SHEENA BARNETT: Give thanks for the arts

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

If you’ve been on Facebook at all since the clock struck midnight on Nov. 1, you’ve no doubt seen your friends or family post about the things they’re thankful for this month.
It’s a simple premise: Each day you give thanks for something in your life, whether it’s family, job, church, your freedoms or any other number of things.
I’m thankful for those things, too, of course, but this year it seems I’ve had a life rich in the arts and entertainment, and so much of it has been local. Here are a few of the North Mississippi-based arts and entertainment I’m grateful for, in no particular order:
• Most folks from the rest of the country seem to think there’s nothing to do here, but nothing could be further from the truth. As arts supporter Shawn Brevard has said many times, if you’re bored in Tupelo or the surrounding area, it’s your own fault. We are blessed with excellent and talented community theaters, ballet and dance companies, art galleries, comedians, filmmakers, many talented painters and artists, and a plethora of outstanding musicians.
• I love Tupelo Community Theatre’s Haunted Theatre, which managed to practically scare the pants off of me again this year.
• In one building – the Link Centre – you can check out indie films and chat with the filmmaker; attend at least one excellent concert a month, in addition to a performance by the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra; laugh with our improv group, West of Shake Rag; or quote-along with your favorite movies with its new Words with Films series. That’s where my Album Club meets, too. Could one place get much cooler?
• Speaking of venues, we’re lucky to have good ones – BancorpSouth Arena, Blue Canoe, Proud Larry’s, The Lyric Oxford, just to name a few – that seem to know exactly what we want.
• Music, entertainment and pop culture stores are going extinct elsewhere, but in North Mississippi we have terrific locally owned stores like Album Alley, End of All Music, Poe Poez and Greatest Hits that provide us with our entertainment fix.
• Corinth Theatre-Arts is one of my favorite community theaters around. The Crossroads Playhouse is a cool space, and the folks there are super-talented and have so much fun – and it shows.
• Artists and entertainers deserve our cash, but sometimes the occasional freebie is nice. The Down on Main concert series is a fantastic addition to downtown, and it’s free to check out most art galleries around, like GumTree, Caron | Prince or Southside.
• Speaking of free, I’m convinced Oxford’s Thacker Mountain Radio is not just the best thing in Oxford, but maybe the coolest thing in the state and probably in the South.
So, what are you thankful for – and what are you doing this weekend?
Sheena Barnett is a Daily Journal reporter who concentrates on the arts and entertainment. Contact her at

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