Celebrating Mississippi's artists, musicians, and writers
Each year the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters honors creative individuals with an award in their specific field. The prestigious awards, first made in 1980, are presented in seven categories: Fiction, Non-fiction, Visual Art, Musical Composition (Concert), Musical Composition (Popular), Photography, and Poetry. The Institute's juried competition is one of a kind in the state. Our carefully selected judges, chosen from out of state, are prominent in their field. Supported by Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning, MIAL is privately funded, self-perpetuating, and non-profit.
In 1978, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters (MIAL) was dreamed up by a few discerning individuals, including former Governor William Winter and Dr. Cora Norman both of Jackson, Dr. Aubrey Lucas and Dr. Noel Polk both of Hattiesburg, and Mrs. Keith McLean of Cleveland. These founding members knew that among Mississippi's greatest riches are our artists, writers, and musicians, who must be supported, nurtured, and recognized. To see a list of Charter Members, click here.
Shown above are the 2016 winners at the awards banquet in Jackson, Mississippi: (L to R) Ron Dale (Noel Polk Lifetime Achievement), R. Flowers Rivera (Poetry), Mac McAnally (Contemporary Composition), Taylor Kitchings (Fiction), Joseph T. Reiff (Nonfiction), Maude Schuyler Clay (Photography), Martha Ferris (Visual Arts), William Baggett (Noel Polk Lifetime Achievement), and Tim Coker (accepting Classical Composition award for Samuel Jones).
2016 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. All rights reserved.