Midtown Jackson is a historical district of housing for working class families and the first industrial and wholesale commercial district along the railroad yard north of downtown. Midtown is being reborn with an artist district and neighborhood housing and the addition of the city’s first charter school.
Midtown Partners, Inc. and Gulf Coast Housing Partnership are underway on a $9.7 million dollar investment in 31 units of high quality affordable housing spanning a five block area of Midtown. Midtown Partners is a local nonprofit 501 C3 that is central to planning and implementation of the neighborhood revitalization.
The Kresge Foundation has funded a full time position ably filled by Whitney Grant, Creative Economies Coordinator, to spur the creative economy in the Millsaps Ave. Artist’s district. The Else School of Management of Millsaps College is also on board with Midtown Partners to provide management training and technical assistance in the Midtown revival.
The Business Association of Midtown, BAM, was formed by artist run businesses to further the objectives of the “Made in Midtown” theme. BAM sponsors the annual Holiday Studio Tours and several other events throughout the year. The entire metro Jackson area participates in these and other events such as FIGMENT Jackson.
Pearl River Glass Studio has been a part of the Midtown renaissance from the very beginning. Andrew Cary Young moved his studio from North State Street to Millsaps Avenue in 1976, becoming the pioneer. Susan Ford, a hot glass artist, followed in 1984. Ford’s arrival in Midtown was followed by Chip and Debra Billips. Later in the 80’s and early 90’s the Billips purchased and renovated four additional properties along Millsaps Avenue. From the early years Young remembers a quiet day in Midtown during the holidays when he got in his car and drove around the few block making notes of all the available building space and vacant buildings. Artists need to have spaces at a reasonable cost in order to work. It occurred to him at the time this space could be an art district.