Pike School of Art – Mississippi (PSA-MS) is a space for interdisciplinary creative experimentation where artists and writers with diverse backgrounds and proficiencies come together and interact in a rural setting in America’s Deep South. PSA-MS offers residencies, workshops, talks, and space for art-making and discursive research. Activities take place in and near the city of McComb and the town of Summit in Pike County, Mississippi.
PSA-MS encourages artwork and curatorial or writing projects that create articulations about the Deep South, including Mississippi’s and Louisiana’s histories of conflict and adjustment between Old and New World societies and Europeans’ early relationship with the indigenous populations. Projects about the ongoing African-American struggle to achieve full participation in American society are especially welcome.
Activities are based in the residency facilities with excursions to regional cultural centers that may include Jackson, the state capital (Mississippi Museum of Art, the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, the Old Capitol Museum, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s campus, the International Museum of Muslim Cultures), Biloxi (Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art campus, designed by Frank Gehry, and Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis’ home and presidential library), and Natchez (Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and the Natchez Trace Parkway).
Two-week residencies include two days in New Orleans with visits to Prospect New Orleans (when in session), the Contemporary Arts Center, the McKenna Museum of African American Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Louisiana State Museum, including the Cabildo and the Presbytère. A side trip to Baton Rouge includes a visit to the Capitol Park Museum, designed by New Orleans-based studio Eskew+Dumez+Ripple and completed in 2006.
About Pike, County, Mississippi
Pike County is located in the southwest part of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 40,404. Pike County is named for explorer Zebulon Pike, who led the expedition, sent out by President Thomas Jefferson, to explore and document the southern portion of the Louisiana territory. There are two cities, McComb and Magnolia (the county seat), and two towns, Summit and Osyka, in Pike County.
McComb, the largest city in Pike County, is about 80 miles (130 km) south of Jackson and 100 miles north of New Orleans, Louisiana (120 km). As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 13,644. The climate in southern Mississippi is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters.
McComb has a troubled past. During the 1960s, McComb and nearby areas were the site of extreme violence by the KKK and other opponents to the Civil Rights movement. In 1961, it was the location of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s (SNCC) first voter registration project in the state, which was quickly met with violence and intimidation by authorities and the local KKK. SNCC members of the Council of Federated Organizations worked in McComb in mid-July of 1964 on voter registration. From late August 1964 through September, after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, McComb was the setting for eleven bombings directed against African-Americans. The following summer, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and African-Americans could register and vote again in vote again in Mississippi, after more than a century of disenfranchisement.