MERIDIAN, Miss.–So, what do Kermit the Frog, Faith Hill, B.B. King and Jerry Clower have in common? It’s not only their Mississippi background, but their future home together at the Miss. Arts and Entertainment Center in downtown Meridian, set to open in 2017.
If you’ve never heard of the Miss. Arts and Entertainment Center, well, it’s about building an industry around Mississippi’s most creative people, according to Executive Director Marty Gamblin, a long-time entertainment professional.
“When you accept entertainment as an economic development tool, it’s just like an industry moving into an area,” he said,”and you look at it as a business, not just a museum, and it’s not gonna be a museum. It’s gonna be an interactive facility.”
The facility will be 58,000 sq. ft. and will cost an estimated $44 million.
Tuesday a $3 million grant was announced by the Phil Hardin Foundation, which supports education in Mississippi.
“It is going to be a showplace for the state and the region,” said Robert Ward, Robert Hardin board president. “From our perspective it’s going to be an educational facility. There’s going to be a strong entertainment aspect.”
“This premier, world-class center, representing all of the arts that have emanated from Mississippi, will reach into international corridors,” said Gamblin.
AUDIO below is from Center Vice-Pres. Paul Ott
So, if you’re still confused about what the facility will be, News Mississippi was told over and over again that it will be an interactive facility, with exhibits on everyone who is anyone in the arts and entertainment field who is from Mississippi. It may also serve as a venue.
The state has given $4 million to supplement money already in the pot. Organizers say it’s going to be necessary to get donations from all over the world to complete the facility.