Bologna Performing Arts Center

$10,000 Monsanto grant to fund BPAC spring break camp

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A recent grant from the Monsanto Fund will fund a spring break camp focused on helping young students explore the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Local Monsanto employees recommended the Bologna Performing Arts Center be awarded the $10,000 grant from their companies’ Monsanto Fund’s 2016 site grant initiative.

Funds from the grant will be used towards the S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Spring Break Camp. The camp seeks to gather campers looking for a challenge and a creative and comprehensive experience that extends beyond their academic year. Creative thinkers and explorers are encouraged to attend.

“We are excited to partner with the Science department here on Delta State’s campus to offer a S.T.E.A.M. Camp during the spring break week of 2017.  The visual arts work so nicely with math and science, as you use many of the same problem solving skills and creativity,” said Joannah Taylor, BPAC’s arts education coordinator.

This year, the Monsanto Fund awarded more than $1.4 million to nonprofit organizations through its site grant initiative to help address essential needs in rural communities. Nonprofit organizations across the U.S. have received more than $7.5 million through this program over the last five years.

The BPAC is dedicated to providing exceptional artistic and educational opportunities to children in the Mississippi Delta region. Through its affiliation with Delta State University, it is able to offer a variety of programming to suit the needs of local families, school children, and educators.  BPAC has a long history of providing interactive camp experiences for young people through their Janice Wyatt Mississippi Summer Arts Institute.

The purpose of the Delta State University Foundation is to foster private financial support for Delta State University, such as the Bologna Performing Arts Center.  The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at

Tickets will be on Sale July 18 for 2016-2017 BPAC Season

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Tickets to the 2016-2017 Season at the Bologna Performing Arts Center (BPAC) at Delta State University will go on sale Monday, July 18, at 9:30 a.m. at the BPAC Ticket Office.

Tickets can be purchased by phone at 662-846-4626, online via the BPAC’s website, and Facebook page

The BPAC announced its 2016-2017 Season last month to much excitement. The line-up features a total of 23 performances across four series: Main Stage, featuring evening public performances; Family Series, geared at theatergoers of all ages; Recital Hall Series, featuring classical music; School-Time Matinee Series, providing educational opportunities for preK-12 students; and two free community performances. Additional information on all performances, including videos, can be found online.

There are 10 performances on the Main Stage lineup: Travis Tritt with special guest Luke Combs on September 15, sponsored by Bolivar Medical Center; The Avett Brothers on October 4, sponsored by Guaranty Bank; Mavis Staples and the Blind Boys of Alabama on October 20, sponsored by Cannon Motors of Mississippi; Parsons Dance Company on November 10, funded in part by South Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); Elf The Musical on December 2, sponsored by Planters Bank. In 2017: Alonzo King LINES Ballet on January 31, presented in conjunction with the USA International Ballet Competition and funded in part by South Arts and the NEA; STOMP on February 28; 42nd Street on March 20; THE ILLUSIONISTS on March 30; and Josh Turner on April 27, sponsored by Robinson Electric.

There are three performances in the new Family Series, geared towards theatregoers of all ages: Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China on October 11; “Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Other Treasured Stories by Eric Carle” on November 6, sponsored by Heidi’s; and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live! on January 24.

The new Recital Hall Series features 2 classical music performances: Los Angeles Guitar Quartet on October 6, and Sybarite5 on March 21. Tickets to the Recital Hall series include a complimentary social hour with hors d’oeuvres before the performance.

The School-Time Matinee Series will feature “A Year with Frog and Toad” sponsored by Monsanto on October 25; a matinee performance by Parsons Dance Company on November 9; “Pete the Cat” sponsored by Entergy on November 18; a matinee performance by Alonzo King LINES Ballet on February 1; Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live! sponsored by Walmart on February 23; and Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters on April 12 sponsored by AT&T.

There is also two free community performances planned for April 2017. “Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till” that is presented in partnership with Delta State University’s Winning the Race initiative and sponsored by the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. On April 5, the U.S. Army Field Band’s Concert Band and Soldiers’ Chorus will perform a free concert presented by the BPAC. Tickets for both events will be free, but required, and will be available beginning March 1.

The 2016-2017 Season is the 22nd Season of performances at the BPAC. For information on group tickets or any other questions, please call the Main Offices at 662.846.4625.

BPAC hosts Janice Wyatt Mississippi Summer Arts Institute PLUS Camp for 19th summer

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Now in its 19th year, the Janice Wyatt Mississippi Summer Arts PLUS Camp is in full swing at the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Over 100 children ages 5 to 11 are all smiles as they gear up for a week of singing, dancing, and creating.  Each July, the Bologna Performing Arts Center offers PLUS Camp to children who are interested in the arts. The camp is a one-week, performance-oriented day camp centered on learning a choreographed medley of songs.

Throughout the week, young artists take classes in painting, ceramics, music, storytelling, and musical. The week culminates with a public performance on Saturday.

This year’s theme is “Misfits of Broadway,” featuring music from the plays Annie, Peter Pan, Aladdin, and Newsies.  Kathy Hull has returned to PLUS Camp as Musical Director. Hull, of Nashville, has been with PLUS Camp’s every summer since it began. She was recently named a Music Teacher of Excellence by the Country Music Academy.

“We are so grateful to have Kathy and are thankful for her dedication to see this program grow and flourish each year. It’s amazing what she can do with these young people in such a short window of time,” said Joannah Taylor, arts education coordinator at the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Carrie Sue Alvar, a bilingual storyteller from Miami Beach, Florida, and a Mississippi Arts Commission teaching artist, also has returned to participate in the camp.

“The campers have already been telling a story in Spanish, English, and American Sign Language. Even in this first day, they have been creating and telling their own stories. They have all learned to speak so they can be heard because they all have important things to say,” said Ayvar.

PLUS Camp will culminate with a free community performance in the Bologna Performing Arts Center’s Delta and Pine Land Theater on Saturday, July 16, at 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The public is invited to attend.

For more information about PLUS Camp, contact Joannah Taylor at 662-846-4844 or visit

MSAI underway at BPAC

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The second week of the Janice Wyatt Mississippi Summer Arts Institute Core Arts program is well underway at the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Forty-eight middle and high school campers from Mississippi and beyond are taking part in their choice of 20 visual and performing arts classes on the campus of Delta State.

For the last 19 summers, MSAI Arts Camp has provided diverse, unique and challenging arts classes. This year, students have the opportunity to explore topics such as sculpture, ballet, poetry, photography, theatre and more in the state-of-the-art facilities at the BPAC and Delta State.

Campers spent the weekend of the June 11 in Memphis as they played at Sky Zone and saw Theatre Memphis’ performance of “Oliver!” Students returned to Cleveland discussing the techniques of stage combat they are learning in class and witnessed in the show.

New York-based theatre teacher Christian Vernon is serving as a Core Arts faculty member for a third year. His students are taking part in improvisation, theatre combat and puzzle design for escape room classes. While Vernon is teaching his theatre classes in the BPAC Recital Hall, Bethany Philipp, a member of the Front Porch Dance Company out of Jackson, is busy engaging her students in dance improvisation, modern dance and ballet in the Delta and Pine Land Theater. As a member of the Mississippi Arts Commission teaching artist roster, Philipp is engaging students in new ways of using their bodies while thinking about movement.

Photographer Will Jacks is teaching a multimedia class in which students are creating their own documentary of camp life at Core Arts. Campers are lugging around recording equipment and conducting interviews with campers, faculty and staff.

Students are looking forward to showcasing their work at the Closing Reception on June 17 at 7 p.m. in the BPAC. The public is invited to join the visual and creative writing classes as they present their works at the reception, which is free and open to the public. The following morning, June 18, the performing arts classes will appear in the Final Performance at 10 a.m. in the BPAC’s Delta and Pine Land Theater.

“We are pleased with the high caliber faculty we are able to employ this summer and the incredible talent these young artists have shown at Core Arts,” said Joannah Taylor, Core Arts director and Arts Education coordinator at the BPAC. “This program attracts such talent and nurtures these artists in a safe and encouraging atmosphere. You won’t believe the things these young people have been able to accomplish in two weeks.”

The 2016 Core Arts program is made possible through support from the Mississippi Arts Commission, The American Legion, AT&T, Entergy, the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, the King’s Daughters and Sons Circle Number Two, the Crosstie Arts Council and Delta Dairy. For more information on the Janice Wyatt Mississippi Summer Arts Institute, call 662-846-4844, or visit

BPAC recognizes Ambassadors

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At each performance held at the Bologna Performing Arts Center, some of the first people patrons meet are the dedicated BPAC Ambassadors. From ticket takers and door captains, to greeters and ushers, these volunteers play a huge role in making the performances a great experience for everyone in attendance.

The BPAC recently paid tribute to these volunteers by hosting its annual Ambassadors Luncheon.

Over 70 dedicated volunteers from across the Delta work performances throughout the year. Sally Young, who has been an Ambassador for over a year, expressed the enjoyment of volunteering at the BPAC.

“I am a people person, and I look forward to interacting with all the patrons who come performances at the Bologna Performing Arts Center,” said Young. “I especially love to work the school matinee programs. Seeing the excitement on children’s’ faces really brings joy to being an Ambassador.”

Positions are open to join the BPAC Ambassadors for the 2016-17 season, and training will be held in August. For more information or to sign up, contact Amber Foster at 662-846-4625.