19 million has been raised through private donations for exhibits and endowments. The two museums share a lobby, auditorium, classrooms, collection storage, and exhibit workshop for a facility that covers a total of 200,000 square feet—the equivalent of three and a half football fields.

Visitors to the Museum of Mississippi History will learn the story of Mississippi over the past 15,000 years. Eight galleries featuring interactive exhibits cover every aspect of the state’s history through more than 1,600 artifacts that range from 3,500-year-old Native American soapstone bowls to Civil War battle flags to a stage outfit worn by native son Ike Turner.

The eight galleries at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum focus on the years 1945–1976, when Mississippi was ground zero for the national Civil Rights Movement. The galleries encircle a central space called “This Little Light of Mine.” There, a dramatic sculpture glows brighter and the music of the Movement grows louder as visitors gather.

After opening weekend, the museums will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Regular admission costs will be $8 for either museum or $12 for a ticket to both museums, with discounts for students, senior citizens, and groups.

Annual memberships begin at $45 for individuals and include year-long free admission in both museums and a 10% discount in the Mississippi Museum Store. Family memberships cover two named family-members plus three additional passes for year-long free admission into the museums along with a 10% Mississippi Museum Store discount. For more information visit


City of Jackson Holiday Parade This Saturday

A Jackson Hometown Holiday…Past, Present & Future Holiday Parade will be held on Saturday, December 2nd, at noon in Downtown Jackson. Please join us in welcoming in the holiday season. The parade will be filled with floats, marching bands, drill teams and an appearance from Santa and Mrs. Claus!

For more information, please contact Keyshia Sanders at 601-960-1084.



Smith Park Restoration

Restoration begins on Jackson’s historic Smith Park

Public-private partnership will turn park into first-class green space

JACKSON, Miss. (Nov. 13, 2017) – The second phase of a long anticipated multi-million-dollar restoration of one of America’s oldest city parks will begin this week, Jackson city officials and downtown leaders announced today.

Phase II of the Smith Park restoration calls for the removal of dilapidated concrete waterways, the elimination of unsightly berms and the re-sodding of grass to create a more open and level green space for visitors to use in a safe and inviting environment.

At a cost of $100,000, funding for this portion of the overall $2.5 million restoration is made possible by Downtown Jackson Partners (DJP) in partnership and with the cooperation of the City of Jackson. Friends of Smith Park, a volunteer group committed to the park’s restoration, is also spearheading the effort. Plans for the project were reviewed and approved by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, given its designation as a Mississippi historic landmark.

“The City of Jackson is excited to partner with Downtown Jackson Partners in the restoration of Smith Park,” said Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba. “This project is symbolic of the renaissance occurring in Downtown Jackson. When completed, Smith Park will be a world-class green space for all of Jackson and the state to enjoy.”
Phase II will take approximately two months to complete, during which time the park will be closed to the public for safety reasons. During the first phase last year, dead and dying trees were cleared from the park as well as those deemed unsustainable for long-term growth in a city park.

Through a series of public meetings and gatherings in 2013 and 2014, input was collected from property owners, businesses, residents and visitors on ways to best improve the landmark. From those meetings, Friends of Smith Park developed a plan and budget to transform the park into a top venue for entertainment and a place to relax amid the bustle of the city’s central business district.

“The restoration of Smith Park reflects the commitment of business owners and residents to transform downtown Jackson into the crown jewel of Mississippi’s capital city,” said John Ditto, who chairs Friends of Smith Park.

The third phase of the restoration calls for a re-designed open space with landscaped walkways, a modern stage to accommodate concerts and other entertainment, and a water pad and playground for children. Situated across the street from the Governor’s Mansion and bounded by Amite, Congress, West and Yazoo streets, Smith Park is one of the oldest continuously used city parks in America. It is the only surviving undeveloped square from the original 1822 plan for Mississippi’s then new capital.

“Smith Park is testament to what can happen when a city and its residents come together during a period of financial hardship to improve the quality of life for the entire state,” said Ben Allen, president of Downtown Jackson Partners.

Named for James Smith Jr., a colorful 19th century Scottish merchant and Jackson transplant who donated funds to improve the park in 1884, the green space is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

“Mississippi gave this land to the City of Jackson in 1838 for the express purpose of being enjoyed as a park, and this project will ensure that those plans remain for future generations,” said Michael Rejebian, president of Jackson’s Downtown Neighborhood Association.

Baptist Memorial Health Care Ribbon Cutting

Baptist Memorial Health Care celebrates opening of downtown regional business office

JACKSON, Miss., Nov. 6, 2017 -Baptist Memorial Health Care celebrated the opening of its new regional business office today with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new regional business office will centralize physician billing, scheduling and similar services for nine of Baptist Memorial's 10 Mississippi hospitals. It occupies 41,000 square feet of space on three floors in the building, which is owned by a subsidiary of Hertz Investment Group. The office will employ 250 people.

"This new office allows us to combine our resources, which strengthens operational and service excellence, drives efficiencies and enhances the patient experience, which is our top priority," said Chris Anderson, vice president of Mississippi operations for Baptist Memorial Health Care. "Our hospitals care for some of the sickest and most under-served communities in the country, and we must do everything we can to ensure we remain part of these communities for years to come."

On May 1, 2017, Mississippi Baptist Health Systems signed a shared mission agreement with Baptist Memorial, which is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. Baptist Memorial has 21 affiliate hospitals in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi. As a result of the shared mission agreement, Baptist Memorial became Mississippi's fourth largest employer and the largest health care system in the state.

Regional business office job opportunities are available. To learn more or to apply, please visit and click on "Baptist Jackson Opportunities."


One of the nation's largest not-for-profit health care systems, Baptist Memorial Health Care offers a full continuum of care to communities throughout the Mid-South. The Baptist system, which consistently ranks among the top integrated health care networks in the nation, comprises 21 affiliate hospitals in West Tennessee, Mississippi and East Arkansas; more than 4,500 affiliated physicians; Baptist Medical Group, a multispecialty physician group with more than 600 providers; home, hospice and psychiatric care; minor medical centers and clinics; a network of surgery, rehabilitation and other outpatient centers; and an education system highlighted by the Baptist College of Health Sciences. The Baptist system employs more than 18,000 people, and in fiscal year 2015, contributed $313 million in community benefit to areas it serves. According to the Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Memphis, Baptist Memorial Health Care's annual economic impact is estimated at more than $2.6 billion. For more information, please visit

Governor Bryant and MDAH Announce Opening Day and Bicentennial Celebration

For Immediate Release
October 18, 2017
Stephenie Morrisey

Governor Bryant and MDAH Announce
Opening Day and Bicentennial Celebration

Governor Phil Bryant and MDAH director Katie Blount announced the schedule for the opening celebration for the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Saturday, December 9, at 11 a.m.

“I am delighted that our celebration of Mississippi's Bicentennial will conclude with a day of historic significance,” said Governor Phil Bryant. “Opening on December 9, the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will be world-class facilities attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to our state. Join us for a day of family festivities, food, and Mississippi music.”

The celebration will begin at 11 a.m. with an opening ceremony in front of the two museums on Entergy Plaza. The ribbon cutting will follow, and ticketed entry to the museums will begin. Visit now to reserve free timed tickets. Live music featuring Doug Williams of the Williams Brothers, Heart Society featuring Teneia and Ben, Nissan Choir, Madison Central High School Brass Quintet, and the Bicentennial Choir will perform on the plaza throughout the day. Steve Azar and the Kingsmen will close out the celebration. Food trucks will be on site throughout the day.

“Admission to the museums is free Saturday and Sunday, but people will need to go online to reserve timed tickets,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “We anticipate a very large crowd on opening weekend, and we want to get as many people into the museums as possible.”

The Museum of Mississippi History will explore the entire sweep of the state’s history, from earliest times to the present. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will focus on the period 1945 to 1976 and tell the story of the struggle for equal rights and fair treatment under the law.

The Mississippi Legislature provided $90 million to build the two museums. Donors gave an additional $18 million for exhibits and endowments. Construction began in 2013, after more than seven hundred people—including civil rights leaders, school children and four Mississippi governors—gathered for groundbreaking. Beginning December 12, regular museum hours will be Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday, 1–5 p.m. General admission prices will be $8 per museum and $12 for both museums. Learn more about the museums at and

Baptist Memorial to Move Downtown

September 7, 2017 – The state's largest nonprofit health care system is opening a business office in downtown Jackson that will employ 250 people. 

Baptist Memorial Health Care announced Thursday plans to establish a regional business office in the Regions Plaza building in downtown Jackson.

Baptist will lease four floors at 210 E. Capitol St. occupying a total of 41,000 square feet of space that will house 250 employees.

Click here to read more.

Downtown Fitness to Open August 1st

Downtown Fitness, Powered by Baptist Health Systems, to Open August 1 in Jackson

July 19, 2017 – Jackson, Miss.  - On August 1, 2017, Downtown Fitness, powered by Baptist Health Systems, will open to provide fitness, health and wellness programs to downtown Jackson. The facility will be where the University Wellness Center Downtown was previously located at 100 East Capitol Street  in Suite 107 in Jackson, Miss. 

Chris Baker, who formerly managed the University Wellness Center, has been named the executive director of Downtown Fitness. Baker has more than 20 years of experience in the fitness facility industry and holds numerous fitness certifications.

“I’m excited to be a part of this endeavor in the heart of downtown Jackson,” Baker said. “It is important to not ever lose touch with the reason our members are there and what they need from their facility. I believe staying involved with our members’ workouts helps me do that.”

With approximately 17,000 square feet of space, Downtown Fitness – Powered by Baptist Health Systems, will boast the latest in exercise equipment, group exercise classes, and executive-style locker rooms. The center will offer a total body toning boot camp, indoor cycling, low-impact/high-output cardio machines complete with integrated TVs, total body training selectorized strength machines, and a comprehensive free-weight training area. There will also be a Baptist Medical Clinic for facility members and corporate health clients.

“We are excited to continue our commitment of providing quality health care to the city of Jackson,” said Baptist Executive Director of Mississippi Marketing and Business Development Mike Stevens. “Along with Baptist’s health care expertise, Chris has the knowledge, enthusiasm and energy needed to help coach downtown businesses and their employees with a healthy lifestyle journey.”

Downtown Fitness is offering pre-opening membership specials at its location from 11:00AM – 1:00PM with extended hours coming the week of July 24th. For more information visit or call 601-941-1841.

On May 1, 2017, Mississippi Baptist Health Systems signed a shared mission agreement with Baptist Memorial Health Care, which is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. Baptist Memorial is the largest not-for-profit health care provider in the Mid-South with hospitals in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi. As a result of the shared mission agreement, Baptist Memorial became Mississippi’s fourth largest employer and the largest health care system in the state. Baptist Memorial hospitals offer patients in rural and urban areas access to the region’s largest network of doctors and specialists, as well as access to Epic―one of the country’s most sophisticated electronic health record systems. For more information, please visit or contact the Baptist Health Line at 1-800-948-6262 or 601-948-6262.

Roach Street Being Repaved

Roach Street, between Capitol and Pearl, will be repaved tomorrow, Thursday, February 23rd. Access will be limited to local traffic only, and on-street parking will be prohibited.

This project is part of the Operation Orange Cone Neighborhood Streets project funded by the 1 percent sales tax.

Lamar Street Closed for Repavement

Lamar Street between Amite Street and Griffith Street will be closed to through traffic starting Monday (President’s Day) to mill and overlay this block of Lamar Street as part of the Operation Orange Cone Neighborhood Streets Program funded through the 1% Sales Tax.  Through traffic will need to use an alternate route to bypass the work zone while work is underway.

The BID Reauthorized at 95%

For Immediate Release

Downtown Jackson Business Improvement District Reauthorized

District reauthorized by more than 95% of property owners

JACKSON, Miss. (Jan. 23, 2017) – The Board of Directors and Advisory Council of Downtown Jackson Partners (DJP) proudly announce reauthorization of the Downtown Jackson Business Improvement District (BID), by more than 95% of the voting property owners. 
This our fifth term, as managers of the Downtown Jackson BID, marks our 21st year of operation. Founded in 1996, as the first business improvement district in Mississippi, Jackson joined the ranks of hundreds of other cities across the nation, in establishing districts that enhance city services and revitalize business. By voting for the BID, Downtown Jackson property owners have determined to pay a yearly assessment that supports DJP efforts in keeping Downtown Jackson clean, safe and developing.
“We are very grateful for the overwhelming vote of confidence and support from the property owners and members of the Downtown Jackson Business Improvement District. We look forward to continued growth and many more developments, so that all of our state will be proud of ‘Mississippi’s Downtown’” said Steve Davis, Chairman of the DJP Board of Directors. 


Downtown Jackson Partners

Capitol Art Lofts Restoration Has Begun

Margaret Taylor Tuskey
Peter Mayer Public Relations

Event commemorates the advancement of restoration and transformation of historic buildings

JACKSON, MS – January 23,2017 – Today, HRI Properties celebrated the start of the restoration on the historic buildings that will be transformed into the Capitol Art Lofts, an affordable residential project with a focus on the creative economy. HRI Properties President and CEO Tom Leonhard was joined by
Governor Phil Bryant, Senator David Blount, Jackson City Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon, Mississippi Housing Corporation Executive Director Scott Spivey and William Callihan, Vice President of Chase Bank to commemorate the Significant redevelopment for Jackson's historic downtown.

The advancement of this project ensures the adaptive reuse of historic buildings in downtown Jackson, a trend important to the current revitalization efforts in the area. HRI Properties also developed the King
Edward Hotel and the Standard Life Building, which have brought residents, visitors, amenities and economic resurgence to the once-abandoned downtown district.

Governor Bryant said, "I'm excited to see this worthwhile project get underway. These architecturally significant buildings will have new life breathed into them, thanks to the power of historic preservation and utilization of the Mississippi State Historic Tax Credit and the Mississippi Home Corporation's allocation of Low-Income Housing Credits. I cannot wait to see the finished product and for current and future citizens of Jackson to have a new, affordable residential option downtown."

"We are thrilled to officially break ground on the Capitol Art Lofts. This is a project that has been in progress for quite some time and we are extremely appreciative of the State of Mississippi for continuing its support of HRI's vision for this neighborhood. We are excited to continue the construction progress and to unveil a beautiful new block of West Capitol Street later this year," said Leonhard.

"The construction of the Capitol Art Lofts is a huge advancement for downtown Jackson. This project clearly serves the multiple public goals of affordable housing creation, blight elimination, historic preservation, and economic development through stimulating the creative economy. I could not be
more proud to see this project take flight and to be here today to take part in the official groundbreaking," said Councilwoman Barrett-Simon.

First proposed in 2012 following HRI's successful downtown Jackson renovations of the King Edward Hotel in 2009 and the Standard Life Building in 2010, the Capitol Art Lofts project is composed of two groupings of architecturally significant commercial build ings constructed between 1885 and 1929 in the 200 block of West Capitol Street. Much like HRI's comparable recent developments in New Orleans, the Bywater Art Lofts and the Blue Plate Artist Lofts, the properties will be converted into 31 affordable residential units that will provide leasing preferences for artists and medical industry workers. Amenities include community areas, art gallery/studio spaces, a business center and fitness center.

About HRI Properties
HRI Properties (HRI) is a diversified, national real estate company engaged in the ownership, development and management of upscale branded and independent hotels, luxury apartments and mixed-use properties in the top 40 urban markets.

Founded in New Orleans in 1982 by Edward B. Boettner (1933-2000) and Pres Kabacoff, HRI is dedicated to the pursuit of rebuilding neighborhoods and recreating entire communities. Through its subsidiaries, HRI has completed 77 large-scale projects for a total funding value of over $2.5 billion which include 5,226 apartment units, 4,725 hotel rooms, and more than 1.4 million square feet of office and retail space. HRI is a full-service real estate development company and a national leader in the adaptive reuse of historic structures. HRI's mission is – Revitalizing Cities by Creating Diverse, Vibrant and Sustainable Communities. For more information, please visit our website at

Renovations begin on Jackson’s historic Smith Park

$2.5 million public-private partnership part of Downtown revitalization

JACKSON, Miss. (Nov. 7, 2016) – The first phase of a $2.5 million renovation of one of the oldest city parks in America began this month with the carefully planned tree-scaping of Downtown’s Smith Park.

On the advice and in conjunction with professional landscape architects, dead and dying trees were cleared from the park as well as those deemed unsustainable for long-term growth in a city park. The result is a more open and inviting greenspace for downtown visitors, business people and residents.

This first phase of the Smith Park renovation is part of a public-private partnership between the city of Jackson, Downtown Jackson Partners (which funded the tree management project) and Friends of Smith Park, a community group committed to the park’s revitalization.

“The goal of the Smith Park renovation is to create a world-class public space that will help spur development in downtown Jackson while enhancing the Capitol Complex,” said John Ditto, who chairs Friends of Smith Park.

Through a series of public meetings and gatherings in 2013 and 2014, input was collected from property owners, businesses, residents and visitors on ways to best improve this historic landmark. From those meetings, Friends of Smith Park developed a plan and budget to transform the park into a venue for entertainment and a place to relax amid the bustle of the city’s central business district. The plan calls for a newly designed open greenspace with landscaped walkways, a modern stage to accommodate concerts and other entertainment, and a water pad and playground for children.

“This history of Smith Park is reason alone to ensure its success,” said Michael Rejebian, president of Jackson’s Downtown Neighborhood Association. “Ever since the state of Mississippi donated this land to the city in 1838, it has served as a centerpiece of our capital city.”

Situated across the street from the Governor’s Mansion and bounded by Amite, Congress, West and Yazoo streets, Smith Park is one of the oldest continuously used city parks in America. It is the only surviving undeveloped square from the original 1822 plan for Mississippi’s then new capital.

Named for James Smith Jr., a colorful 19th century Scottish merchant and Jackson transplant who donated funds for the park in 1884, the greenspace is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

“Smith Park sits at the epicenter of our state, and so it’s a place that belongs to all Mississippians,” said Ben Allen, president of Downtown Jackson Partners. “We invite everyone who has an interest in the success of our capital city to be part of this important project.”


Downtown Jackson Partners

Copy of Smith Park Proposal 

Learn more about the Smith Park project at

Traffic Advisory 8/24/16 - UPDATE


The event at the Jackson Convention Complex will take place after the scheduled 7pm event at the Mississippi Coliseum.

Original Story:

Presidental candidate Donald Trump will be visiting Downtown Jackson today. He is scheduled to attend two events, one at the Jackson Convention Complex and another at the Mississippi Coliseum. The event at the JCC will take place in the afternoon, and the rally at the Coliseum starts at 7pm with doors opening at 4pm.
Roads will be closed as he travels to the JCC and will reopen as the motorcade passes through. Pascagoula Street will be closed from Gallatin to Lamar and Court Street will be closed from Mill to West while he is attending the event at the JCC. Traffic will be redirected to Capitol and South Street.
Roads will be temporarily closed when the motorcade travels from the JCC to the Coliseum.
During the rally at the Coliseum, all roads around the fairgrounds are scheduled to remain open, but Mississippi, Jefferson and High Street will close for a short time at some point.
After the rally, the interstate will be closed temporarily as the motorcade leaves Downtown.

Please plan accordingly to minimize any disruption to your daily activities.

SUNY Visits Jackson

Last week, the "State University of New York" (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry chose Jackson, Mississippi over a host of other cities, to conduct a 4 day charrette, analyzing our city and her future. A copy of the quality of work they do is the study on Chancellorsville, Virginia.

From the Sunday reception at Sal and Mookie's,  to the closing session on Wednesday, they broke up into groups and met with a great many people, organizations, businesses, educational institutions, and associations. They headquartered at the downtown offices of Canizaro Cawthon Davis, where this picture was taken.

Their leader, Dr. Margaret Bryant, is a Memphis native, and a graduate of Mississippi State University.  The nine students, none of whom had ever been to Mississippi, were from China, Los Angeles and the New York area. They fell in love with our state, our city and her prospects for the future.

After a few weeks of follow up by them for further information, they will be sending us their report. This was all done by SUNY at no cost.

We are very excited about their final report, and will post it as soon as available.

Smith Park Shines Bright


After watching the City of Jackson Christmas Parade this Saturday, December 12th, from 1pm-3pm, head over to Smith Park for Smith Park Shines Bright. Smith Park Shines Bright will be held from 3pm-8pm. The Kids Carnival will take place from 3pm-5pm with jumpers and other children's activities.  Following the Kids Carnival, Movies in the Park will start at dusk. Watch the Polar Express surrounded by the glowing lights of Smith Park.

​The December 19th actvities will not take place. Have a Merry Christmas!

Jackson State University Downtown Campus

Jackson State University held an open house for their Downtown campus located at 101 W. Capitol Street on Thursday, September 3rd. The JSU Downtown Campus houses the Department of Alumni and Constituency Relations/Annual Giving, the Institute of Government, the Department of Public Policy and Administration, the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, the Mississippi Urban Research Center and the Mississippi Conference of Black Mayors.

Please welcome the professors, administrators and students of Jackson State University to Downtown Jackson.

Westin Groundbreaking

Congratulations Are In Order

Congratulations to the Downtown individuals, organizations, events and attractions recognized as a Hometown Hero & SUMMITT Winner by the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

Capitol Street Two-Way Project

The City of Jackson will open Capitol Street and parts of four other downtown streets to two-way traffic on Saturday, April 18th. Construction crews are installing the new traffic striping and signage. Multiple message boards have been posted downtown informing motorists of this change. 

The streets that will change from one-way to two-way are the following: 

  • Capitol Street from Gallatin Street to State Street
  • ​Roach Street from Pearl Street to Capitol Street 
  • Lamar Street from Pearl Street to Capitol Street 
  • West Street from Pearl Street to Amite Street 
  • Congress Street from Pearl Street to Amite Street 

Motorists and pedestrians will need to be cautious as traffic patterns change. 

Motorists should: 

  • Pay close attention to all one-way and two-way signage. 
  • Drive cautiously on all streets. 
  • Yield to motorists already in the roundabout. 
  • Yield to pedestrians in all signalized and roundabout crosswalks. 
  • Do not stop in traffic or in a roundabout to load or unload passengers. 
  • Adhere to all bicycle specific signage. Cyclists can use the full travel lane where posted and not just the right side of the travel lane. 

Pedestrians should: 

  • Cross streets only at marked crosswalks. 
  • Look both ways before crossing all streets, especially those that are changing from one-way to two-way. 

Although these streets will be open to two-way traffic, there is still some minor work remaining. Motorists should drive cautiously around construction crews. 

Between now and April 18th, crews will be striping these streets for two-way traffic. It is imperative that motorists stay out of closed work zone areas until April 18th. Motorists that park in closed work zones are subject to being towed. 

Shops at Jackson Place

The Shops at Jackson Place is a mix of businesses that have been in Downtown Jackson for many years as well as ones that have recently called Downtown home.

Office Environments has been Downtown Jackson’s office supply company since 1983. Besides offering daily office supplies, Office Environments offers system furniture and conference tables, and the business has a space planner on staff to design your office space.

Office Environments is proud to provide service to not just Downtown but to the whole state. You can access their website for orders or contact their in house customer service for questions on their specials such as a 10 ream case of copy paper for $29.99 or their half price closeout sale on all their showroom furniture.

Chuck Campbell’s Jewelers has been doing business in Downtown Jackson for over 30 years. This longtime business focuses on jewelry repair services and has worked tirelessly to provide a high level of service to their customers.

Kirkland Hair Studio has been a family owned Downtown business for 45 years. The full service salon offers a range of services including styling, color services, manicures and pedicures. Kirkland Hair features a product line called IT&LY for your hair care needs. The salon also features services for clients with hair loss issues and has helped a number of people who have gone through chemotherapy.

Being one of the longest owned small businesses in Downtown, the salon’s clientele has included legislators, governors, mayors and other public officials.

Courthouse Racquet and Fitness features 10,000 square feet workout space. The gym includes cardio rooms, free weights and group classes ranging from yoga to cycling.

Wasabi Sushi and Bar offers a delicious array of sushi and specialty dishes. Wasabi is now serving hibachi and has a two-for-one house wine special during Happy Hour, 5pm-7pm Monday – Friday.

An exciting endeavor that the owner of Wasabi Sushi and Bar is producing is Jackson first Chinese Spring Festival. The festival will be held on February 28th in Downtown Jackson. The day-long festival will include a parade, cultural and gourmet fair, a Chinese New Year Gala at Thalia Mara Hall and a fireworks show.

For more information on the Shops and Jackson Place, visit them at 100 E. Capitol Street.


Traffic Alert for Capitol Street

The intersection of Capitol Street and West Street is now a fully functioning roundabout. During construction, the intersection has been controlled by the existing traffic signal. On Thursday the traffic signal will be turned off and removed to allow the contractor to continue construction on the north side of the intersection. The change from a traffic signal to a roundabout will improve traffic flow of Capitol Street once two-way conversion is completed. Driving in a roundabout can be best summarized with two rules: 
• Motorists entering the roundabout must yield to motorists already in the roundabout circle.
• Motorists entering and existing the roundabout must yield to pedestrians in the brick crosswalks on each side of the roundabout.

Construction is still underway on the roundabout center island and along the north side of Capitol Street on both sides of West Street. Due to the close proximity of construction and construction workers to both sides of the roundabout, trucks on Capitol Street eastbound will be temporarily prohibited from making a left turn onto West Street northbound. Trucks should use an alternate route while the left turn is prohibited. Once construction is complete, trucks will be allowed to make the left turn.

All motorists should drive with care in the work zone.

This is the last of three intersections on Capitol Street that will be converted from a traffic signal to a roundabout. The intersections of Capitol Street at Lamar Street and Capitol Street at West Street were changed from a traffic signal to a roundabout back in the summer.

Regions Plaza Mall

Regions Plaza Mall

The Regions Plaza Mall is a collection of stores and restaurants for Downtowners to visit throughout the workweek. 

In order to start your day on the right foot, Cups Espresso Cafe should be your first stop. Amanda Ivers and Tony Peacock are, as they like to say, co-captains of the ship. The co-captains greet regulars and visitors from conferences each morning. The Blonde, Capital Street, Turtles and Brunette are some of the popular drinks, but the two baristas can make any drink imaginable. Cups is known for supporting their neighbors and other local businesses and in that spirit, the coffee shop offers to display commission free art for local artists.

If you're looking for more sustenance, Chick-Fil-A and Subway are the way to go. Whether you're in the mood for a hot breakfast or an afternoon milkshake, Chick-Fil-A's friendly staff is ready to greet you with a smile. 

Subway serves breakfast, flatizzas, salads and their signatures subs. Don't forget to contact them about their catering specials. 

The Riverboat Shop is a great snack store/gift shop, perfect for those needing a last minute gift or tasty treat. Randy Jackson has owned the store for the last seven years, and he always tries to accommodate a request from a customer. The Riverboat Shop features drinks, greeting cards, picture frames and candy. Crosses and other specialty items such as cigars are also available. 

The team at Massage Revolution is excited about being in Downtown and immersing themselves in the Jackson community. The staff is known to bring their mobile massage unit to community events twice a month. When they are not volunteering in the community, Massage Revolution offers a Happy Hour chair message from 9:30am-11:30am. A ten minute massage is $5.00 or a 25 minute massage is $15.00. They also offer a product line of lotions, hand sanitizers, eco soaks and sugar scrubs called Weird Science. 

The Capitol Hair Shoppe is one of the newest retailer in the Regions Plaza Mall. The salon offers haircuts, hot lather shaves, highlights and color. Walk-ins are welcomed, or call for an appointment (601-944-0404).

Green Floral, Inc. is a florist located in the Regions Plaza Mall. Green Floral delivers flowers, plants, gift baskets and more.

If you need a good shine, Samís Shoe Shine is the place to go. Sam offers shoe shines until 4pm on weekdays.

Capitol Copy & Imaging provides superior document reproduction and electronic data management. Some of their services include document scanning, digital document reproduction, oversize trial exhibits and blue prints. 601-969-6500

Owner Tiffany Hathorn of Nails Envy was very excited opening a nail salon in Downtown Jackson. She felt the entrepreneurial spirit of the area and opened her business in December of 2013. The salon offers facials and chemical peels as well as other facial and wax services. Nail Envy provides manicures, pedicures and other VIP services. Call to make an appointment (601-398-7186).

If you work Downtown or are just passing through for the day, make sure you stop by Regions Plaza Mall at 210 E. Capitol Street.

Downtown on Display

The second annual “Downtown On Display” will take place in Downtown Jackson on Saturday, November 1, 2014.  Joining the excitement of the fourth annual Town Creek Arts Festival, Jackson's most historic neighborhood is opening its doors to give visitors a unique view of the buildings, churches and businesses that call Downtown Jackson home. From 2 – 5 PM, visitors will have the opportunity to take architectural tours, get access to magnificent views, eat, shop, and listen to live music.

“‘Downtown on Display’ is an invitation to everyone to come and see those unique and wonderful places of Downtown Jackson that are not normally made available to the public,” says Steve Davis, partner at Canizaro Cawthon Davis Architects and one of the creators of the event.

One of those unique places that will be open to the public is the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion. Usually closed on weekends, the Governor’s Mansion will open its doors for the event and provide free, guided and self-guided tours that will detail the history of the second-oldest continuously occupied governor’s residence in the United States.

The event, which is free and open to everyone, will also include tours of the Clarion-Ledger, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral, MSU School of Architecture 5th Year Program, the Electric 308 building (Coffee Roastery and Downtown Jackson Partners), Greater Jackson Arts Council and the International Museum of Muslim Cultures located in the Arts Center of Mississippi.

A new stop on the tour this year is the Hinds County Courthouse. This Art Deco building was constructed in 1930 with statues of Moses and Socrates towering on top of the building. Visitors will have the opportunity to view courtroom #1 as they tour the building.

Town Creek Arts Festival at the Mississippi Museum of Art will showcase artists, craftsmen, food from local vendors and live performances. Other Downtown offerings at Downtown spots include complimentary iced coffee and delicious Amish Bread at The Coffee Roastery, and a unique view of Downtown from the rooftop deck of Electric 308.

Jackson City Hall will be open to the public, and tours of the City Council Chambers will be provided. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the Freemasons as they tour the Masonic Lodge housed on the third floor of City Hall.  

“Any business in the Downtown area that wants to participate, can,” says Ben Allen, President of Downtown Jackson Partners. “People are signing up every day for this great event. If you’re a business and you’d like to show off your space, there’s still time to sign up.” 

Maps will be available at each location.  

You don’t want to miss this incredible opportunity to experience Downtown like never before! Come see “Downtown on Display.”

For the most up-to-date listing of Downtown open house spots visit

Capitol Street Renaissance Update

UPDATED 7-10-14

The Capitol Street project is progressing, and traffic is moving smoothly. Take advantage of the free on-street parking while construction continues.

Beginning this Saturday, July 12, the intersection of Capitol and Farish will change from a traffic signal to a roundabout. On Saturday the traffic signal will be turned off and removed. The change from a traffic signal to a roundabout will improve traffic flow of Capitol St once two-way conversion is completed.  

Driving in a roundabout can be best summarized with two rules:
Motorists entering the roundabout must yield to motorists already in the roundabout circle.

Motorists entering and exiting the roundabout must yield to pedestrians in the brick crosswalks on each side of the roundabout.

Message boards will be posted to notify motorists of the change. This is the first of three intersections on Capitol St that will be converted from a traffic signal to a roundabout within the next month. The intersections of Capitol St at Lamar St and Capitol St at West St will each be changed from a traffic signal to a roundabout within the next 4 to 6 weeks.

UPDATED 5-5-14

The Capitol Street Renaissance Project continues. Crews have transitioned from the southern side of Capitol Street to the northern side. Demolition is ongoing on the northern side of the street in order to rebuild the sidewalk and street.
Traffic has been moved to the southern side of the street for a couple of weeks and is moving nicely. The entrance and exit ramps at the Parking at Jackson Place along Capitol Street are being taken down. The new parking ramps on Farish Street have been in operation for a few weeks.
Roundabout are being installed at the intersections of Farish and Capitol, Lamar and Capitol and West and Capitol. Please continue to obey the traffic lights until they are taken down. Phase I of two-waying Capitol Street, which consists of rebuilding the street and infrastructure from Gallatin to Lamar and restriping Capitol Street from Lamar to State, will be completed in March of 2015.

UPDATED: 2-11-14

During November work halted on Capitol Street due to unstable soil. To rectify the problem, the project had to be revised and then approved by MDOT and the City Council. Work resumed in late December. Contractors are currently laying four layers of asphalt on the southern section of the street. Farish Street, between Capitol and Pearl, will be closed temporarily while new curbs and sidewalks are constructed. The parking lot and garage behind the 111 Capitol Building will still be accessible, but traffic leaving them will have to travel south to Pearl Street.

For your safety, please do not enter the construction site. Temporary sidewalks are being installed to allow pedestrians to cross the work areas. Also, please continue to support restaurants and businesses in the construction site such as the Elite Restaurant, Mayflower Café, Wasabi Sushi and Bar, King Edward Grill and My Cup Runneth Over.

Original Story 5-7-13

The Capitol Street Renaissance project is well underway. The project returns Capitol Street to two way traffic from Gallatin Street to State Street. The $10 million project calls for new lighting, signage, roundabouts, traffic signals, landscaping and sharrows (bike shared lanes) along the street.

The project began in November with the replacement water and sewer lines from Gallatin Street to Lamar Street. That phase, along with additional water and sewer upgrades to President Street, will be completed in June. The next two phases of the project will include the roadway project and the relocation of the garage ramps on the street with a projected starting date later this month and taking 18 or 20 months to complete.

The roadway project will include resurfacing the street and implementing new landscaping and sidewalk improvements as well as new lighting from Gallatin to Lamar. From Lamar to State Street, the road will be restriped. The intersections from Gallatin Street to State Street will have either new traffic signals or roundabouts.

The parking ramps for the Parking at Jackson Place garage on Capitol Street will be relocated to Farish Street and angled parking will be installed from Mill Street to the Parking at Jackson Place garage which is on the corner of Farish and Capitol Streets.

Please remember the businesses along Capitol Street will be open unless otherwise notified so please support them during the construction process.

IBC Moves on to Round III


Jackson, Miss., June 23, 2014 – With the conclusion of Round II of the 2014 USA International Ballet Competition, 31 of the world's finest young dancers will compete in the final round for gold, silver and bronze medals.

Round III competitors are:

Senior Males:
Aaron Smyth (Australia)
Andile Ndlovu (South Africa)
Byul Yun (Republic of Korea)
Ivan Duarte (Brazil)
Jeong Hansol (Republic of Korea)
Ji Seok Ha (Republic of Korea)
Kota Fujishima (Japan)
Mengjun Chen (Peoples Republic of China)
Rodrigo Almarales (Cuba)
Steven Loch (USA)

Senior Females:
Arianni Martin (Cuba)
Ga-Yeon Jung (Republic of Korea)
Irina Sapozhnikova (Russia)
Melissa Gelfin (USA)
Shiori Kase (Japan)
Sirui Liu (Peoples Republic of China)
Tamako Miyazaki (Japan)

Junior Males:
Aran Bell (USA)
Blake Kessler (USA)
Daniel Alejandro McCormick-Quintero (Mexico)
Gustavo Carvalho (Brazil)
Jinsol Eum (Republic of Korea)
Taiyu He (Peoples Republic of China)
Vue Shi (Peoples Republic of China)
Junior Females:

Gisele Bethea (USA)
Mackenzie Richter (USA)
Mizuho Nagata (Japan)
Paulina Guraieb Abella (Mexico)
Romina Contreras (Chile)
So Jung Lee (Republic of Korea)
Vasmin Lomondo (Brazil)

"The USA IBC gives dancers the opportunity to test their skills against the highest international standards," said Sue Lobrano, USA IBC executive director. "Advancing to the final stage of competition is an unforgettable experience as finalists realize the achievement of competing among the world's best dancers."

Round III is scheduled for June 24 – 27. 

"It's remarkable to see how the competition can be a stepping-stone for a dancer's career," said Lobrano. "Our audience is filled with artistic directors of dance companies interested in hiring new dancers, and for this reason, many leave with contracts. This is possibly the greatest prize of all."

USA IBC medalists and award winners will be announced June 27 and honored at the Awards Gala on June 28.

The USA IBC is a two-week, "olympic-style" competition where tomorrow's stars vie for gold, silver and bronze medals; cash awards; company contracts; and scholarships. The event is designated as the official international ballet competition in the United States by a Joint Resolution of Congress. Presented under the auspices ofthe International Dance Committee, International Theatre Institute of UNESCO, the USA IBC is held every four years in Jackson, Miss., in the tradition of sister competitions in Varna, Bulgaria, and Moscow,

For more information about USA IBC, visit or

Price of Progress Lunch Bunch

Join the Price of Progress Lunch Bunch at The King Edward Grill on Thursday, June 19th at 11:30am. 

Downrange Sporting Goods, LLC

If you’re looking for something to do on your lunch break, stop by Downrange Sporting Goods, LLC located on 227 E. Pearl Street. Downtown Jackson’s newest retailer is owned by Tim and Elizabeth Wolverton.

The Wolverton family has had a presence in Downtown Jackson for over 20 years since they started Micro Printing and Blueprint in 1991, and the family has bought and restored 14 commercial buildings in Downtown.

When Tim, an avid sportsman and gun collector, was presented with an opportunity to buy a gun store in the winter of 2013, he couldn’t pass it up. He also had a perfect location in mind next to Micro Printing, and Tim and his wife opened Downrange Sporting Goods on February 3, 2014.

When you ask Tim why he chose to locate Downtown, he points to the large Downtown working population and the growing residential base. Tim also chose the Downtown location for the value in the commercial market, the ability to work weekdays and having time to spend with his family on the weekends. Since business has exceeded expectations, the Wolvertons are exploring the possibility of opening a shooting range or expanding the showroom.

Downrange offers a selection of rifles, pistols, ammunition, seasonal hunting items, scopes, military surplus guns and ammos and many other items. The store carries a great deal of items from Mississippi based companies such as ammo from Precision Delta and Millennium Treestands. Downrange Sporting Goods employs an in house gunsmith for scope mountings, cleanings and other customizations.

Downrange Sporting Goods, LLC is open Monday – Thursday from 8am-5pm and Fridays through appointments. For more information, please call 769-233-8807 and visit

Welty Biennial


The inaugural Welty Biennial was announced today at the Mississippi Museum of Art (the Museum), marking one year before the event will be held from April 10 to July 3, 2015. The Welty Biennial is a twelve week fine arts festival celebrating Eudora Welty as an American visionary, author, photographer, and thinker.

With Classical Mississippi being the theme of the first Biennial, the festival celebrates Eudora Welty’s life in Mississippi and the way that Jackson and its strong classical Greek heritage impacted her. The columned buildings in her neighborhood, the stars in the sky, and even the ruins in a field fueled her imagination.

The Welty Biennial will be hosted by the Mississippi Museum of Art in downtown Jackson. Featured exhibitions inspired by Welty include a collection of double-exposure photographs by American surrealist Clarence John Laughlin. These photographs juxtapose the ruins of plantation houses with the everyday world, a double-exposure of past and present.

“We are thrilled to host this unprecedented celebration,” said Betsy Bradley, Director of the Mississippi Museum of Art. “Eudora Welty’s life and creative contributions are central to the state’s rich cultural history. There is no more appropriate way to recognize her lasting impact than through this extended community arts festival in her hometown.”

Jackson-born James Seawright’s Constellation sculptures take a modernist view of the constellations with sculptures made of bits and pieces of electronic detritus that whirr, flicker and revolve. A highlight of the Biennial will be a full-scale replica of the sculptures from the pediment of the Mississippi State Capitol Building.

“In the spirit of Miss Welty, those sculptures on the Capitol are something so often seen that it’s overlooked and now, are brought into view for pleasure and contemplation,” explains David Kaplan, curator of The Welty Biennial.

“There is a wealth of cultural and artistic talent that thrives in the great City of Jackson,” said Mayor Charles Tillman. “It’s vital that we continue to show our support for efforts like the Welty Biennial which combine entertainment, culture, and diversity into an event families across our community can enjoy.”

A full schedule of events will be announced that includes live performances of dance and theatre at the Museum and throughout Jackson, screenings of documentary footage about the Laughlin photographs and Seawright sculptures and a city-wide snapshot contest for Jackson schoolchildren.

Michael Raff, Deputy Director of Human and Cultural Services of the City of Jackson said, “We’re excited about The Welty Biennial and looking forward to seeing such a great event being held in the City of Jackson. We are also very impressed with the diversity of groups participating in the festival and the types of events being scheduled.”

The Welty Biennial is sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. The Welty Biennial partners include the City of Jackson, Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, Downtown Jackson Partners, Mississippi Development Authority– Tourism Division, Mississippi Museum of Art, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, New Stage Theatre, and the Historic New Orleans Collection.

“The Welty Biennial will celebrate the life of one of the greatest Mississippi writers and bring thousands of visitors to the City of Jackson,” said Ben Allen, President of Downtown Jackson Partners. “We hope the fine arts festival will expose attendees to Mississippi through the eyes of Eudora Welty.”

The Welty Biennial is curated by David Kaplan, curator and co-founder of the Tennessee Williams Festival in Provincetown, Massachusetts – now in its ninth year. Kaplan's Eudora Welty adaptations for the stage have toured the United States since 1979. Architecture and sculpture displays are overseen by Tracy Ward, the author of Historic Courthouse Architecture of Mississippi (2013) and co-founder of the Mississippi Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art.

For more information about the 2015 Welty Biennial, visit

The Mississippi Museum of Art’s mission is to “engage Mississippians in the visual arts.” The Museum is located at 380 South Lamar Street in Jackson. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, noon to 5 PM. The Museum is closed Monday. For more information about the Mississippi Museum of Art's exhibitions, programs, and special events, please call 601-960-1515 or 1-866-VIEW ART (843-9278), or visit

The Mississippi Museum of Art and its programs are sponsored in part by the city of Jackson and the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau. Support is also provided in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

The World of Ballet Comes Downtown


Individual tickets go on sale today for the 10th USA International Ballet Competition. The two week “olympic-style” competition will be held on June 14-29, 2014. Nearly 100 dancers from 20 countries will descend upon the city of Jackson and compete in downtown at Thalia Mara Hall. 

In 1982, the United States Congress passed a joint resolution designating Jackson as the official home of the International Ballet Competition. Today the USA IBC continues to provide a stage for word-class competition and for dazzling performances for enthusiasts of ballet. Dancers not only compete for prizes, but, more importantly, scholarships to and contracts with several of the pre-eminent ballet companies in the nation.

Not only will attendees experience three rounds of rigorous competition, they will have the opportunity to see performances by renowned dance companies such as Complexions Contemporary Dance and the Trey McIntyre Project. Other ancillary events include an exhibit by the official IBC artist Andrew Bucci, an evening film at The Art Garden at the Mississippi Museum of Art and a tutu fashion show, just to name a few.

The USA International Ballet Competition draws more than 40,000 visitors to the City of Jackson from across the nation and overseas. The USA IBC is an incredible event for ballet enthusiasts as well as those interested in the artistry and grace of dance. For more information on the 2014 USA International Ballet Competition, or to purchase tickets, please visit

Serving Downtown and Beyond

First Baptist Church Jackson has always focused on serving the community in its long 175 year history. The calling to serve was one of the reasons that drew new Senior Pastor Mark Smith to First Baptist. The ministries at First Baptist Church have played an important role in strengthening the faith of the congregation and allowing the members the opportunity to serve those outside of the church.

One of the more prominent ministries at First Baptist is the Music Ministry. The Sanctuary Choir plays an important role during church services by bringing energy to the services and enhancing the word of God. The Music Ministry extends beyond church services and into special programs such as the annual Christmas program, Carols by Candlelight and The Wonder of Easter.

Church members are involved with Stewpot Community Services, We Will Go Ministries, and Buried Treasures Prison Ministry to name a few. CityChurch and Mission First are some of the partnerships that First Baptist has formed to spread the word of God and serve those outside their congregation.

First Baptist Church Recreation Ministry is very active in providing activities for adults and children. Activities such as fitness training and sports such as flag football and basketball are available to adults and children.

Other ministries for members of the congregation include The Link, which is geared towards college students and an array of counseling services from coping with addiction to pre-marital counseling. As part of their ministry to serve, First Baptist Church has been on live television since 1955 and church services are now streamed over the internet.

First Baptist Church Jackson currently lies in its third location, and the 5,000 member congregation has expanded beyond its downtown location with a Madison campus. First Baptist also serves a strong Chinese congregation with Sunday School Classes and Sunday morning church services in Chinese with an English translation.  

If you are interested in learning more about First Baptist Church Jackson, please visit

It’s My Job: Meet Jackson Ambassador Calvin Jackson

Calvin Jackson of Jackson has been with Downtown Jackson Partners since 2005 and is a team leader for Jackson Ambassadors.

Nearly five years ago, I was unemployed through no fault of my own and looking for a job when I came across a Downtown Jackson Partners ad. I came in and applied for the job and fortunately, I got hired. If I had not been unemployed, I would have never been part of Downtown Jackson Partners.

The Jackson Ambassadors have been in existence for five years. Before we came on board, it was always Downtown Jackson Partners. We cover the whole business district, which is made up of 66 blocks. I’m a team leader. We have eight staffers, including my manager Bobby Viverette. Every day when my shift starts I tour the whole downtown district. I observe the bad spots that need cleaning and when somebody’s client calls with an issue of vagrants on the property, they call us and we go in and tell the vagrants to quit bothering the clients.

Read the full story at

Thalia Needs Some Work Done

In the spring of 1968, the City of Jackson opened the doors of its new Municipal Auditorium – realizing a dream shared by thousands of performing arts lovers in the metro area.  Since that day, countless ballets, Broadway-style shows, operas, symphony performances, graduations and other memorable events have taken place at what is now called Thalia Mara Hall.

And Thalia is showing her age…

A group of stakeholders have formed the Friends of Thalia Mara Hall, a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated solely to fundraising efforts and restoration of Thalia Mara Hall. The organization has opened a fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson and is soliciting donations. 

In order for the group to receive $1 million in state bonds, it must raise $1 million by the end of the year in private donations. The City of Jackson has already pledged more than $1 million in repairs to the HVAC system. 

Friends of Thalia Mara Hall have launched a website,, where supporters can make donations and “purchase a seat.” With a $500 donation, the donor may have a metal plate engraved and installed on a seat in the auditorium.  

“This is a great way for supports of the performing arts to make a lasting impression in the Hall,” said Jane Alexander, Community Foundation of Greater Jackson President and CEO. “Mississippi is the ‘Birthplace of America’s Music’ and its capital city needs a place where that legacy can continue to be showcased.”  

The primary focus of the repairs is to improve patrons’ experience with new seats, improved accessibility and new finishes.  

The auditorium will “go dark” in January 2014 for renovations and reopen in May 2014 in time for the USA International Ballet Competition. 

“Before Jackson and Thalia Mara Hall are on the world’s stage with the 2014 USA International Ballet Competition, significant repairs need to be made to the facility,” said Haley Fisackerly, president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi, Inc. “We have a small window of opportunity and hope the community will make this dream come true just like they did when the Hall opened.”

For more information about the Thalia Mara Hall renovation, and to pledge support, go to or contact Friends of Thalia Mara Hall at (662) 508-0822 or

Capitol & West Residential Development

Developers of the Eastland Courthouse Unveil Plans for Renovation

Tuesday, the developers of the historic Eastland Courthouse unveiled plans to renovate and reopen the 115,000 square foot building as a modern residential complex. With construction already underway, the development, named Capitol & West, is set to open in 2014 and will feature more than 50 residential units, a fine dining restaurant and bar, and first floor commercial space.

Capitol & West is located in the historic Smith Park Architectural District and is in the cultural, governmental, and business center of Downtown Jackson at 245 East Capitol Street.

“Capitol & West speaks to the soul of what this great city is about. This development’s uniqueness, high quality, and rich history set the standard for Downtown living. You can’t get this anywhere else. You have to come to Capitol & West,” said Jason Goree, lead developer.

The first unit buildout is expected to be completed in the spring of 2014 with the entire project completed later that fall. Residents will be able to choose from plans that include one-bedroom, two-bedroom and studio apartments with one to two baths. All apartments are retaining the fine materials and historical features significant to the building, but are being updated with contemporary finishings.

“We’re extremely excited about Capitol & West,” said David Pharr of Team Jackson. “This unique development is an important piece of the puzzle of Downtown’s resurgence. With more residents moving Downtown, it’s only a matter of time before more cultural amenities follow. Capitol & West is a big momentum boost.”

The total cost of the project is 20 million dollars.

Capitol & West is being developed by local attorneys Tom Tardy, Marcy Croft, Jason Watkins, and Developer Jason Goree.

Duvall Decker is the architect of record.

Chris Albritton Construction Company, Inc. is the general contractor.

Jason Goree

Downtown on Display

The first ever “Downtown On Display” will take place in Downtown Jackson on Saturday, October 5th, 2013.  Joining the excitement of the third annual Town Creek Arts Festival, Jackson's most historic neighborhood is opening its doors to give visitors a unique view of the buildings, churches, and businesses that call Downtown Jackson home. From 2 – 5 PM, visitors will have the opportunity to take architectural tours, get access to magnificent views, eat, shop, and listen to live music.

“‘Downtown on Display’ is an invitation to everyone to come and see those unique and wonderful places of Downtown Jackson that are not normally made available to the public,” says Steve Davis, partner at Canizaro Cawthon Davis Architects, and one of the creators of the event.

One of those unique places that will be open to the public is The Mississippi State Capitol. Usually closed on weekends, the New Capitol will open its doors for the event and provide free, guided and self-guided tours that will detail the Capitol’s history, its Beaux Arts-style architecture, and offer a glimpse inside the chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives.

The event, which is free and open to everyone, will also include tours of Jackson City Hall, Old Capitol Museum, Cathedral of St. Peter, St. Andrews Episcopal Cathedral, the 1905 Central Fire Station, the Electric 308 building, the restored Greyhound Bus Terminal, Regions Plaza, and the Pinnacle at Jackson Place, just to name a few.

Along with drinks and light refreshments at many stops, the Old Capitol Inn will be providing a “Happy Hour” with fruit, wine and other assorted hors d’oeuvres. Visitors to the Historic King Edward Hotel will be treated to a live cooking demonstration in the lobby as well as appetizer specials.

Town Creek Arts Festival at the Mississippi Museum of Art will showcase artists, craftsmen, food from local vendors, and live performances. Other Downtown offerings at Downtown spots include complimentary iced coffee and delicious Amish Bread at The Coffee Roastery and a unique exhibit on the Jackson Blues Marker Trail at the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The William Winter Archives & History Building will have on display the Medger Evers’s exhibit “This Is Home: Medgar Evers, Mississippi, and the Movement” and have an opportunity for people to bring their historic artifacts, documents, photographs, or other materials for analysis and possible donation to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History, which both open in 2017.

“Any business in the Downtown area who wants to participate can,” says Ben Allen, President of Downtown Jackson Partners. “People are signing up every day for this great event. If you’re a business and you’d like to show off your space, there’s still time to sign up.” 

Shuttles will be on hand to transport people to and from locations. Volunteers and the Downtown Ambassadors will be available with information, maps, and directions.

You don’t want to miss this incredible opportunity to experience Downtown like never before! Come see “Downtown on Display.”

For the most up-to-date listing of Downtown open house spots visit

Capitol Street Project Press Conference

Mayor Lumumba will hold a joint press conference with Downtown Jackson Partners and the Jackson Redevelopment Authority about the Capitol Street project. The press conference will be held on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:30am in the first floor of City Hall. The public is invited to attend this event.

Jackson Named Friendliest City

You smiled and they listened. Jackson has recently been named one of the Friendliest Cities in the United States by Conde Nast Traveler! They noted that our "'friendly people and great food' make it a worthy stop." Our Southern charm and wonderful food has won a place at the top. We couldn't agree more! Keep up the good work Jackson!

Click here to read the story by Conde Nast Traveler. 

Convention Center Hotel Announcement

Mayor Johnson and Mayor-Elect Lumumba will hold a press conference today,  June 25th, at 1:30pm at the Jackson Convention Complex to announce that Hyatt Hotels will be the developer of the convention center hotel. For more information, please attend the press conference.

The Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. Peter The Apostle Catholic Church has called Downtown home for 113 years. The Cathedral is the mother church for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson which includes 101 parishes (churches) and missions and covers 65 counties in Mississippi. The Catholic Diocese of Jackson celebrated their 175 anniversary in 2012 with a $3.6 million renovation to the Cathedral.

Father Anthony Nguyen, the rector (pastor) of the Cathedral, was recently assigned to the Cathedral and has noted how diverse the congregation is. The parish has more than 420 English speaking families and 120 Spanish speaking families from Jackson and the surrounding communities since the cathedral is a non-territorial parish which means it doesn’t just serve the Downtown area.

One of the distinctive features of the Cathedral is the Venetian glass mosaic on the façade. The design features Christ the Good Shepherd, surrounded by figures representing the continents of the world, with the inscription, “There shall be one flock and one shepherd.” The beauty of the Cathedral attributes to over 30 wedding performed there. One-third of the couples married there are from the area, but two-thirds are drawn from outside the area.

The Cathedral of St. Peter holds four masses or services on the weekends, 5:15pm on Saturday and 8am, 10:30am and 2:00pm (Spanish mass) on Sunday. The Cathedral also serves the Downtown professionals with a 12:05pm mass during the weekdays. The Cathedral is also involved in the community through its ministries that work with Stewpot Community Services, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Habitat for Humanity and other organizations.

For more information on the Cathedral, please visit

The Toast of Downtown

Toastmasters International is a 501c (3) with over 280,000 members in over 13,500 clubs in 116 countries. Toastmasters teaches people how to speak and lead effectively in a positive mutually supportive environment. Toastmasters began in the 1920s as the education arm of the YMCA and has trained over 4 million people.

In 2009, the Downtown Jackson Toastmasters Club was formed. The club has 19 members and meets every Wednesday at 6pm on the 12th floor of the Plaza Building. Downtown restaurateur Debbie Rankin provided the club members access to the space in the Plaza Building, and they have been meeting there ever since.

The Downtown Jackson Toastmasters is open to anyone 18 years or older, and there are no joining requirements. New members are assigned a mentor to help them complete two projects that will teach them to be competent communicators and leaders.

Meetings are divided into three different segments. The first one has two or three members giving a prepared speech to the group for five to fifteen minutes. Then, the meeting moves to Table Topics which are impromptu speaking sessions on random subjects that last for one to two minutes, and at the end of the meeting, evaluations are given to all the speakers. Plaza apartment residents have grown accustomed to the group and have been known to drop in and participate during meetings.

The Downtown Toastmasters are also involved in outreach. Youth Leadership, a public speaking training program for junior high and high school students; Speechcraft, a short course in public speaking for adults in business, education, industry and government; and Success/Leadership and Success/Communication presentations which are programs offered by the Toastmasters to the community.

The Downtown Jackson Toastmasters was recently awarded the President’s Distinguished Club Award which is the highest award a club can achieve during the year. For more information on the Downtown Jackson Toastmasters, visit or email

Bills Offer Big Savings for State

Senate Bills 2472 and 2763 have been passed by the Senate’s Public Properties Committee and will be taken up by the full Senate. Senator David Blount authored both bills. Senate Bill 2472 authorizes the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) to act as the central leasing agent for all state agencies. At this time, individual agencies negotiate their leases. Senate Bill 2763 authorizes DFA, on behalf of the Department of Revenue, to purchase the Landmark Center in Downtown Jackson for the agency’s headquarters.

Senator Blount presented an analysis performed by Millsaps College’s Else School of Management in support of his bills. The study focused on lease cost comparisons within the metro area, office space allocation and efficiency and purchasing the Landmark Center in Downtown Jackson.

The authors of the study reported that the State of Mississippi would save $5 million annually by moving scattered agencies in the metro area to the Capitol Complex that encompasses Downtown Jackson. The study also recommends buying the Landmark Center and locating the Department of Revenue and other state agencies in the building. The State of Mississippi would save $30 million over a 20 year period if the Landmark Center was bought instead of leasing space at prevailing market rates.

Downtown Jackson Partners supports the two bills introduced by Senator Blount. Please read the Mississippi Business Journal’s editorial and view the study by the Else School of Management at Millsaps College.

2013 MS Blues Marathon

The 2013 Mississippi Blues Marathon and Half-Marathon is right around the corner on Saturday, January 5th. Come and support 3000 runners from 47 states and 10 countries as they descend on the streets of Downtown Jackson. Registration for the Marathon, Half-Marathon and Relay events are all sold out!

It's not just about the running either. The event is also a huge street party filled with enthusiastic supporters encouraging their friends and family to complete the races. You can watch professional runners tackle the course in about 2 hours, 30 minutes and you can watch the inspiring determination of the racers who finish the course near its 7-hour time limit. The annual Blues Crawl takes you to some of Jackson's favorite locales beginning at 7pm.

Some streets will be closed Downtown for the race. The initial street closures are as follows: Streets will close at midnight on Friday, January 4th, and will reopen at 2pm on Saturday. State, President and Congress Streets will be closed between Pearl and Amite Streets. South bound streets will all turn right at Amite and be routed around to Galatin. Capitol Street will be closed from Lamar Street to State Street.

Check back with us for updates as changes can be made closer to the race date. Visit the Mississippi Blues Marathon website for more information about the race. Come see for yourself why the Blues are alright!

A Day of Prayer

St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral, New Hope International, Fondren Presbyterian, Greater Mt. Calvary and Christ Tabernacle Churchesinvite you to join us for a Prayer Vigil for Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown Connecticut and the Children and Schools of Mississippi.

St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral will offer The Holy Eucharist with special prayers. The service begins at 12:05.

The New Life of the Iron Horse Grill

A Jackson-based group of investors announces the redevelopment of the Iron Horse Grill. This iconic Jackson landmark, which originally was the Armour Smokehouse built in 1906, housed the wildly popular Iron Horse Grill and has been abandoned since a fire in 1999.

The investors, led by Joseph Simpson of the Simpson Group, includes Jackson businessmen Jesse Simpson, John Luckett, Johnny Johnson, David Waddell, Andrew Jenkins and Mark McCormack. This group acquired the property in 2009, and the resulting development will include the Iron Horse Grill restaurant and a live music venue in a 12,000 square foot facility. The building will also house the Mississippi Music Experience, which is a collection of Mississippi Music Hall of Fame memorabilia collected by Dr. Jim Brewer as well as a retail store featuring items from the Mississippi Blues Trail.

With the ongoing revitalization of Downtown Jackson, Simpson explains "We expect this project to help further solidify that Downtown Jackson is in a revival and has a bright future. Downtown must be a center for business and development, and we must all come together to keep it healthy. With the tourism goals for our development, it makes sense for the Iron Horse to be located in the heart of Downtown Jackson."

MuniStrategies, in conjunction with Trustmark National Bank in Jackson, who served as the lead investor, spearheaded the $8 million investment. MuniStrategies is a Mississippi-based New Markets allocatee that provides federal and state tax credit incentives to help finance this project. This investment utilized $4.5M in MuniStrategies federal New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation along with federal historic tax credit incentives and Mississippi NMTC incentives provided through the Mississippi Development Authority. Trustmark provided the senior debt along with the tax credit equity and the Jackson Redevelopment Authority provided Urban Renewal Bonds in support of the project. A total of 120 jobs are expected to be created. At least $3 million in annual income is projected for the restaurant with the City of Jackson gaining over $200,000 in tax revenue.

“This development means so much to the city of Jackson.” says Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson. “It provides a tremendous tie-in between the core of downtown and projects west of the rail line extending to the campus of Jackson State University.”

Third District Congressman Gregg Harper stated, “So many Mississippians have such fond memories of this landmark establishment. Using Federal New Markets Tax Credits in support of this project is the sort of support that government can provide to help rebuild communities and develop jobs for its residents.”

Ben Allen, President of Downtown Jackson Partners, stated “I cannot overstate the impact this will have on Jackson. To have this come back to life is a major triumph. This is just another sign of the momentum in downtown and it really ties together the developments on the west end of our community.”

A groundbreaking ceremony has been scheduled for Monday, December 10, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. at the site on 320 West Pearl Street. Several local, state and federal officials are scheduled to attend. Attendees will be able learn more about the development plans.
A groundbreaking is scheduled for December 10th at 10:30am at the site. During the ceremony, the group will be announcing this year's inductees into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame. The project is scheduled to be completed in late summer 2013.

Vision 2022/One Voice


Oct. 9, 2012 The Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership unveiled the Vision 2022/One Voice 10-year long range economic plan for the region today at the Trustmark Meeting Room of the Jackson Convention Center.

Vision 2022/One Voice is the bold, multi-year plan to transform the Greater Jackson Region into a destination community attracting businesses, families, and tourists for its quality of life “place” and economic opportunity.

“Vision 2022 is a bold plan to transform the Jackson metro area into one of the most talked about and desirable communities in this region of the country,” said Mayo Flynt, GJCP 2012 Chairman of the Board of Directors.

The process to create the new Vision 2022 Plan has been inclusive, comprehensive, and thorough.  A tremendous amount of research about the region was married with input from thousands of citizens and a very involved strong Steering Committee. The result is a powerful roadmap for the Jackson Region with clear benchmarks and measures of success.

Business and Community leaders spoke on the 10 Key Initiatives in Vision 2022 which includes: Health Care, Regional Infrastructure, Aerospace, Lake Development, Regional Marketing, Core City, Regional Trails System, “Talent” Attraction, Arts and Culture and Education.

The Atlanta-based consulting firm, Market Street Services, guided the plan which is a holistic approach based on people, place and prosperity.

“The planning process reached out to the entire regional community to gain insight on the best direction,” said Duane O’Neill, President of the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership. “We accomplished this by multiple meetings and community surveys.

According to Socrates Garrett, GJCP 2013 Chairman of the Board, “Our surrounding partners in both Madison and Rankin counties as well as Hinds County expressed the need to support the region.

“There is less infighting and more cooperation than any time in our history,” he said. “The central theme seems to be the need for a healthy Jackson to support continued growth in the region.  There are different goals for each partner and the need to secure growth through improving the infrastructure and quality of life issues. You cannot drive the train before you lay the tracks.”

These 10 Initiatives are “game changers” for the region, according to O’Neill.

“Taken together they unlock a massive positive step forward for Jackson and the Region. Each is vital and important; they leverage and compliment each other,” he said.

Major efforts have already begun on one of the key initiatives of the plan which is Lake Development. To help expedite some of the needed research done on this project, the GJCP presented a $200,000 check to the Pearl River Vision Foundation at the conclusion of the unveiling.

The Full Vision 2022/One Voice Plan will be available at

New Season, New Fun!

This fall season is abuzz with excitement! October is filled to the brim with events for everyone. Whether you are an aspiring foodie, a history enthusiast or a marathon runner, we have an event for you. Bring the family and enjoy this season’s bountiful harvest of events. See you Downtown!

Jackson Restaurant Week

Mississippi State Fair

Town Creek Arts Festival


Purple Dress Run

Present Meets Past

Fork & Corks

Bruno’s Adobo

There is a new restaurant in town! That’s right, Adobo has officially opened in the ground level of the Standard Life. Executive Chef and owner Luie Bruno’s menu features a wide variety of healthy options that are a unique twist on Latin and Caribbean cuisine. Whether you are vegetarian, vegan or eating gluten free there are endless options on their menu. Being a strong believer in the community, Adobo uses local and hormone free products. Looking for something fast? Stop by and grab any of their constantly changing to-go meals.

Adobo is Mississippi’s first certified green restaurant. Everything they use is recycled from the restaurant decor and cups to up-cycled t-shirts from Gateway Rescue Mission. Interested in buying an Adobo t-shirt? If you bring 5 t-shirts to donate then you will walk out with a free Adobo t-shirt. Stop by anytime for a bite to eat.

127 S. Roach Street

Contact: 601-944-9501

Restaurant Hours:
Monday – Friday 11am – 6:30pm


Mississippi Museum of Art awarded $1 million grant

The Mississippi Museum of Art (the Museum) is the proud recipient of a $1 million grant from The Kresge Foundation (the Foundation) through their Institutional Capitalization Facility Investments and Building Reserves initiative. The Kresge Foundation’s Arts and Culture Team received 372 applications from 44 states requesting over $263 million, and awarded nine grants. The Museum was selected after a rigorous and comprehensive application process of nearly two years.

This particular program awards funds for facility renovation and repair projects undertaken by arts and cultural organizations. In 2005, Kresge awarded the Museum close to $1 million to support the renovation of the former Mississippi Arts Pavilion, which now serves as the Museum’s home. This latest grant affords the Museum a “cushion” on which to fall back when unexpected yet inevitable major maintenance expenses are incurred.

“Drawing on our historical expertise as a funder of arts and cultural facilities, we want to help arts and cultural organizations properly maintain these important physical assets,” voiced a representative of The Kresge Foundation. “In doing so, we are assisting organizations as they build financial reserves to meet the short and long-term operating expenses associated with maintaining their buildings.”

“We are overwhelmed and indeed grateful to these and all our funders for the trust they have placed in the Museum,” said Director Betsy Bradley. “Our goal is to not only maintain that trust but also serve as responsible and diligent stewards of it,” added Bradley.

The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion private, national foundation that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations working in its seven program areas: Arts and Culture, Community Development, Detroit, Education, the Environment, Health, and Human Services. In 2011, the Board of Trustees approved 356 awards totaling $170 million; $140 million was paid out to grantees over the course of the year. For more information, visit

The Mississippi Museum of Art’s mission is to “engage Mississippians in the visual arts.” The Museum is located at 380 South Lamar Street in Jackson. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, noon to 5 PM. The Museum is closed Monday. For more information about the Mississippi Museum of Art’s exhibitions, programs, and special events, please call 601-960-1515 or 1-866-VIEW ART (843-9278), or visit

The Mississippi Museum of Art and its programs are sponsored in part by the city of Jackson and the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau. Support is also provided in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

The Palette Café  by Viking welcomes new Executive Chef


The Mississippi Museum of Art is at it again. It is both an honor and a privilege for them to announce their new Executive Chef at The Palette Café by Viking, Louis LaRose. In addition to pleasing guests with his unique menu items in the café, Louis also takes charge of catering the extensive schedule of private and public events at the Museum.

The food of Louis LaRose marries the classic French and Southern cuisines of his childhood with the Caribbean and Spanish flavors that he came to know and love. His menus reflect the diversity of his experience and combine cooking styles and ingredients in new and ingenious ways. At the Museum, Louis has found an ideal home for his talents and creativity. The Palette Café‘s new menu is sure to please; Treat yourself to lunch today.

The Palette Cafe by Viking
380 South Lamar Street

Contact: (601) 965-9900

Restaurant Hours:
Tuesday through Saturday 11am-2pm
Coffee served 10am