Monday, September 25, 2023

“I am my community”: Conversations with Jimmy Mumford


Share post:

Story and photos by Reggie Johnson Jr. | Contributing Writer and Photographer

What does this piece mean to you?

Jimmy Mumford is Middle Tennessee State University’s newest chair member in their art department. Mumford took the position back in March 2022. He previously taught graphic design at Jackson State University. Mumford graduated with a BFA from Delta State University in 1997 and an MFA from Memphis College Of Art in 2000.

When asked what this piece meant to him, this was his response: “When you say I am my community, the title is self-explanatory. So for me, as an African American man, I am no different from the people in this picture. I am them, I used to chop cotton. The piece is about Holmes County in Mississippi, which is in the Delta. Agriculture is real big in Holmes County. It used to be the number one producer of cotton. Cotton was the only thing people would associate with Holmes County. The piece sheds light on contributions made by African Americans, who helped make Holmes County what it is.”

I am a product of my community, and together we are strong.

Jimmy Mumford

What are your goals and desires with the art department at MTSU?

While here at Middle Tennessee State University, Mumford wants to “open up doors for more.”

Mumford hopes to bring in former students from Jackson State University. “I’ll never forget the experiences I had there. If we could create opportunities and grab programs here, I could reach back to students. Come, join me and get your degree. I don’t want them to think that they don’t have any options.”

During his interview in March, MTSU had a goal to host “a potential master of fine arts program.” Mumford believes the resources and connections at Middle Tennessee State University can help make this idea achievable.  

What does art meant to you?

“Art means to me means telling a story. As you look around the gallery, you have all these pieces that the faculty members have created. They’re telling a story that captures (either) a time or a moment. But art to me means being expressive in your art. I don’t write and I don’t do the math. I’m an artist. I express my feelings and my thoughts through my artwork. And through my artwork, I try to engage others and teach them without them knowing.” 

To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email

For more news, visit, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News 

Related articles

Independent artists are changing the tune of the Music City soundscape

Featured Photo by Aubrey Salm Story by Aiden O'Neill As Nashville rapidly grows, the music industry continues to diversify. Artists...

Teamwork, creativity and determination: Behind the scenes of two homecoming parade floats

Featured Photo by Jordan Reining Story by Jasmine Banks Homecoming is the time of year when many colleges, and even...

“Satanic Hispanics” is a lackluster horror film that misses the mark

Featured Photo by IMDb Story by Larry Rincon September is almost over, and the spooky season draws near. With a...

A concert in the library: Laura Denisse y Los Brillantes perform on campus

Featured Photo by Marshal Clemmer Story by Marshal Clemmer It’s nearly noon, roadies work frantically setting up the drums, laying...