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It All Starts Here! Sipp Culture ILI Cultural Intensive #1 for Year 5

ILI Year 5 Fellows and other FamILI at Smith Robertson Museum + Cultural Center, Jackson MS

photos & video: Melisa CardonaJasmine Cannon & Ennis Carter/Social Impact Studios

For the first in-person ILI intensive of ILI Year 5, the Fellows, ILI Partners and team gathered in Jackson, MS. Hosted by ILI Partner the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production, the 4+ day intensive started in Jackson, traveled to the Mississippi Delta, and culminated in Utica, MS – Sipp Culture’s hometown. From museums, to panel discussions, to B.B. King’s hometown with a Blues juke joint, to the future site of Utica’s Main Street Cultural Center, the gathering brought the Fellows and attending ILI community together for arts & cultural learning, deep discussion, and understanding through hands-on experience and direct storytelling. 


Get a taste of what the ILI cultural intensives are like below:

Day 1: Arrival
Thursday, October 26, 2023 – Jackson, MS

Travel Day

Inside look at “Sonic Boom of the South” Marching Band rehearsal at Jackson State University.

Day 2: Welcome to Mississippi
Friday, October 27, 2023 – Jackson, MS


Group Check-In & Intentional Grounding – Opening Circle

  • Sipp Culture Team – Brandi Turner / Carlton Turner 
  • WHERE WE ARE / WHO WE ARE – Jeffery Darensbourg, Gounding – (Houma and Choctaw Nation)
  • Reverend Christopher Wheatley, Opening Prayer 
  • – Libations
  • Fellow introductions 

Arrival at Smith Robertson Museum + Cultural Center

Welcome  –  from space leader


Welcome – Smith Robertson Staff

Panel Discussion – Welcome to Mississippi 

  • Pam Junior,  Historian, Former Director of Two Museums & Smith Robertson 
  • Frank Figgers, Civil Rights, One Voice MS 
  • C. Leigh McInnis, Poet / Cultural Critic 
  • Brenda Hyde, Southern Echo

Mapping Exercise

  • What is your Mississippi connection?

Fellow Reflection Time

Dine Arounds/ Community Dinner

Day 3: The Delta
Saturday, October 28, 2023 – Indianola, MS

Arrival at BB King Museum 

Welcome &  Tour of Museum

Lunch & Learn | How We Work (Club Ebony)

Programming: Focus Around the Music + History 

Cultural Treasure, ground the space

Presenters from the Delta + Music

  • Tufara Muhammad (Music/Matriarchs/Movement)
  • Dr. Saunders – music educator
  • Alphonso White – Duck Hill Mayor & Documentarian 
  • Mike Dennis – Blues musician

Fellow Reflection Session

Day 4: A Day in the Country
Sunday, October 29 | Day in the County 

Sunday Service at Paige Grove Baptist Church – 5th Sunday: Youth Day

  • Utica Southernaires – Live Gospel Group

Sipp Culture Campus Tour of Sipp Culture space & artist residence, future home of the Main Street Cultural Center, and the Sipp Culture Farm. 

  • Kenneth Broome, Utica Mayor
  • Alexis McGrigg, RPPL Artist in Residence – Presentation

Sunday Supper dinner @ Sipp Culture

Day 5: Closing
Monday, October 30, 2023

Artmaking workshop

Fellow reflection time

Dinner / Reception – at The Bean Path

  • Dinner
  • Bean Path (10-15 mins)
  • Local Hip Hop Celebration (50 years)