Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience (The MAX)
The Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Center (The MAX) opened on April 28, 2018, in Meridian, Mississippi. The MAX was created to showcase Mississippi’s arts and entertainment legacy, honor their creative legends and inspire tomorrow’s artists. Visitors are invited to explore the Land, the Home, the Community, the Church, the People, and the Places that make Mississippi so special. Throughout the galleries, visitors interact with cutting-edge technology and hear personal accounts from Mississippi artists about the importance of their home. The spaces examine the dynamic and reciprocal relationship between artists and place; for just as a place can shape an artist’s work, the presence of artists can influence a place—and inspire future artists down the road.
As visitors move throughout the interpretive galleries, they explore different ordinary scenes from life in rural Mississippi. Each scene tells the story of the artists whose creativity was nurtured in that environment, and in that seemingly modest moment. From sitting on the front porch to singing in the church choir, cooking with family to toiling in the fields; the roots of creativity took hold.
Tears kept welling up, coming to the surface as each tableau lay witness to yet another dimension of my past, the human experience explored, displayed, celebrated in all the beautiful forms that artists use to express their understanding, or their struggle to understand, the human experience.
A Museum Visitor
The Juke Joint is integral to shaping the music of Mississippi. Here, visitors visit “Maxie’s” the museum’s own Juke Joint. Here they can enjoy music made famous by Mississippians from rock and roll to blues and jazz . See who inspired what genre of music and their impact on the world. At the interactive kiosks by the stage, they can create a “dream band” joining legendary Mississippi artists together that never played together before.
At every step of the way, visitors are asked to get inside the story. Experience the landscape from Mississippi’s rivers and deltas, paint and mold clay like the greats, create a quilting square, direct a puppet show like Jim Henson.
As they say, “there’s something in the water in Mississippi”—something that has inspired generations of artists. This immersive theatrical media environment places visitors in the middle of these inspirational waters. With machine learning, the landscape transforms into works of art, using filters inspired by three Mississippi artists.
The MAX is the only museum to celebrate the artistic PROCESS as opposed to its finished product. This way, creativity becomes accessible to everyone. Your product doesn’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to be famous. Everyone can make something and it is in the activity of making that people can find purpose.