Gov. Phil Bryant has proclaimed 2014 as the "Year of the Creative Economy: Mississippi Homecoming."
The announcement came Wednesday during a ceremony in Jackson at the Power Academic and Performing Arts Complex.
According to Bryant, the "Year of the Creative Economy" will feature both ongoing events and new activities throughout the year and will highlight the state's vast talent across the creative spectrum and the impact it has on the local economy.
Invitations have already been sent out to several Mississippi-born celebrities like Oprah, Sela Ward, Jimmy Buffet and Morgan Freeman.
"We're asking them to come home in 2014. Come to the state in which you were born. The state that is truly your home," said Bryant.
The campaign is set be a 12- month celebration that provides an opportunity to showcase the people, communities and enterprises that are moving Mississippi’s economy forward.
According to Director of Tourism with the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce Kelli Cotton, Cleveland embraced a "Creative Economy" long before Bryant officially announced it.
"We have so many people that can and are contributing to our creative economy. A great example of creative economy is the Keep Cleveland Boring group and the Delta Arts Alliance.
“These entities and many others around Cleveland, create and host events that bring people into our town," said Cotton.
Cotton said that Bolivar County has so much room for growth and it is important that tourism is recognized because the county's creative system is actually an economic driver.
"People come in and spend money. When the Grammy Museum comes, people will not just come to Cleveland and leave, they are going to want to come into town and see what we have to offer," she said.
"Just by shared numbers of tourist, we are estimating that between 30-100 thousand people will visit the museum within the first year," Cotton added.
Malcolm White, tourism director for the Mississippi Development Authority, noted the economic impact of the creative economy.
"Mississippi's creative economy is a direct source of economic growth and wealth, accounting for more than 60,000 jobs across the state. We look at museums right next to manufacturing plants, and creative enterprises next to industrial facilities. From print shops and music venues to art galleries, restaurants and other innovative businesses, the creative economy provides sustainable economic contributions to the state," said White after Bryant's announcement.
Cotton said she believes the creative economy creates a lot of new industries within Bolivar County and encourages citizens to bring their artistic or industrial visions to life.
"I want people in the community to jump on this and if they have a dream they should jump on the opportunity because it is really going to pay off," she said.
"Whether it is the Country Music Trail, Freedom Trail or just a person making and selling guitars, its all just creating things for people to do as they visit our county. Hopefully the creative economy will lead to a great economic impact in our area," said Cotton.
For more information about Creative Economy in Mississippi, contact Mary Margaret White, Mississippi Development Authority Tourism’s bureau manager for Creative Economy & Culture, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601-359-5750, or Alan Henderson, Creative Economy program manager, at email@example.com or 601-359-3186.