Alcorn’s Jazz Festival to receive the prestigious 2022 Governor’s Arts Award

In its 40th year, the Alcorn State University annual Jazz Festival is recognized as a staple in Mississippi.

The festival is a recipient of the 2022 Governor’s Arts Award. The “Arts in Community Award” will be presented to Alcorn during a ceremony Thursday, Feb. 10, at 6 p.m. at the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson, Mississippi. The ceremony and reception are free and open to the public. Mississippi Public Broadcasting will televise the show Friday, Feb. 18, at 8 p.m.

Alcorn's Jazz Festival provides free workshops with world-renowned performing artists to educate community members about the arts.

This recognition is special for Dr. David Miller, director of the Festival and professor of music.

“It’s gratifying for the Festival to receive the Governor’s Arts Award,” said Miller. “This award brings recognition to the University and Department of Fine Arts. The festival is the longest-running and most prestigious jazz festival in the state that has attracted students, musicians, and audiences worldwide. The festival has become my life’s work, and it means a lot for the festival to receive the highest award given to artists and arts organizations in the state.”

From its humble beginnings as a campus event to becoming a two-day event in multiple locations, Miller is proud of how far the festival has come.

“Since I started directing the festival, it has grown from a small event on campus to a multi-day event that takes place on campus and in Vicksburg. Bands have come from all over the country to participate in the festival. This event has influenced so many students and adults over its history,” Miller said.

Miller notes that many jazz greats have attended the Festival.

“So many of the greatest names in jazz history have been guest artists at the Festival. It means a lot that the event is finally recognized for the many things that it has done for the University, community, Mississippi, and beyond,” he said.

In its 34th year, the Governor’s Arts Awards are given to individuals and organizations to recognize outstanding work in the artistic disciplines and arts-based community development and arts patronage in Mississippi. The celebration comes as a partnership between the Mississippi Arts Commission and the Governor’s Office.