October 28, 2015
Scott Barretta, host of Highway 61 Radio, blues historian, and adjunct instructor of sociology and anthropology, will be a recipient of the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for Mississippi heritage.
The Mississippi Arts Commission announced 2016 honorees including Barretta, clay artist Claudia Cartee, jazz musician/arranger/producer Tom “Bones” Malone, actress and theater professor Tommie “Tonea” Stewart, and comedian Tig Notaro.
They’ll receive the awards at the 28th annual Governor’s Awards ceremony, scheduled at 6 p.m. Feb. 11, 2016 at Duling Hall in Jackson.
Honorees were selected by peers in the arts industry from qualified nominations submitted by the public.
“Our arts heritage runs deep in Mississippi,” said Tom Pearson, executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, awards coordinator. “These awards exemplify and hold a spotlight on that extreme talent that comes from our state.”
Barretta, originally from Virginia, came to Mississippi from Sweden in 1999 to serve as editor of Living Blues magazine, a bimonthly publication from the University of Mississippi Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and stayed for the state’s blues music and culture.
Barretta’s classes at UM include Anthology of Blues Culture, he writes a weekly music column for The Clarion-Ledger and hosts the weekly program Highway 61 on Mississippi Public Radio. Since 2006 he has researched and co-written over 180 markers on the Mississippi Blues Trail, and he helped create the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola. He is coauthor of the Mississippi Blues Trail Curriculum, published by the Mississippi Arts Commission, and collaborated with photographer Ken Murphy on the coffee table book Mississippi: State of Blues.