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Creative Expression

Arts & Culture Podcasts

A digital venue where artists have the freedom to share their life stories. It's the flagship podcast series for the Mississippi School of the Arts.


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A digital venue where artists have the freedom to share their life stories. It's the flagship podcast series for the Mississippi School of the Arts.



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E12: Commencement 2020 for the Mississippi School of the Arts

Jawan Hopson (Alumni Hall of Fame) Listen to the virtual commencement for 2020. Due to an international health crisis, we were forced to abruptly end our school year on campus, but seniors persevered and finished strong. We’ll hear from Jonathan Blake Sauls (Salutatorian), Jessica Ramsey Luke (Valedictorian), Dr. Nathan Oakley (Chief Academic Officer at the Mississippi Department of Education), and a commencement address by 2006 vocal music alum, Ezekiel McCall. We congratulate 2020 MSA Hall of Fame inductee, Jawan Hopson. Jawan, a 2012 vocal music alum, pursued a bachelor’s degree in Arts and Entertainment Management from Pace University, and currently employed at Black Entertainment Television in New York City. Virtual Commencement 2020E10 – Ezekiel Andrew McCall Shares Insight as a Performing ArtistEzekiel McCall (Commencement Speaker)


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E11: Editorial Cartoonist Marshall Ramsey: A Message to Graduates

We go back to Mississippi School of the Arts’ Commencement 2016. Marshall Ramsey, the former editorial cartoonist for The Clarion Ledger, was invited to speak to departing seniors. Marshall gives a message of hope and encouragement. During these times of 2020, we encourage our seniors with a message of hope to excel in whatever they decide to do throughout life. Marshall is currently the Editor-At-Large for Mississippi Today newspaper and a show host on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Marshall Ramsey on TwitterMarshall Ramsey Facebook Fan PageMarshall Ramsey web site


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E10: Ezekiel Andrew McCall Shares Insight as a Performing Artist

A native of Greenwood, Mississippi, Ezekiel McCall is rising in the ranks as a theater star. A graduate of Mississippi School of the Arts, Mississippi College and the University of Southern Mississippi, McCall has performed in numerous events all over the country. He is also a past recipient of the MSA Alumni Hall of Fame. The Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera,” the Beast in “Beauty and the Beast,” and Coalhouse Porter in “Ragtime” are just a few performances in his portfolio. Ezekiel joined us at MSA to conduct masterclasses and was the center of a dinner theatre performance benefit for the Mississippi School of the Arts Foundation held February 21, 2020. Ezekiel also joined us for an interview on Creative Expression, sharing his insight on how he got started, the performance industry today, and some encouraging steps it takes to get there. Ezekiel Andrew official web site“Ezekiel Andrew, Baritone” Facebook PageTheater star returns to his roots at MSA, teaching and performing Suzanne Hirsch (Host), Ezekiel McCall (Guest). Digital music by Thomas Hart (Media c/o 2018).


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E9: Shaw Furlow: An Educator and a Musician’s Friend

Shaw Furlow recently joined us in the podcast studio. When he’s not behind a microphone or musical instrument, he’s out promoting the local music scene in Brookhaven. A 1969 graduate of Brookhaven High School, Shaw left his hometown to obtain his degree and pursue a career in music. After teaching music in education from middle school to high school, he returned to Brookhaven and finished his day-to-day career at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, where he was an instructor and band director for the Blue Wave Show Band, a stint that lasted sixteen years. His goals in songwriting, artist promotion and music production hasn’t slowed down, though. Show up at any music festival or event in the area and you’ll most likely see his face amongst the crowd. Listen to Episode 9 of Creative Expression as Shaw Furlow shares his personal story and provides a true story about Brookhaven native Bob Pittman, the co-founder of Music Television (MTV) and CEO of iHeartMedia. Find out what local music and art talent means to Shaw. Are we on the brink of an explosive arts culture in Mississippi? Listen and decide. www.musicfromtheshadyside.comDon Jacobs & Shaw Furlow | Mapping a Modern MSBrookhaven: A Look Into the Music SceneBrookhaven’s Music Men Shaw Furlow and Tyler Bridge celebrated by Co-LinOverbrook Songwriter’s FestivaliHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman on the future of audio and big techClear Channel chief: Technology ‘an opportunity, not a risk’ Patrick Brown (Host), Shaw Furlow (Guest). Digital music by Thomas Hart (Media c/o 2018). Photo: Shaw Furlow stands in front of Peavey Electronics sign in Meridian, Mississippi, one of the world’s largest musical instrument and pro audio equipment manufacturers.


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E8: Commencement 2019 for the Mississippi School of the Arts

Listen to the Mississippi School of the Arts’ Commencement 2019. Speakers include Dr. Sebrina Palmer, director of professional development and state special schools at the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), Dr. Nathan Oakley, Chief Academic Officer at MDE, Lydia Taylor (salutatorian), Zoe Holley (valedictorian), and Alysia Steele, the author of Delta Jewels. The commencement ends with a special composition by Patton Rice (Vocal Music instructor) entitled “To This We’ve Come,” sung by members of the MSA Chorale. Commencement was held May 23rd, 2019, at Hurst Auditorium, the fine arts center for Southwest Mississippi Community College. Episode 5 – Telling Stories with Alysia Burton Steele Suzanne Hirsch (executive director), Debra Henderson (principal), Photos by Tommie Hart and Tammy Stanford, Intro music by Thomas Hart (Media c/o 2018).


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E7: Michael Roy: An MSA Graduate and International Muralist

Mississippi School of the Arts welcomes Michael Roy, a first-year graduate of the visual arts program. After graduating from MSA in 2005, Michael attended the Memphis College of Art. He is an international muralist, having painted murals in cities all across America and countries such as Korea. In 2018, Michael came back home to MSA to paint a large mural on campus. Michael is the 2019 recipient of the MSA Alumni Hall of Fame. Join Suzanne Hirsch in conversation with Michael after the May 3rd awards day program. MSA Foundation and Brookhaven Trust Hosts Michael RoyMichael Roy on Instagramwww.birdcap.netMural Collective helps make Michael Roy mural a realityBirdcapStreet Artist Birdcap – On Community and Not Losing HopeWalt Grayson “Mississippi Roads” Arts Episode Suzanne Hirsch (host), Michael Roy (guest).


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E6: Rob Cooper: A Glass Artist from Jackson, Mississippi

In Episode 6 of the Creative Expression podcast, Emily Bishop, a senior visual artist at Mississippi School of the Arts, chats with Rob Cooper, a glass artist from his home city of Jackson, Mississippi. As a native of Jackson, Rob has seen many changes in the mid-town city arts scene. Emily gets into the grit about Rob’s job at Pearl River Glass Studio and how it has affected his artistic career. According to the Mississippi Arts Commission, while he has spent the last several years making work for commissions and gallery shows, Cooper plans to spend at least part of his Fellowship year deepening his knowledge of the history of the art form and trying to find ways to incorporate classic design elements into his own work. “I’m trying to re-educate myself and learn more about the history of stained glass and bringing that to what I do,” he says. “I don’t want to get too wrapped up in one style where that’s what I’m known for. That works great for getting recognition, but at the same time I don’t receive as much satisfaction from it,” said Cooper. Stained glass art is an interest of many. From church windows and historic homes, to private collections antique adorners, glass art remains in place a timeless artwork. According to Cooper, the process of creating stained glass hasn’t changed much since medieval times. Find out why in this audio podcast episode. Rob Cooper Art on InstagramPearl River Glass StudioRob Cooper spotlight – Mississippi Arts CommissionSouthern Glossary article Emily Bishop (Host, visual arts c/o 2019), Rob Cooper (Guest), Digital music by Thomas Hart (Media c/o 2018)


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E5: Telling Stories With Alysia Burton Steele

Alysia Burton Steele was invited to Mississippi School of the Arts as a 3-day artist-in-residence (Guest Artist Residency Program). During her stay, Steele interacted with students in the Literary department, Visual Arts photography class, and school-wide Diversity Club. Alysia is author of the book “Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom,” which is a collection of formal portraits and oral histories from elder African American church women, including civil rights activist Mrs. Myrlie Evers. The book was endorsed by Gloria Steinem and Roy Blount, Jr., to name a few, and highlights life during the Jim Crow era in Mississippi. In 2016, Mississippi Humanities Council named Steele the 2016 “Preserver of Mississippi Culture” award winner. Steele worked as an award-winning photojournalist and picture editor at newspapers for over 12 years, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Dallas Morning News, where she was part of the photo team that won the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News for their Hurricane Katrina coverage. She served as one of the picture editors. Steele earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, her master’s in photography from Ohio University and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Mississippi’s Arch Dalrymple III Department of History. She is currently working on her second book about the role of cotton in Mississippi with her husband Bobby D. Steele, Jr. She lives in Oxford, Mississippi. Grab a cup of coffee and join Clinnesha Sibley and Alysia Steele, as both accomplished authors converse together in this Creative Expression audio podcast episode. The pair discuss tips for high school artists, college preparation, and end with Delta Jewels, highlighting the importance of capturing oral histories. Hear how both artists gear up and unwind in each their own way. HistoryConversations S5E1514Books by Steele on Clinnesha Sibley (Host), Alysia Burton Steele (Guest), Music composition by Thomas Hart ’18.


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E4: Post-Workshop Talk With Eric Booth, The Father of Teaching Artists.

Teachers at Mississippi School of the Arts joined in a book study over the past several weeks. The book, entitled “The Everyday Work of Art,” introduces its readers to the real concept of art as a human being. Culminating the study was a workshop with the author of the book, Eric Booth. In this podcast, Suzanne Hirsch (executive director) engages in conversation to find out Eric’s thoughts on the work of art and everyday expression over the course of 22 years the book has been in existence. Eric also shares how teachers can engage the arts in their classroom by infusing the arts with academia. Eric Booth has performed in many plays on Broadway and around the country. He created the company Alert Publishing, analyzing research and trends in American lifestyles and publishing newsletters, books, and reports. He became a major figure in trend analysis, frequently quoted by the major media with interviews often appearing in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. He appeared as an expert on NBC News, Sunday Today, and several times on CNN. He was given a syndicated radio program on the Business Radio Network, and was a frequent speaker to business groups. He sold his company in 1991 in order to work full time on passion projects in arts learning. He has published six books as an author and referred to as one of the nation’s most creative teachers and a father of the teaching artist profession. He is the first person to receive an honorary doctoral degree (New England Conservatory, 2012) for teaching artistry. He received Americans for the Arts 2015 Arts Education Leadership Award, the most prestigious award in U.S. arts education — the first teaching artist ever to receive this award. He was named in the “Top 50 Most Powerful and Influential Leaders in the Nonprofit Arts (USA) for 2015” in Barry’s Blog, the only teaching artist, and only freelancer on the list. Eric Booth web siteBooks on Suzanne Hirsch (Host), Eric Booth (Guest), Instrumental music by Imani Skipwith (Literary c/o 2020).


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E3: 2018 MSA Chorale Fall Concert (Live Recording)

The award-winning, Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) Chorale presents the 2018 Fall Concert, featuring select pieces of music and holiday classics. Listen to Episode 3 of the Creative Expression podcast as MSA chorale members bring to you a beautiful rendition of select vocal pieces and arrangements from several composing artists. This event was recorded live in concert on December 14th, 2018 in Mary Jane Lampton Auditorium concert hall, located on the campus of Mississippi School of the Arts. Patton Rice (Director of Vocal Music), Cindy Hunter (Collaborative Accompanist). Lead-in vocal music (Ding, Dong Merrily on High) recorded during the 2016 MSA Chorale Fall Concert. 2018 MSA Chorale members in concert: SOPRANO: Margaret Boyd, Maleah Briggs, Jamira Jackson, Jessica Luke, Savana Mars, Abby Grace Matthews, Rachel Salassi, Abi Thomas, Aleece Williams, Amy Windham, Brickleigh Wolfe, Grace Wolff; ALTO: Maney Darby, Asia Ellis, Lauren Hite, Emma Murphree, Avery Neyland, Skylar Noblin-Laminack, Grace Payton; TENOR: Camden Dixon, Jimmy Foster, Elijah Karriem, Cedrick Smith; BASS: Jacob Browning, Christian McCance, Ryan Rushing, Telvin Thomas, Jeremy Wilson.


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E2: Mississippi School of the Arts: An Opportunity

The Mississippi School of the Arts celebrates 15 years of existence. In Episode 2 of this Creative Expression podcast, Suzanne Hirsch (Executive Director) gives insight of MSA’s purpose and achievements. We go inside the walls of the historic campus to give potential students and parents some clues why Mississippi School of the Arts is an opportunity for many throughout our state. Apply to Mississippi School of the ArtsAvailable Programs of StudyMississippi School of the Arts Scores Second in State on ACT Mississippi School of the Arts is a public, residential high school for eleventh and twelfth graders who are seeking advanced instruction in fine arts. More information about MSA is available on the official web site at Patrick Brown (Host), Suzanne Hirsch (Executive Director), digital music by Thomas Hart (Media Arts c/o 2018).


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E1: A Conversation With Clinnesha Sibley

In this inaugural episode of the Creative Expression podcast, we invited Clinnesha Sibley, the Literary Arts instructor at Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA), into the podcast studio. The conversation started with sharing her story of how she entered the arts scene as a child, her college years, the beginning of her career and the eventual transition to MSA. Clinnesha gave her insights of the literary world and offered some guidance. To end the show, we included a few clips of senior literary students reciting their work. We hope you enjoy the show. About the Literary Arts programLiterary Arts BlogspaceLiterary Instructor Joins Artists in Creative Community CohortBooks by Clinnesha D. Sibley Patrick Brown (Host) and Clinnesha Sibley (Literary Instructor). Senior literary student works: Katie Westbrook, Amaria Sumler, Jackson Palmer and Madison Cox, Photo: Clinnesha Sibley and Creative Community Fellows workshop in rural Vermont, digital music by Thomas Hart (Media Arts c/o 2018).