Arts Institute of Mississippi

Arts Institute of Mississippi

The human desire for creative expression is universal and timeless, and at The University of Southern Mississippi, we are proud to work with tomorrow’s professional artists, graphic designers, dancers, choreographers, musicians, composers, conductors, actors, directors, set and costume designers, writers, filmmakers, and movers and shakers in the entertainment industry. We take the arts seriously, and are the only university in Mississippi accredited in all four areas of the performing and visual arts (music, dance, theatre, and art). 

In addition to our commitment to our academic departments in the arts, we are proud of the number and variety of arts events that we regularly present to the public. The College of Arts and Letters hosts arts events almost every night of the week during the fall and spring semesters, and many in the summer months. All of these are open to the public, and many are offered free of charge.

To find out what’s on our schedule this month, visit our interactive events calendar, The Buzz.


About AIM

The Arts Institute of Mississippi (AIM) was founded in 2015 as a special initiative of the College of Arts and Letters at The University of Mississippi to promote the arts statewide. Under the leadership of Dr. Jay Dean, AIM seeks to:

  1. Increase public awareness and promote the arts at the University of Southern Mississippi.
  2. Increase the connection between Southern Miss and other arts organizations in our state.
  3. Engage in educational and community outreach activities that reach all the way from pre-school children through growing retirement communities.
  4. Work with local and state governments to increase support for arts education and public arts.
  5. Encourage collaboration and public outreach among the Southern Miss arts departments—Music, Theatre, Art and Design, Dance, English (Creative Writing), and Mass Communication and Journalism (Entertainment Industry and Film)
  6. Recognize and encourage local and statewide arts initiatives and special projects
  7. Work with Partners for the Arts, an alliance between the Pine Belt Community and Southern Miss that provides funding for university arts events.
  8. Recognize outstanding artistic talent in in Mississippi.


About Jay Dean, DMA 

Dr. Jay DeanJay Dean is the Associate Dean for the Arts and Executive Director of the Arts Institute of Mississippi and Partners for the Arts. 

He has been the Music Director and conductor of the Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra since 1988. During his tenure the orchestra has grown into a university ensemble that has earned a distinguished national reputation.

Founded in 1919, the Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra is the oldest operating symphony orchestra in the state of Mississippi. It presents a number of annual subscription concerts per season in Hattiesburg, as well as many concerts throughout Mississippi. In addition to its regular symphonic concerts, the Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra performs as the orchestra for all opera and musical theatre productions.

In addition to his responsibilities at Southern Miss, Dean is also the Artistic Director of the Mississippi Opera in Jackson, MS, and the Natchez Festival of Music in Natchez, MS.  He is the Founding Artistic Director of FestivalSouth.



Learn More

We’d like to invite you to visit our department websites to learn more about the arts at Southern Miss:


To learn more about Partners for the Arts and how you can help support the arts in Mississippi, please visit Partners for the Arts.

For more information about A.I.M., please contact


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 Symphony Orchestra

School of Music 

School of Music


AIM on YouTube