John Zheng, Chair and Professor of English at Mississippi Valley State University, has been awarded a $4,500 Literary Arts Fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC). This fellowship is a portion of the $1.34 million in grants the Commission awarded in 2014-2015 and will be used to do the fellowship-related activities such as creative writing. The grants are made possible by continued funding from the Mississippi State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.
“The arts in Mississippi are now being recognized as a key component to economic development and as a driver for creative strategies for the growth of our communities,” said Dr. Tom Pearson, Executive Director of MAC. “Individual artists play a vital role as really the backbone of this movement, and it is an honor for this agency to be a part of their professional growth.”
Zheng has been writing poetry since his graduate study at Southern Miss. His recent work using the genre of haibun, according to the panel, "exhibited a fascinating blend of cultures." Zheng feels that this form gives him more freedom to travel between past and present, memory and imagination, and different cultures.
The Mississippi Arts Commission is a state agency serving 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 the 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.