Gulf Coast Community Design Studio receives environmental stewardship award

July 31st, 2015 Comments Off on Gulf Coast Community Design Studio receives environmental stewardship award

1st Place Civic NonProfit v2 copy

The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, a research center at Mississippi State University, was recently honored with a First Place 2015 Gulf Guardian award.  The awards ceremony was held today at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The awards, sponsored by a partnership of the Gulf of Mexico Program, are to recognize environmental stewardship in the five Gulf Coast states.

“This is the 13th year of the Gulf Guardian Awards, and I am proud to say that each year the winners in all categories have represented the very best of environmental accomplishments in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Diane Altsman, chief of staff for the Gulf of Mexico Program. “The Gulf of Mexico Program partnership works to improve the environmental health of the Gulf, and the Gulf Guardian Awards is an important way for us to recognize these valuable efforts.”

The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio – one of two research centers in MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design – received the award in the Civic/Nonprofit category for their Bayou Auguste Restoration project. First place was awarded this year in six other categories to groups also taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. See the full list of 2015 winners.

“Mississippi State University is honored to be recognized for the Bayou August restoration project — one of many of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio’s efforts under David Perkes’ leadership to guard the resources of the Gulf Coast for present and future generations,” said Associate Dean for the College of Architecture, Art and Design Greg G. Hall, Ph.D.

The Bayou Auguste Restoration project implemented a community plan for part of East Biloxi, a historically underserved community devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio’s design team secured multiple grants for the project and led a partnership with the city of Biloxi, the Biloxi Housing Authority, the Biloxi Public School District and the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain.

Volunteers contributed over 2,800 hours of service to help the team remove debris and repair the bayou’s wetland habitat by constructing a neighborhood wetland park.

The local community and students were also engaged in the project through educational programs that focused on ways to improve the bayou’s important functions of restoring and improving the nursery habitat for fish and shrimp, essential to the local economy; reducing pollution and debris entering the ocean through the integrated bayou and stormwater system; and creating a marshland to contain floodwater from extreme storm events.

The first Gulf Guardian Award winners were recognized in 2000. Each year since, first–, second–, and third–place awards have been given in seven categories: Business, Civic/Non-Profit Organization, Partnerships, Youth/Education, Individual, Government and Bi-National.

Read the story on the Texas Environmental News site.

Read more on MSU’s website.

Gulf Coast Community Design Studio director speaks at AIA MS Convention

July 30th, 2015 Comments Off on Gulf Coast Community Design Studio director speaks at AIA MS Convention

Director of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, David Perkes, recently spoke at the 2015 AIA Mississippi Convention, which was held July 24-26 in New Orleans, La.

Perkes’ presentation, “From Disaster to Resilience,” discussed lessons learned since Hurricane Katrina.

The session was well attended and well received.


Carl Small Town Center receives arts grant for Marks project

July 16th, 2015 Comments Off on Carl Small Town Center receives arts grant for Marks project

By Zach Plair | Mississippi State University

The Carl Small Town Center at Mississippi State is receiving a $25,000 National Endowment of the Arts grant to develop a cultural master plan for a North Delta community.

To feature an interpretive trail and center for the city of Marks, the university-developed plan will highlight and explain civil-rights related sites in the Quitman County seat and beginning point of the historic 1968 Poor People’s Campaign “Mule Train.”

Organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference–whose first president was Martin Luther King Jr.–the campaign featured a mule-pulled wagon train that began in Marks and ended in Washington, D.C. In the nation’s capital, the slow-moving travelers eventually joined 3,000 others from throughout the nation assembled at “Resurrection City,” a massive tent camp set up on the Washington Mall.

The D.C. event was a protest against living conditions faced by poor in the U.S. King twice had visited Marks and held it up as a symbol of America’s downtrodden.

“The Mule Train was really the start of the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968,” said associate professor John Poros, the MSU center’s director. “We are honored to be able to help the people of Marks make this piece of their history visible and present to visitors and community members through the NEA Our Town award.”

Now in its fifth year of funding Our Town projects, the independent federal agency this year is awarding 69 grants that total almost $5 million. The individual awards range from $25,000 to $200,000.

The grant program supports creative place-making projects designed to promote local community art and creativity. Since the program’s inception in 2011, NEA has awarded 325 Our Town grants totaling nearly $26 million.

“The Carl Small Town Center demonstrates the best in creative community development. This work will have a valuable impact on its community,” Jane Chu, NEA chairman, said.

“Through Our Town funding, arts organizations continue to spark vitality that support neighborhoods and public spaces, enhancing a sense of place for residents and visitors alike,” she added.

A research and service arm of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design and its School of Architecture, the Carl Small Town Center works to help improve the quality of life and create economic opportunity in small towns by improving their physical environments.

Fred E. Carl Jr., a major Mississippi State benefactor and the center’s namesake, is a Greenwood resident who founded and served as the first president and CEO of nationally recognized Viking Range Corp. A one-time architecture major at the university, he endowed a statewide community design outreach program in 1979 that was renamed in his honor.

See the story on

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