The Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) announced today that it has been awarded a $100,000 matching grant from the Pittman Family Foundation.
The Pittman brothers, Bob and Tom, were raised in Brookhaven, Mississippi and graduated from Brookhaven High School. Bob went on to be a visionary in the world of technology, arts, and entertainment as the CEO and co-founder of MTV: Music Television; the former President and Chief Operating Officer of America Online, Inc. (AOL); is co-founder, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia; and served as Chairman of the Board of the New York Public Theater and as a board member of the New York City Ballet. Tom was President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, has chaired the Mississippi Association of Grantmakers, serves on Entergy Mississippi’s advisory board and as a Director of Mississippi Today. He was a charter board member for the DeSoto Arts Council.
The matching grant calls on donors to match 1:1 by December 2023, with the goal of building a substantial base of support to enhance the programming of the school. The Pittmans’ hope is that the donation will encourage others to financially support the state’s only residential art school, which is celebrating its 20th year of operations this year. MSA is one of only a handful of residential high school art schools in the country and has contributed to the growth of the Brookhaven downtown area through more than 50 performances, events, and guest artists residencies annually.
“Brookhaven gave us many opportunities and a supportive environment for growing up during our critical high school years,” said Bob and Tom Pittman. “We appreciate the creativity and vibrancy that the Mississippi School of Arts has brought to downtown Brookhaven, and the uplifting influences that its students have on the community.”
The grant from the Pittman Family Foundation will help MSA prepare its students, who come from across the state of Mississippi, to be productive citizens in society through career readiness, and will also allow MSA to continue and expand this valuable program.
Dr. Suzanne Hirsch, MSA’s Executive Director, said, “MSA creates artists who are confident in their own voices. Through this support, we will enhance our offerings that prepare these young artists to contribute to the rich artistic legacy for which Mississippi is known. Through career readiness seminars, guest artist residencies, and college preparatory programming, our students will leave high school ready for the arts industry as well as the workforce.”
Students are provided a multitude of opportunities to build a future for themselves through MSA programming. MSA consistently ranks in the top 3 ACT scores in the state and is presently #2. The accomplishments of these students, not only on the ACT but also in the national and state recognition they receive in their art areas, translates into scholarship money for college; more than 80% of MSA graduates receive scholarships for college. Hirsch attributes the high ACT scores and scholarship offers to several factors, including the total staff commitment and the emphasis MSA puts into preparation for the ACT, college, and career through its arts training, rigorous academic programs, and Junior/Senior Seminar classes.
To make a contribution toward the match, visit the school store at www.msabrookhaven.org and make a donation. You can also mail a check payable to the MSA Foundation at PO Box 229, Brookhaven, MS 39602-0229. Thank you for supporting the future of the arts in our state!