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Mississippi cultural group raising funds to open arts pavilion in Vicksburg

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Members of the Mississippi Commission for International Cultural Exchange with a "porcelain princess."

The Mississippi Commission for International Cultural Exchange held a reception Aug. 26 at the Mississippi Barbeque Company (700-798 Grove St.) to provide details about funding the construction of the proposed Mississippi International Arts Pavilion in Vicksburg.

MCICE Chairman Blake Teller thanked hosts Ashley and Dale Jennings, owners of the Mississippi Barbeque Company. He then passed the torch to MCICE Executive Director Jack Kyle who went into detail about the pavilion’s purpose and the impact it would have on the City of Vicksburg.

MCICE executive director Jack Kyle having a discussion about the MS International Arts Pavilion. Photo by Gabrielle Terrett for Vicksburg Daily News

“The City of Vicksburg has donated the land to us for this pavilion,” Kyle said. “The land they have given us is located near the Vicksburg Convention Center, basically in the downtown area. This will bring more revenue to the city because there are local shop owners, restaurant owners and people who live in the downtown area.”

“The building is projected to cost about $30 million dollars,” he said, and indicated that the cost was within the parameters of other cultural structures recently built in Mississippi. Kyle also introduced the Porcelain Princess statutes as a fundraising tool for project.

“Now the purpose of these Porcelain Princess statues—we have a limited edition of thirty of them—is trying to get them placed around the city to raise awareness and funds for the Mississippi Arts Pavilion,” he said. “Hopefully people will see them and ask, ‘What’s that all about?’ and that would give us an outlet to talk about our plans to build the Arts Pavilion and how we’re raising the funds to do so by selling these pieces for $2,000.”

Porcelain Princess. Photo by Gabrielle Terrett for the Vicksburg Daily News.

Kyle stressed the importance of the pavilion being located in Vicksburg and provided specific reasons why the city is the best candidate for the site.

“We feel that this Pavilion will be a tremendous success in Vicksburg because Vicksburg is unique in the state,” Kyle said. “This city is home to one of the largest tourist attractions in the state of Mississippi, the Vicksburg National Military Park which brings in about 650,000 annual visitors.

“Secondly, we’re located on the Mississippi River and have all these passenger riverboats, and I understand that by 2020 about 50,000 visitors are expected to come into Vicksburg on those riverboats.

“Thirdly, we’re on a major interstate corridor between Atlanta, Ga., and Dallas, Texas. The population of those two major cities and all the towns on the interstate-20 corridor is about 20 million people, so that’s going to be one of our major target areas as well.”

The MCICE plans to have another reception focused on informing the public about the pavilion and also selling copies of the porcelain princess. The event will take place Sept. 6 at 5:30 p.m. and will be hosted by the McRaven Tour Home (1445 Harrison St.).

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