Turning Blues Green

How simple music could be driving economic development. Innovators John Horhn, Mississippi State Senator & Malcolm White, Director Mississippi Tourism.


  • Please share your connection to the Blues and/or your experience visiting the Mississippi Blues Trail.
  • Mississippi has the Blues Commission and Denver has the American Indian Commission, does your city or state have a commission connected to a unique cultural or social factor? If so, how is it related to economic development? If not, what unique aspects of your community, city or state might be amplified by the creation of a commission? What visitor experiences could be developed to honor your community’s stories?
  • Funding for the Blues Trail was a creative patchwork of sources from National Endowment For the Arts and Federal/Local Government funds to the Dept. of Transportation and automobile license plates. Consider and explore new or additional possible sources of funding for your community’s visitor experiences.
  • Once the Mississippi Arts Commission identified the state’s creative economy, state funds provided incentives to grow that economy. What possibilities might exist to make that happen in your city or state?


  • Mississippi has an active Mississippi Arts Commission with a variety of programs and projects. Learn more.
  • Invite friends, colleagues or community members to view this video with you and host a conversation.


John Horhn is a Mississippi State Senator, representing District 26. He was first elected to the chamber in 1993.He earned his certificate in Community Leadership from Jackson State University, attended the Governors Center program in strategic planning at Duke University, and earned his B.A. from Centre College of Kentucky. His professional experience includes working as a community development consultant and motivational speaker.


Malcolm White is the Director of the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division. He has more than 40 years’ experience in the economic development and tourism industries.   Previously, he served seven years as the executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission. Prior to joining the MAC, White served as co-founder and manager of Hal and Mal’s downtown Jackson restaurant and entertainment venue. He is also founder of Mal’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade.


Dr. Edgar Smith is composer and performer of the “Uninsured Blues”.  He grew up on the Mississippi Delta and is retired from the University of Massachusetts where he was Academic Vice President.  Prior to that he was Professor of Biochemistry  Molecular Biology and Provost at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.