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BPAC Executive Director Laura Howell Elected to the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Board of Governors

Laura Howell, executive director the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State University, was recently elected to the board of governors of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters (MIAL) along with artist/educator Traci Stover.

James G. Thomas, Jr., president of MIAL, states, “We are incredibly fortunate to have Laura and Traci joining us as new members of the MIAL board of governors. They are both widely respected for their work in the arts, and they bring with them talents and knowledge that fit right in with the institute’s mission to recognize, honor, and celebrate the arts in Mississippi.” 

Howell’s responsibilities include curating an annual season of performances, including concerts, national Broadway tours, family-friendly and school performances, as well as overseeing all aspects of BPAC’s daily operations. Previously, she served as the arts education coordinator at BPAC and as an elementary school educator. Howell earned her bachelor of arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a masters in elementary education from Delta State and is a candidate for the doctor of education degree at Delta State, with a focus on higher education. Howell, of Leland, is active in various community organizations including the Greenville Junior Auxiliary, the Cleveland Crosstie Arts Council, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden Committee, and Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Committee.

Stover has been painting and drawing for more than 30 years. She explores the people, places and objects close to her in an effort to express her relationships and experiences. A native of Jackson, Stover received a B.F.A. in painting and drawing from the University of Southern Mississippi and an M.F.A. in painting and drawing from American University in Washington D.C. Her work has been widely exhibited and is held in private collections across the United States. Stover has taught at Belhaven University in Jackson, Hinds Community College in Raymond, and the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, where she lives and maintains a studio.

Now in its 40th year, MIAL annually honors creative individuals with an award in their specific field. There are seven categories: fiction, nonfiction, visual arts, music composition (classical), music composition (contemporary), photography, and poetry. Its juried competition is one of a kind in the state. Judges, chosen from out of state, are prominent in their field. MIAL is privately funded, self-perpetuating, and nonprofit.

Delta State first lady Nancy LaForge also serves on the board and is past president. Delta State hosted its annual meeting in 2017.

For more information about MIAL, visit