Clinnesha Sibley, MSA’s newest Literary Arts Instructor, recently returned from a week-long workshop, Creative Community Fellows Cohort, in rural Vermont.

According to a press release by National Arts Strategies, “Fellows will work with National Arts Strategies, faculty partners, mentors and each other during the next nine months to embrace their authentic leadership capacities, examine their partnerships and strategy, and craft ways to make their projects sustainable. In addition to implementing their projects, Fellows will create a vibrant, national network by bringing their own experiences and expertise to the table. The fellows include artists, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and business school faculty.

“This is the fourth cohort of Fellows we are welcoming into the program and recruitment process never fails to show us that the kind of support Creative Community Fellows offers is necessary. We interviewed over 70 finalists, all of whom are incredibly talented and thoughtful community change makers. Our ultimate aim was to build a diverse cohort that maximizes the potential for transformational peer learning opportunities,” said Creative Community Fellows program director, Sunny Widmann.

Clinnesha, a native of McComb, graduated from Tougaloo College where she studied humanities. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in playwriting from the University of Arkansas. She has taught at the secondary and collegiate levels. According to the Enterprise Journal newspaper, Sibley credits her parents as being very supportive. “It was really cool to have supportive parents. They positioned me to try to attend plays and meet with other artistic people who would come through the community.”

Her most recent work in the area includes establishing a southwest Mississippi chapter of the Mississippi Writer’s Guild. Monthly meetings will be held at Jubilee Performing Arts Center in McComb.

Clinnesha’s application into the cohort was one of over 265 applications received from 39 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, she was one of only two recipients in the southeastern United States.

Other fellows accepted into the cohort includes Megan Bullock of Charleston, West Virginia, David Burt of Hapeville, Georgia, Marisa Carr of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Demone Carter of San Jose, California, Taneisha Duggan of Hartford, Connecticuit, Naomi Even-Aberle of Rapid City, South Dakota, Laura Gisler of Saint Paul, Minnesota, Chris Horne of Akron, Ohio, Cornetta Lane of Detroit, Michigan, Mei Lum of New York, New York, Gregory Milo of Akron, Ohio, Kia Moore of Charlotte, North Carolina, Jordan Reeves of Brooklyn, New York, Jaclyn Roessel of Bernalillo, New Mexico, Lula Saleh of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Taraneh Sarrafzadeh of San Jose, California, Ben Sax of Los Angeles, California, Kristianna Smith of New Britain, Connecticut, Quentin Turner of Detroit, Michigan, Romain Vakilitabar of Littleton, Colorado, Joan Vorderbruggen of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ashley Williams of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Suzanne Wise of Wahkon, Minnesota.

For more information about National Arts Strategies and Creative Community Fellows, visit their web site at

Photo Gallery

Gallery photos by documentary photographer, Dessa Lohrey. View the entire gallery by clicking here.

CCF 2017

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