Students of all arts disciplines at Mississippi School of the Arts collaborated for this year’s 2024 Black History Month Production. King Alvarado, an MSA alumna and executive director/ artistic director of Southern Black Arts Council, provided the artistic direction through a series of workshops with staff and students. Workshops were held during a guest artist residency with Alvarado in the fall and winter of 2023/2024.

Alvarado placed a set of core values and projected outcomes for the project, with a few adjustments, culminating into what you’ll see in the recorded version of the performance. “By staying true to our mission, vision, and theme of this production, we aspire to make a significant display of culture and understanding to our community and create a lasting legacy of creativity, inspiration, and cultural enrichment,” – Alvarado


An ensemble of dancers will perform the opening number, introducing the theme of Black History through the decades. Two other numbers will highlight black cultures influence in swing and modern dance.


Actors will write scenes between various black pioneers and inventors sharing their stories of impact on society, an art gallery scene, a sports scene and a present -day scene of reflection.

Visual Art

Artists will create portraits, sculptures and landscapes/scenes of prominent figures and events that are relevant to the production theme. Some will be featured in the art gallery scene and films.

Vocal Music

A chorus of singers will perform a selection that aligns with the theme of the production. Furthermore, the music department will fulfill the soundtrack and vocal needs for the production as needed via pre-recording.


The film department will develop a news-like film to highlight one decade of influence and impact from black creators, creatives, etc. The second film will be an abstraction of what life would be like without all the inventions of black creators.


Students will study the writing styles of black writers across various disciplines (playwrights, poets, authors, etc.), and submit creative writings inspired by those styles. Some writings will be featured in the scenes of the production.

See how the collaborative efforts of the residency came alive in the Black History Month 2024 Celebration Performance 


This residency and performance were funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mississippi Arts Commission.