photos by Kevin Edwards & Carlton Turner
A special message from Sipp Culture co-directors
Carlton & Brandi Turner
As we gather this week to give thanks for all that we have to be thankful for – family, friends, health and wellness – I am reminded of the power of food and its ability to shape our individual and collective experiences. Growing up in rural Mississippi, food was the center of my experience. So much of my food memories were fresh and local, homegrown. It’s the way I remember where I am from. That feeling has become more fleeting as I get older.
When Brandi and I made the call to our community, that has resulted in what is today known as Sipp Culture, we sought to learn from the many ways in which food has shaped the contours of our community. Through sharing those stories we are able to learn more about what is important, what is essential, and what is possible. The community has made the call for a place to break bread, to share stories, and to engage in the collective dreaming of what Utica will continue to become. The Main Street Cultural Center will hold those intentions!
Please join us in our quest to build a place for our community to dream together! Donate now and often to the Main Street Cultural Center Capital Campaign.
Last Updated: November 28, 2023
Help Us Raise $1.8 Million for our community's vision
In 2024, the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production (Sipp Culture) will open the Main Street Cultural Center on Main Street in downtown Utica, Mississippi. The opening of this newly imagined and renovated space marks a new beginning for the small rural town of Utica. This space, which occupies the corner lot in downtown Utica at the intersection of White Oak Street and Main Street, hasn’t been a viable business for more than two decades. Through this renovation project, this space will now provide a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen and an intimate venue for the presentation of music, film, and multidisciplinary performance and visual art. It will serve as Sipp Culture’s primary presenting venue for year round arts programming.
“The renovation of the Main Street Cultural Center is the most important development in the town of Utica this century. It marks the next phase of a return to locally sourced community food systems.”
– Carlton Turner, Lead Artist & Sipp Culture Co-Director
Sipp Culture has been working with Mike Grote of Alembic Community Development of New Orleans as the primary developer consultant in support of this project. Mike is the visionary behind the Andre Cailloux Center for Performing Arts & Cultural Justice (ACC) on historic Bayou Road and the conversion of former elementary school, McDonough 19, into the TEP Center in the Lower 9th Ward, both in New Orleans. Mike has walked us through the process of developing this underused space into a concept for long-term community health for the town of Utica.
The building is being designed by Allison Anderson, FAIA and John Anderson AIA LEED-AP of unAbridged Architecture in Bay St. Louis. unAbridged designed the Mockingbird Café and The Arts, both in Bay St. Louis. As designers, their goals are to design a space with aesthetic appeal, quality build, and relevance to the community it will serve. As designers, they are also deeply committed to designing for the future and addressing pressing issues of climate change. John was the first LEED-Accredited Professional in the state of Louisiana in 2002.
The Main Street Cultural Center will install a 26 kw solar power grid on the roof of our building. This array will serve three functions: to decrease our annual operational costs; to provide an emergency space for our community during severe weather (disaster preparedness); and to demonstrate how renewable energy can directly impact small rural communities through providing practical applications.