A Message from our Board President Regarding the COVID-19 Crisis...
Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by the novel Coronavirus, Covid-19. SMMEIIS is committed to the health and well-being of our partners, families, and the community. This means that we are temporarily suspending all activities through April 20, 2020 or the end of the mandated shelter-in-place orders. While we are not physically able to serve the community, we are active on Facebook at Southwest Mississippi Multiplex for Early Innovative Studies. In the meantime, please continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC and state health department. We look forward to engaging with the public in the near future.
SMMEIIS Board President
Welcome to the creative place.
Our mission is to grow the creative capacity of Southwest Mississippi residents, children, families, and citizen-artists by encouraging innovation and cultural appreciation in early phases of life.
SMMEIIS is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization based in McComb, Mississippi. We offer programs and integrated services that are designed to inspire, inform, uplift, and nurture vulnerable communities. Through the promotion of responsible citizenship and authentic representation, our mission is to grow the creative capacity of Southwest Mississippi residents, children, families, and citizen-artists by encouraging innovation and cultural appreciation in early phases of life.
As a community center, we provide access to incubation and meeting/rehearsal space. We host workshops, professional/gift development, and training for visionaries, educators, youth developers, social entrepreneurs, and future leaders.
As an art commons, we provide opportunities and access to incubation space for youth and adults who are historically underrepresented in the fields of literary, visual, media and performing arts.
As a research agency, we measure our impact, reporting ways in which cross-pollinating arts, social innovation, and child/family focus can boost self-esteem, reduce educational barriers, encourage leadership, create workplace and home happiness, promote unity, and transform communities.
We envision a safe community where marginalized people embrace their social responsibilities and are compelled to use their voices and talents to empower themselves and others. We envision an aware community where people understand root causes and can speak truthfully about the past to improve multigenerational relationships and combat systemic racism.
Jacqueline Nobles Dillon has a B.S. (1970) and Master’s (1977) Degree in Special Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. She was a dedicated teacher in the McComb School District who retired twice, once in 1996 and again in 2003.
Jacqueline remained busy throughout her retirement, becoming Director of D & D Learning Center where she tutored (assessed, remediated, and diagnosed) children between 5 and 15 years of age. In 2003, she started her own non-profit organization called the O.N.A. Foundation (Operation Noah’s Ark). More than 15 years after its founding, O.N.A. developed a new identity and became Southwest Mississippi Multiplex for Early Innovative Intervention Studies (SMMEIIS).
Jacqueline is a two-time recipient of The Outstanding Elementary Teacher of America Award. She has also been Teacher of the Year for the McComb School District eight times and was once Substance Abuse Teacher of the Year. Jacqueline was honored by the Mississippi Association for Children with Learning Disabilities for her invaluable service and cooperation. She was also received the Outstanding Woman in the Community Award by the McComb Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club.
Meet Mutiyat Ade-Salu, Our Summer 2020 Artist-In-Residence
Mutiyat Ade-Salu is an actress, vocalist, playwright, producer and educator. She holds a Master's Degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Louisville and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in Music and African-American Theatre. She is a recipient of the Distinguished Performance by an Actress Award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (Region IV), a Talent Division Winner and 2nd runner up for the 2018 national title of Miss Black America Coed, and was the 2018 Playwright-in-Residence at Fehinty African Theatre Ensemble. Mutiyat published her previous play Sunny Came Home on Amazon Kindle and recently founded The WAY Studio, based on her acting innovation The WAY Method. Learn more about her work at www.meetmutiyat.com.
Memoirs of A Conflicted American, A One-Woman Show
In the styles of both choreopoem and verbatim theatre, Memoirs of A Conflicted American is a series of monologues based on the playwright’s personal observations and collected news stories regarding multiple cases of White police brutality against Black Americans in the 2010s. With 10 monologues interspersed with familiar and adapted anthems, Memoirs captures the pain and confusion of a variety of characters ranging from an optimistic 4-year old girl to a raging 48-year old man to a skeptical 88-year old woman. Traveling on a risky journey, this short play imagines the theme of “family vs. self” on personal, racial, and national levels.
Click the following link to download a comprehensive study guide for this show:
*This project was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Mississippi Humanities Council.
Up close with Mutiyat!
Mutiyat Ade-Salu, creator of "Memoirs..." discusses identity, police brutality, social justice, and more in this exclusive interview with SMMEIIS' EAD, Clinnesha Sibley.
A place with resources is a place for growth.
Building and strengthening the skills of our community is a pressing priority. We offer training in the areas of artistic practice, racial equity, justice and human rights, innovative entrepreneurship, technology-based learning, and organization-building or "writing the vision".
August 2020: Health Equity with Dr. Darrin Jackson
Our community conversations are designed to inform and raise awareness about vital community issues. We present to you "Health Equity: Surviving Coronavirus While Black". Sites mentioned in the interview include:
Grace Health Clinic: http://www.thegracehealthclinic.com/
The Creative Camp
Coming Up: June 2022
Young visionaries who participate in our summer program grasp concepts in STEAM, idea/gift development, creative/critical thinking, innovative leadership, and social entrepreneurship by way of creative play, team-building, and project-based learning.
Through interviews/conversations/panel discussions, our elders share their experiences about growing up in the south and how past race relations have shaped our present socio-political/educational views. Dialogues are recorded and made available to the public via podcast.
Arts & culture
The Arts are an expression of culture and culture reflects people.
Our theatre program exposes underserved audiences to transformative, educational, and inspirational theatre. We stage stories and live performances that raise awareness and provide opportunities for youth and adults to learn techniques in playwriting, acting, directing, and theatrical design.
The PIZZAZZ Dance Troupe
Our non-competitive, performance based dance education program is for girls ages 4-18. We teach self-esteem, character development, and basic dance concepts centered around the following genres: modern, contemporary, theatrical, experimental, lyrical, jazz, and liturgical/praise. Parents and the community can follow PIZZAZZ on Facebook. Family Accounts can be managed through The Studio Director online parent portal.
Our celebration of literary arts and oral lore promotes local writers/ authors and historians/ storytellers through a community book fair and publication Q & A. In addition, young writers from the Southwest Mississippi region are invited to submit creative pieces (prose, fiction, plays, essays, or poetry) that promote racial justice and healing. Their work gets developed through a mentoring process, shared with the public, and published in an anthology.
Artist Residencies & Enrichment
We collaborate with cultural workers, creative professionals, actors, directors, designers, choreographers, and hybrid artists who are passionate about doing meaningful work in Mississippi. Artists may be invited or may apply when applications are available. SMMEIIS also sends teaching artists out into the community to provide arts enrichment to school districts, organizations, civic and church groups, and educational entities.
Clinnesha Dillon Sibley, a native of McComb, Mississippi, is a published author, community leader, and educator. She promotes creative-mindedness—believing that visual, performing, and literary arts can change the way we think about some of life’s most important questions.
A writer of plays, poetry, essays, and prose/fiction, Clinnesha has received numerous awards including the Holland New Voices Award, the Arkansas Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, and the Mississippi Theatre Association Adult Playwriting Award. Her writing has also appeared in national literary journals, anthologies, and various publications and anthologies. She is also on the Mississippi Humanities Council Speaker's Bureau.
Clinnesha received her B.A. at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, where she was a 2003 initiate into the Gamma Psi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and was the 2005-2006 Miss Tougaloo College. She received her M.F.A. (Master of Fine Arts Degree) from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. As both a student and an Assistant Professor at the U of A, Clinnesha was a diversity champion and a key woman educator in the arts. She proudly served the College of Charleston in South Carolina as an Assistant Professor of Playwriting where her mission was to empower students to cultivate their unique voice and write fearlessly, without limits. After teaching at the college/university level for seven years, she moved into secondary residential education. She has taught at The Historic Piney Woods School and is currently the Literary Arts Instructor at Mississippi School of the Arts.
Clinnesha was selected as one of twenty-four "change-makers" across the United States for the 2017-2018 National Arts Strategies Creative Communities Fellow Program. This program was her springboard into the non-profit sector and social entrepreneurship. A 2019 recipient of a “Rise Grant” from Women on the Rise Network and a 2020 recipient of the Arts Institute of Mississippi (AIM) Award, Clinnesha is a literary artist who believes .in order to reach total fulfillment, one must "replace [their] pursuit of success with the pursuit of contribution".
She is married to her high school sweetheart, Keith Sibley, and they have three children: Kaylee, Karlee, and Keith Jr.
Our work would not be possible without these amazing collaborators.