On August 31st, President Obama announced that Jackson Medical Mall Foundation (JMMF) is one of six organizations selected to participate in the ArtPlace America Community Development Investments (CDI) Program. Over the course of three years, JMMF will receive $3 million to incorporate arts and cultural strategies into its core work.
This grant is more than just a win for JMMF and Story For All; it’s a HUGE win for the youth of Jackson! The ArtPlace America grant enables The SHINE’s youth to have their voices heard. More importantly, it allows JMMF and Story For All to ensure that youth voices become integral in their community’s transformation.
Plans for the grant are still being finalized. Phase 1, according to the JMMF’s Executive Director Primus Wheeler, is the proposal of projects that will “allow young men of color to get involved in art, painting and self-expression. Students can use the program, developed by the Story For All organization, to start to tell their own positive stories, and make them positive and productive citizens,” (Lucas, Sherry. “Jackson Medical Mall Foundation to Get $3 Million Investment.” The Clarion-Ledger. Web. 17 September 2015).
“We are so excited to collaborate with this extraordinary coalition of partners in Jackson,” says Story For All’s founder, Angela Zusman. “The SHINE allows us to amplify the voices and wisdom of Jackson’s youth, as a means for addressing systemic bias and as a model for community transformation in Jackson, and beyond.”
“Arts and culture are too often left out of community planning conversations,” said Jamie Bennett, ArtPlace’s Executive Director, in a release. “JMMF is prepared to demonstrate the unique value that artists and art organizations can bring to its health-based economic and community development efforts. They will serve as a national model for any place-based community development organization looking to work more comprehensively and inclusively to build a healthy, thriving community.”
JMMF will host a community forum for anyone interested in learning more about their work ArtPlace’s CDI Program on October 13th at 10 a.m. CT at the Jackson Medical Mall (350 West Woodrow Wilson Ave., Jackson, MS).
For more information about The SHINE, click here.