Southern Cultural Heritage Center boasts of ‘phenomenal’ year

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 21, 2009

Southern Cultural Heritage Center Foundation Executive Director Annette Kirklin called 2009 a ‘phenomenal’ year at the center’s annual meeting

Fifty-five SCHF members and friends gathered at the center’s auditorium to hear the year in review and words from guest speaker Gary Turner, Southern Region Director of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps.

SCHC Events

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• The second annual Holly Days Arts and Crafts Show will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 5. Admission is $1.

• The Renaissance Madrigal Dinner will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 10-12. Tickets are $25.

• Vicksburg’s Bill Ferris will sign “Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues” at 4 p.m. Dec. 14 at Lorelei Books,

• The Saint Joseph Community Orchestra Christmas Concert featuring the Alcorn State University choir is scheduled for 3 p.m. Dec. 13. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

Call 601-631-2997 or e-mail, or visit for more information.

Kirklin reported the number of visitors to the center increased 15 percent from last year, making a total of 8,350 people who have participated in a wide variety of activities including all programs and building rentals. Membership also grew to 555 from across the country.

For fiscal year 2009, Kirklin said the center drew in $211,748, but operated on $196,635.

“The cultural center has had a great year,” said Nancy Bell, president of the foundation.

The SCHF offered more than 75 events over the year including art workshops and classes, dance lessons and exercise classes, lectures and book-signings, musical concerts and a host of children’s activities.

This year, the center brought back many events, featured new events and even took over one.

The second Classics in the Courtyard, which featured local music and cuisine, drew in more than 750 people for the four concerts.

The Holly Days Arts and Crafts Show, which will feature over 30 area vendors, is also making a return on Dec. 5.

In February, the SCHC had teamed up with Saint Joseph Orchestra in Tensa Parish, La., and presented the first Rhapsody on the River, a dinner and musical program. Another first was the Chocolate Affair, in which Kirklin said is in high demand and will be making a return May 6.

In addition to all scheduled events, the SCHF took over as the new sponsor for the annual Over the River Run, an event Kirklin said will be making a return.

She said the event drew about 600 people and raised more than $13,600. Bell said the money, less event expenses, will be used toward a new sound system for the 124-year-old auditorium.

During the meeting, three new board members were welcomed. Linda Fondren, Don Jarratt and Maria Adona were added to the 18-member panel.

“I’m excited to participate in something that I think is the wealth of this community,” Fondren said. “The arts and the culture defines who we are as a community.”

Fondren said she has some ideas to bring to the center, but she said she will be doing some listening first.

After all the recognition of the center’s support cast, Kirklin welcomed the guest speaker from AmeriCorps.

Turner, who oversees 11 states, said, “The city has opened up and accepted us.”

He spoke of the service AmeriCorps volunteers provided, since arriving in July, for the SCHF and other community-based organizations.

“We have a two-fold initiative,” Turner began, “to assist the community with rebuilding themselves by engaging people in service. The second is to develop leaders for this country.”

About 160 AmeriCorps volunteers are housed at the former All Saints’ Episcopal School campus on Confederate Avenue.


Contact Manivanh Chanprasith at