The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Starkville Area Arts Council promotes creative endeavors throughout the community

Starkville is a charming town, known for its austral disposition and characteristic magnolia trees. Despite the irony in considering Starkville as a town which advances one’s cultural literacy, the Starkville Area Arts Council has fashioned our city into a venue that encompasses a promotion of the arts.

According to the SAAC’s official Facebook page, “the SAAC serves as the premier umbrella for the multitude of arts organizations in the Starkville and MSU communities.”

Ellen Boles, president of the SAAC, said various events the organization carries out for the city of Starkville improve the quality of life in the city.

“The Starkville Area Arts Council enhances the quality of life in Starkville through its support of community arts organizations such as the Starkville-MSU Symphony, the Community Theater, the Heritage Museum, the Templeton Ragtime/Jazz Festival, art exhibits, etc,” she said.  “SAAC also provides opportunities for participation in the arts such as the Cotton District Arts Festival, the Everything Garden Expo, the Magnolia Independent Film Festival and others.”

Boles said the events impact Starkville’s affluence and its overall appeal for potential residents.

“These are the things that contribute to economic development by making Starkville an attractive place to live,” she said. “SAAC continually strives to ensure the perpetuation of the arts by offering college arts scholarships, scholarships for summer study in the arts, art instruction to children at the Boys and Girls Club and grants for arts-related projects in the schools.”

Lorrin Webb, Chair of Art in Public Places, a branch of SAAC, spoke on her involvement in the organization, including spearheading a new project.

“I am in charge of organizing the quarterly art shows we have on display at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, as well as a new project, the Starkville Mural Collective, which I began to organize as soon as I was nominated for chair this past fall,” she said. “The Starkville Mural Collective organizes and supports murals or mural artists and is focused on bringing more public art to Main Street or University Drive.”

Boles said the SAAC played a vital role in every aspect of this past weekend’s Cotton District Arts Festival.

“The Cotton District Arts Festival is sponsored, supported and implemented by the SAAC.  The festival co-chairs and committee members are volunteers with the SAAC.  CDAF is funded through the SAAC and proceeds are used to provide the grants and scholarships given in the community each year,” she said.

The SAAC additionally hosts the Forks and Corks culinary arts event, the annual Gala and Silent Auction, pumpkin decorating at Pumpkin Palooza downtown, Art in the Garden tours, Art in Public Places exhibits and receptions (GSDP Welcome Center, Mayor’s Office, Starkville Women’s Clinic and more) and occasional seasonal events.  

Fresh events that have recently been added to the laundry list of SAAC affairs include the Artists’ Studio Tour on May 10 and a Pinot and Paint workshop/party for inexperienced artists.

Webb conveyed her desire for students to become involved in the SAAC to expand the alliance amongst young artists and local art ventures.

“I think there should be more of a solid relationship between the MSU art students/school and the greater Starkville artist community,” she said. “At present, I feel that there is not a great enough relationship and is why I am organizing the Starkville Community Mural Collective. It brings both students and local artists together to collaborate on public arts projects.”

There are currently over 300 members in the SAAC. Membership is open to all, and the price of joining ranges from as little as $10 per year for students to $30 annually for other individuals. 

Boles expressed the organization’s endorsement of various features of the art world and its link to Mississippi State University. She said the group urges students to join and acquire an avenue to showcase their own artwork.

“SAAC has supported visiting artists, art receptions, theater productions and music offerings at MSU.  We encourage involvement of MSU students in our events and as members of the organization,” she said.  “We sponsor a $100 prize at the MSU Student Juried Art Show every spring. SAAC has its own fine art exhibits in the GSDP Welcome Center year-round.  MSU students are encouraged to submit art work to be included in our shows.”

Membership envelopes are available at all SAAC events and at the organization’s office at 101 S. Lafayette Street, Suite 18.  Additional information about the SAAC can be found at or call 662-324-3080.


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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Starkville Area Arts Council promotes creative endeavors throughout the community