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 trainings 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 under-represented 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.
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".
Our community meet-ups are designed to strengthen personal and professional relationships. We encourage human connection through date nights, socials, and networking events for professionals.
The Creative Camp
Coming Up: June 2021
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 meta-artist who feels most accountable to southern, black citizen-artists, elders, children, and families.
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.