Welcome to the land where blues began

Congratulations to Pinetop Perkins for his Lifetime Achievement Award!

January, 2011

Clarksdale, MS

The Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts are presented annually to outstanding writers, artists, performers, craftsmen and educators who have made significant and lasting contributions through their work as well as to corporations or organizations on the basis of their dedication to arts advancement. Previous winners include B.B. King, James "Super Chikan" Johnson, Malcolm White, Mary Katharine Loyacono McCravey, the late Little Milton (Campbell), Dr. David Blackburn, the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education, USA International Ballet Competition, William Eggleston, Bo Diddley and Charles Burnett.

Joseph Willie "Pinetop" Perkins of Belzoni, Mississippi now resides in Berkeley, California

Research the Mississippi Delta blues or any of the most revered and respected names in blues music such as Chess Records, King Biscuit Time, Sun Records, or Muddy Waters, and you will discover they were at one time a part of Pinetop Perkins' life. He received a Grammy Award in 2005 for Lifetime Achievement, but Pinetop wasn't finished making music. In 2008 he received another Grammy Award, this time for Traditional Blues Album. Born on a farm outside of Belzoni, Mississippi in 1913, he taught himself how to play guitar and began playing at dances, house parties, and in honky tonks. A serious knife injury to his left arm caused him to put down the guitar and concentrate on the instrument that would bring him worldwide fame and acclaim, the piano. After decades of playing for some of the biggest names nationally in the blues, including Robert Nighhawk, Earl Hooker and Little Milton, Pinetop replaced Otis Spann in Muddy Waters' band in 1969 and remained an integral part of that world renowned blues band until 1980. After 60 years of success, Pinetop was just beginning. He stepped out as a front man in 1992 and has released more than 15 solo records since then. His influence also includes the Pinetop Perkins Foundation, a tax exempt non-profit organization that provides support to young musicians and helps provide care for elderly musicians at the twilight of their career.

The 2011 Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts ceremony will be held on Thursday, February 24, 2011 in the auditorium at the Mississippi Department of Education in downtown Jackson. The event is free and open to the public.

To commemorate the event each year, the Commission prints a poster for the Governor's Awards. The poster boasts photography highlighting the influence the arts have on government, from a rose chandelier at the Governor's Mansion to a Native American copper breastplate found in Mississippi.

The current series of posters feature arts facilities across the state that have received a grant through MAC's Building Fund for the Arts. The Building Fund for the Arts is funded through the Mississippi Legislature and state general obligation bonds to provide high quality facilities for arts and cultural activities.

The 2011 poster is being designed by Vidal Blankenstein and features photography by Tom Joynt. The poster will be available for free from the Arts Commission.

The award that will be presented to each recipient in 2011 will be created by acclaimed Mississippi artist, Bill Dunlap.



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This newsletter is supported in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and, in part, from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

This site is made possible through support from the Mississippi Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rock River Foundation.

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This site made possible through the support of Mississippi Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Rock River Foundation.

Support for the Delta Blues Foudation, Inc has been provided by explore.org, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation.

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Museum Contact information

1 Blues Alley
Clarksdale, MS 38614
Phone: 662-627-6820
Email: info@deltabluesmuseum.org