Hattiesburg Arts Council

The Hattiesburg Art Council (HAC) of Mississippi offers many opportunities for artists from all over the world. Right now, they are gearing up to announce the talented winners of the competitive Open Studio Front program. If you’re an arts nonprofit and you have an arts program that is deserving of replication, write about it here on GrantNews and look for funding for Arts and Culture.

Artists from Multiple Disciplines

The HAC Open Studio on Front program chooses artists from multiple disciplines such as visual, music, dance, theater and literary. It is an amazing opportunity for artists. It allows them to present their work for 7 consecutive weeks at the council’s Front Street location in downtown Hattiesburg.

What the Council Looks for

I got the chance to speak with Rebekah Stark Johnson, of the Council. She told me that the council looks for artists that:

1.      Have open studio hours.

2.      Have people skills

3.      Have an elevator speech prepared for news crews

4.      Consider collaborative projects


The HAC loves to see collaboration. In particular, they recently had 2 artists (one visual artist and one creative writer) work together for the Women’s Art Collective. You may wonder how a creative writer could display their work alongside a visual artist. Well, I asked and found out that she put up quotes from her work, made a coffee table book-like magazine with her own work and visual artists’ work and posted her poetry to the walls next to the artwork. She also made presentations of her poetry.

Interactive presentations

Along with collaboration, the HAC encourages interactive presentations. Rebekah also informed me that they are exclusively looking for artists who will have open studio hours. Their goal is to have the door unlocked. She told me,

“For instance, a band could have open studio hours for their rehearsal in which people can come and enjoy the process with them. The artists could explain their instruments and what makes them significant as artists.”

The Hattiesburg Arts Council Prepares Artists

Rebekah thinks that the application process for competitive art programs prepares the artist for the real world. This is because as he or she acquires acclaim, an artist may need an artist statement to share with admirers. The artist’s statement may also help them prepare what she called an “elevator speech,” to deliver to news crews. This is like a commercial speech.

Talented artists come out of schools but they may not know how to market themselves. Opportunities like the Open Studio on Front afford them that experience. Rebekah said,

“The HAC mostly encourages artists to help with publicity like make their own flyers, prepare email blasts and write articles.”

So, if you’re a nonprofit that benefits the arts, check out The Hattiesburg Art Council! Maybe you can offer an excellent program like the HAC of Mississippi Open Studio on Front.

About the Author: Sabeen is a Masters in Public Health student. She is currently writing for GrantWatch.com and its affiliate websites.

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