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Delta Blues Press Release

July 21, 2023

Delta Blues Museum Receives MHC Mini Grant for Sunflower Festival Programming

Clarksdale, Mississippi

Funds will support Arts & Education Alumni panel "From Hand to Hand"


[Clarksdale, Mississippi - July 21, 2023] - Delta Blues Museum is adding a special event to kick off its 2023 Sunflower Festival activities, thanks to a Mississippi Humanities Council (MHC) Mini-Grant just announced.

The grant will support a special panel discussion, "From Hand to Hand: Passing Down the Blues," featuring three graduates of the Delta Blues Museum Arts & Education Program - Jaxx Nassar, Anthony "Big A" Sherrod and Lee Williams. The classmates learned from Mr. Johnnie Billington, founder of the Museum's after-school program, and were members of "The Deep Cuts," a band fronted by late local bluesman Josh "Razorblade" Stewart. Arts & Education Program graduate Travis Calvin, a current instructor at the Delta Music Institute at Delta State University, will moderate the panel. Calvin also served as a community representative in Washington, D.C., when Delta Blues Museum was awarded the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

The in-person panel, which is free and open to the public, will also be livestreamed on the Museum's Facebook page by program instructor Walt Busby. Additionally, a small exhibit of photographer Panny Mayfield's images of the panelists as students will be on display.

For more than three decades, the Museum's award-winning Arts & Education program has taught students to play music that keeps the history of the Delta blues alive. Students are taught to play the blues on instruments of their choice - drums, guitars and keyboards are provided by the Museum for use in the classroom and authorized performances. Instructors, many themselves local blues musicians, utilize a classroom environment to allow students to progress from learning the basics of playing music to working together as a band. The program has been recognized nationally as a top youth program and has been elevated in recent news because of the high-profile success of one of its graduates, Grammy-nominated blues musician Christone "Kingfish" Ingram.

The special panel will be held in the Museum classroom on Thursday, August 10, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. Museum Director Shelley Ritter encourages the public to make plans to attend: "We are excited to present this program and reconnect with our former students who now have careers in music. We are so proud of them, and it is a true honor to be a part of their success stories. We are grateful to the Mississippi Humanities Council for helping us document and share their role in Clarksdale's blues history."

About the Mississippi Humanities Council

The Mississippi Humanities Council is a private nonprofit corporation funded by Congress through the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide public programs in traditional liberal arts disciplines to serve nonprofit groups in Mississippi.

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For information about the MHC, visit www.mshumanities.org.

About the Delta Blues Museum

Established in 1979 by the Carnegie Public Library Board of Trustees and re-organized as a stand-alone museum in 1999, the Delta Blues Museum is Mississippi's first music museum. A 2013 recipient of the IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Services - the nation's highest honor for museum and library service to the community - and a 2014 recipient of the National Arts & Humanities' Youth Program Award, the Delta Blues Museum is dedicated to creating a welcoming place where visitors find meaning, value and perspective by exploring the history and heritage of the unique American musical art form, the Blues. The Museum is also recognized as a Great River Road Interpretive Center. For more information on events or programs, please call (662) 627-6820, or visit the Museum web site at www.deltabluesmuseum.org.

Members of the press may register in the Press Room on the Museum's website to access further information, downloadable images and related materials.

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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.

Museum Contact information

Click here for directions
#1 Blues Alley Lane
Clarksdale, MS 38614
Phone: 662-627-6820
Email: info@deltabluesmuseum.org