SonEdna Plans for Its Future with Mississippi Arts Commission Grant

Friday, July 8, 2016

(Charleston, MS) — SonEdna has used its FY2016 grant of up to $20,000 from the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) to offer local literary programming and to undertake strategic planning for the development of a writers’ residency center. This grant is a portion of the $1.61 million in grants the Commission awarded in 2015-2016. The grants are made possible by continued funding from the Mississippi State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Our job at the Arts Commission is to be a catalyst for the arts in Mississippi,” said MAC Executive Director Malcolm White, who has devoted decades personally and professionally to supporting cultural offerings and the creative economy in the state.

“The Mississippi Delta has a rich history in the arts,” stated Myrna Colley-Lee, SonEdna founder. “And we are honored to build on that tradition by bringing remarkable writers from across the nation to our community. They enrich us with their art and insights, and we in turn expand their understanding of our state and people.”

Through the Commission grant, SonEdna was able to continue its partnership with Poetry for Life, an internationally acclaimed program that connects youth and elders through poetry recitation. The program was held at Tallahatchie General Hospital and was open to the public.

During the December 2015 event, Gary Glazner, founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, gave a talk on the Poetry for Life project and read classic and well-loved poems. Participants learned about Alzheimer’s, dementia, and memory loss, and developed techniques to engage elders through poetry recitation and call and response.

Matthew Floyd, Assistant Administrator at Tallahatchie General Hospital (TGH), spoke about the importance of such programs. “Providing families and caregivers with another tool to care for and interact with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients supports TGH’s primary goal of providing quality healthcare to the people of Tallahatchie county.”

In addition to direct programmatic support, the Commission grant has allowed SonEdna to plan for its future as a writers’ residency center within the town of Charleston. The literary organization will be renamed in honor and memory of E’dena Hines as part of this transition.

The Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, serves the residents of the state by providing grants that support programs to enhance communities; assist artists and arts organizations; promote the arts in education and celebrate Mississippi’s cultural heritage. Established in 1968, the Mississippi Arts Commission is funded by the Mississippi Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mississippi Endowment for the Arts at the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson and other private sources. The agency serves as an active supporter and promoter of arts in community life and in arts education. For information, visit