HATTIESBURG -- Ten
community leaders have joined the Partners for the Arts board of
directors for 2003-2004. Charles Brown, Nollie Felts, Kaye Chambless,
Peter Ciurczak, Michael Marks, Karen Mannoni, Tammy Martin, Richard
Jones, Linda McMurtrey, and Rachel Shemper-Schwartz, all of Hattiesburg,
will assist the board's newly elected chair, Meg Puckett, and sitting
board members in supporting the arts at The University of Southern
"We at Southern Miss are extremely fortunate
to have an organization totally devoted to the arts and its outreach
to our community," said Kristy Gould, development officer for
the College of Arts and Letters at Southern Miss. "Together
we have done things for both Southern Miss students and the entire
community that we otherwise could not have accomplished."
Gould especially sees this new set of board members,
all proven leaders in the community, as an asset to the organization.
"The board is a compilation of citizens from
many facets of the community that brings a wealth of knowledge to
the organization," Gould stated. "These new faces will
add yet another perspective on how we in the College can serve south
The leadership experience, especially in arts education,
of the new board members joining Puckett for the new term of office
is vast: Brown, local business owner; Felts, a retired physician;
Chambless, a private music teacher and former director of the Community
Arts School; Ciurczak, retired director of the School of Music at
Southern Miss; Marks, drama teacher at Hattiesburg High School and
arts advocate; Mannoni, arts advocate and wife of the late Dr. Raymond
Mannoni, dean of the former College of The Arts at Southern Miss;
Martin, development director for Sacred Heart School; Jones, local
business owner and Hattiesburg's ADP vice chair; McMurtrey, retired
historic preservationist now working with the Historic Hattiesburg
Downtown Association; and Shemper-Schwartz, community volunteer
and arts advocate.
Since 1997, Partners for the Arts has supported wholeheartedly
the arts programs at Southern Miss. The organization was founded
as an alliance between the community and the university to enhance
the arts in Hattiesburg and surrounding areas. Recently, the organization
restructured its role with the university.
"Since our inception, the Partners' role was
limited to supplying funding for events and programs that mainly
benefited its members and the community at large," said Nancy
Guice of Laurel, past chair of the advisory board for Partners.
"Having seen first-hand the exceptional programs offered here
and having been privy to the many talents of the faculty and students,
we have adjusted our role to better serve the arts at Southern Miss
and their educational outreach needs."
Gould said the new plan allows for a more streamlined
approach for fund raising that will "provide better visibility
for all arts programs and relieve the community of the constant
pressure to support numerous projects annually."
After extensive planning, the Partners advisory board
became the umbrella fund-raising organization for Southern Miss'
arts programs. Freedom of choice played a crucial role in the adoption
of this plan.
"What this means is that Partners for the Arts
will serve the arts as the Eagle Club serves athletics," said
Dr. Elliott Pood, dean of the College of Arts and Letters and Partners'
executive director. "Sponsorship to the arts through this unique
alliance during the academic year of July to June will automatically
make the donor a Partner at levels designated by the amount of the
New board president Puckett also adds that Partners
benefits the community at large. "Our partnership not only
positively affects the Southern Miss arts education efforts but
promotes the arts in the larger community and in schools who are
now having to downsize their arts program because of lack of funding.
We can help bring world-class cultural events to all students."
For the 2004-05 membership year, Partners has committed
to sponsorship of the New York Voices concert Sept. 24, guest artist
lecturer Faith Ringgold Sept. 23; and providing a master class with
flutist Sir James Galway Oct. 5. The organization also supported
the recent Independence Day celebration presented by the Symphony
Orchestra--the July 2 Mississippi Holiday Spectacular.
"Not only will these events be great arts events
for all of us to attend, but will include performances and educational
opportunities for local K-12 schools and our own university students,"
The 2004-05 Partners for the Arts membership
campaign is currently under way. For more information, contact Gould
at the College of Arts and Letters at (601) 266-5922 or e-mail