Oxford Comma Founder, Writer’s Guild Fellow, Receives Mississippi Arts Commission Grant – The Oxford Eagle

Elizabeth Tettleton Mason of Oxford, MS received a $500 grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission. This grant is part of more than $1.4 million in grants awarded by the MAC in fiscal year 2022 and will be used to fund its work on the exploration of Southeast Native American foodways and the production of essays on the subject.

These grants are made possible through ongoing funding from the Mississippi State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“The state’s arts community has shown such resilience during tumultuous times, and we are very pleased to award grants to these worthy artists,” said MAC Executive Director Sarah Story. “Mississippi’s artistic heritage was built on the talents of its exceptionally creative citizens. These funds help support the next generation of incredible artists and ensure the continued history of artistic excellence in our state.

Tettleton Mason is a native of Mississippi and is an employee of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Mississippi. She is active in the local arts community and creates events focused on literature and creative writing.

Tettleton Mason is the founder of The Oxford Comma, a creative writing workshop, and the Oxford Chapter of the Mississippi Writers Guild. She is pursuing a Masters in Business Administration and is a freelance writer passionate about advocating for restaurateurs, chefs, eating habits and culinary traditions. She is deeply curious about the impact of food and the people who create it on the world we live in.

“I’m excited to see where this grant can take me,” said Tettleton Mason. “I hope that my writings and oral history collections will shine a light on everyday chefs, cooks and meal makers of Southern Indigenous foods. There are rich traditions of foods from the land that were cultivated by the first peoples of our country. I hope my writing will help create a space for them to share their lived experiences and pick up the narrative.

“There’s a lot of work being done across America, but Mississippi has a unique relationship with food that can be the ‘creators’ and ‘keepers’ of the culinary world than the rest of the country. We are well known for our food insecurity, our food deserts and our obesity – but we are not recognized for our food traditions, our history and our impact on the rest of the United States,” she continued. “There is an urgent need for the Southeast to uphold Native American seed and food sovereignty and embrace pre-colonial indigenous food traditions. Many Americans have very little awareness of the origin of the foods they eat every day – and especially – food that has been around for a long time.

The Mississippi Arts Commission is a state agency serving more than two million people through grants and special initiatives that improve communities, assist artists and arts organizations, promote arts education and celebrate Mississippi’s cultural heritage. The MAC is funded by the Mississippi Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mississippi Endowment for the Arts at the Community Foundation for Mississippi, and other private sources. For more information, visit www.arts.ms.gov.

For more information about the Mississippi Arts Commission, please contact Anna Ehrgott, Director of Communications, 601-359-6546 or [email protected].