What’s happening on the wall at the Belhaven McDade’s?


When you drive by Belhaven McDade’s or stop in to Lou’s Full Serve this summer, you may notice a little more color in the parking lot. That’s because the Greater Belhaven Foundation has partnered with local artists Rachel Misenar and Elizabeth Fowler to paint a new collaborative mural on the retaining wall connecting Fortification to Carlisle Street.

This process of renewal and re-invention for the retaining wall will not be new for artist and Belhaven resident, Rachel Misenar who partnered with the Greater Belhaven Foundation in 2008-2009 to paint the first version of the mural.

Rachel told us, “I am so thrilled to be working on the mural once again. I love supporting my neighborhood, local art and the community. New is beautiful. This mural will once again revive and renew a frequented Belhaven space. I am so happy to be a part of the transformation”.

Just in time for GBF’s signature event, Bright Lights Belhaven Nights, scheduled for Saturday, August 12th, Rachel and Elizabeth will work together to create a collaborative mural design that is both completely original and reflects both painter’s unique artistic styles. In addition to the work done by the artists themselves, the two artists will host an interactive Community Paint Day where they will select local volunteers to actively participate in the painting.

The Greater Belhaven Foundation believes that public art can be used to inspire others, encourage and celebrate artists and bring together communities. This mural is an incredible gift to the neighborhood, and will help to shine a light on what public art can do to help transform community, increase livability and to inspire both residents and visitors. In recognition of her years of service to the Greater Belhaven Foundation, the 2017 mural will be dedicated to Virgi Lindsay, former GBF Executive Director.

“The mural becomes part of a public collection. While art galleries present shows that come and go, the creation of a new mural that lasts perhaps 10 years is a commitment. This is a statement that community centered public art is a part of preserving the strong character of the Greater Belhaven community.” – Rob Farr, Design Chair, Greater Belhaven Foundation

GBF would also like to say a huge thank you to our in-kind partners, Mike Peters of Peters Real Estate, who donated the manpower and supplies to pressure-wash the retaining wall, Jennifer Welch of Belhaven Residential, who provided the labor and base paint to prime the wall to get it ready for the new mural and the Greater Jackson Arts Council, who will be highlighting the mural’s progress as part of their on-going support of Jackson’s public art. We are especially honored to accept this offering of talent, heart and passion for the future of the Greater Belhaven neighborhoods from these two wonderful artists.

We will be sharing updates on the mural’s progress all summer long, so keep up with the mural’s progress by following us on Instagram at @greaterbelhaven. Post your own photos of the mural progress or follow the artist’s and their progress using the hashtag #GBFmural.





The 13th Annual Bright Lights Belhaven Nights is Coming Soon!

The day is nearly here for the Greater Belhaven Neighborhoods’ favorite summer tradition – the Bright Lights Belhaven Nights street and music festival! Join us August 12th from 4:30 to 9:30 PM in Greater Belhaven!


Thousands flock to the festival each year seeking out the unique aura of one of Jackson’s most historic neighborhoods and the incredible experience of this award-winning festival, named a top 20 event in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Presented by the Greater Belhaven Foundation, Baptist Medical Clinic Fastpass, C Spire, The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen, Medical Practice Solutions, Mississippi Sports Medicine, and Southern Beverage Company, the annual festival showcases and celebrates the unique culture of the Greater Belhaven Neighborhoods.

At the 13th Annual BLBN festival, you’ll stroll along the streets of this incredible historic neighborhood enveloped in an atmosphere unlike any other, as live Blues, Jazz, Indie Rock and Acoustical music streams from 3 stages and the smells of delicious foods from local restaurants and vendors drifts through the air.

Artists, craftsmen, and makers of all kinds will offer up their works. Children will bounce, play and create in the children’s activity area. Adults will savor the creations of some of the best craft breweries in the state and bid on signature festival artwork at the silent auction and a free raffle of items from area merchants.

Don’t miss this favorite family-friendly event, right in the heart of Jackson’s most incredible neighborhoods!

The 2017 BLBN Music Line-Up

5:00 p.m. Young Valley
6:00 p.m. Cary Hudson
7:00 p.m. Seratones
8:20 p.m. The Weeks

5:15 p.m. Kudzu Kings
6:30 p.m. Cedric Burnside Project
7:45 p.m. Christone Kingfish Ingram

5:00 p.m. Vibe Doctors
6:00 p.m. TB Ledford
7:00 p.m. Taylor Hildebrand
8:00 p.m. Sara Sullivan

Get your tickets today!

Adult: $10 Children 12 & Under: $1

Tickets are available at the gate, or click here to order yours online now!

Location & Additional Info

The festival will extend along Carlisle Street from McDade’s parking lot toward New Stage Theatre, and also turn onto Kenwood Place and extend into Belhaven Park. Free parking will be available at New Stage Theatre, along Belhaven streets that have not been closed off, and in the parking garage adjacent to Baptist Health Systems Medical Arts East at the corner of North and Carlisle Streets.

To learn more about Bright Lights Belhaven Nights, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/belhavennights, follow us on Instagram at www.instagram.com/greaterbelhaven and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/greaterbelhaven, visit us at www.greaterbelhaven.com/blbn or call 601-352-8850.

The Greater Belhaven Foundation, a non-profit organization, works to improve and revitalize the area through long-range planning, economic restructuring, historic preservation, green space enhancement, and improvement of Fortification Street, the major east-west corridor between the two neighborhoods.

Join the Greater Belhaven Foundation and all of our incredible sponsors for the 13th Annual Bright Lights Belhaven Nights!

Sponsored by:

Presenting Sponsors

Stage Sponsors

Children’s Area Sponsors

Belhaven Stars Sponsors

Bright Lights Sponsors


Caitlin Hayden, 601.968.1256, BLBN Publicity Chair
Shannon McLaughlin, 601.594.4429, BLBN Publicity Team

Will our garden grow?

Slowly the budding flower rises from the dust, drinking in the early summer rains and preparing to stretch out its leaves to soak in the sun. All around the neighborhood families step from their homes to do the same. To drink in the energy of the summer sun. To revel in the life-giving power of the sprinkling rain.

Much like our community – built upon the dust so long ago and continuing to grow and change and to show our colors to the world – a garden is a place of peace, home and the ever-present signs of growth.

Soon, there may be the opportunity to grow something new. With the help of the dedicated volunteers heading up the Grow Your Haven Garden Pilot Project, we are exploring what it would take to offer the Greater Belhaven Neighborhoods the opportunity to support the creation of a beautiful, live-giving community garden. Will you help us find out what it would take to bring this idea to life?

Grow Your Haven Garden Pilot Project

In May these hard-working volunteers created the concept for a sample of what the project could bring to the Greater Belhaven Neighborhoods – a small container garden to beautify the entry of the GBF office at 954 E Fortification Street. The garden contains plants that attract butterflies, flowers for cutting, and a selection of herbs which will be used later this year in popsicles at Deep South Pops.

The volunteers involved hope that this pilot garden will engage people in a conversation about the potential of a full community garden to be created in the spring of 2018. The volunteer team will be creating a proposal for the GBF board over the next few months, which will include research on possible garden locations, best practices learned from other communities, how to avoid obstacles, and what administrative structure might be best for such a garden.

The American Community Gardening Association tells us that “community gardening improves people’s quality of life by providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, stimulating social interaction, encouraging self-reliance, beautifying neighborhoods, producing nutritious food, reducing family food budgets, conserving resources and creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education.”

Rebecca Cowan, a volunteer for the Grow Your Haven Pilot Project, believes that a community garden has a deep, personal impact on those involved, as well as on the strength of the community as a whole.

She says, “I have been in the Jackson area for 3 years now and this pilot project made me feel a part of a community and allowed me to make new friends who I may have never crossed paths with before. I believe if we do a larger garden that the neighborhoods could be a part of, we will build more relationships and strengthen our community as well as have some wonderful produce and flowers to show for our hard work! I also look forward to meeting people with more knowledge on gardening so I can improve my skills! I am hopeful that this project goes forward as it has already had such a positive impact in my life.”

“Our task is to build community within the neighborhood. The idea of community starts with sharing and caring, neighbors looking after each other and acting in unison. The idea of a community garden represents all the aspects of community, helping and sharing in a common cause with benefits to all,” said Robb Far, GBF Board Member and Design Committee Chair.

How You Can Help Us Make Our Garden Grow

The sample garden is more than a sampling of native Mississippi plants, fragrant herbs and bright, eye-catching flowers; it is the beginning of a conversation. And now it is time to lend your words to the growing discussion.

During the annual Bright Lights Belhaven Nights event, to be held August 12 along Carlisle, Kenwood, and Belhaven Park, you will have the opportunity to answer a survey conducted by the Grow Your Haven Garden Pilot Project volunteers. Located at the GBF tent at the festival, the volunteers will be on hand to hear your ideas, answer questions and gather information from all who would seek to help.

Before the event, share this post and discuss the impact of a community garden with your friends and neighbors. The support of the residents, business owners and other community members is the very foundation of projects like these, and the project will need this support to come to fruition.

Be a part of the 13th Annual Bright Lights Belhaven Nights!

On August 12, 2017 we will have enjoyed 13 years of magic under the twinkling lights.

13 years of only the best local, handmade vendors; the most delicious food from Mississippi’s restaurants and breweries; and the most incredible musicians on 3 stages.

13 years of historic streets full of thousands of local folks and tourists taking in the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Event, right here in Greater Belhaven.

Is this the year you become a part of Bright Lights Belhaven Nights?

Become a BLBN Sponsor

Year after magical year BLBN attracts over 5,000 attendees from all over Mississippi and the Southeast. Don’t miss your opportunity to reach them!

BLBN sponsorships help to support the work of the Greater Belhaven Foundation as we work to restore and revive some of Jackson’s most historic neighborhoods. You could be a part of making it happen!

With a range of great sponsorship packages, and all donations being tax-deductible, BLBN is the perfect sponsorship opportunity for small and large businesses and organizations alike.

See your brand featured on all promotional materials, the GBF website and social media as we promote this popular, family-friendly festival throughout Mississippi!

Click here to see all of the wonderful sponsorship benefits and to choose your level today.

Become a BLBN Vendor

Join us as a part of the 2017 Bright Lights Belhaven Nights festival!

We’re searching for past or present Belhaven residents, business owners or former farmer’s market vendors who would like to share their handmade goods with folks from Greater Belhaven and far beyond.

Click here now to download the Vendor Application and join us at the 2017 BLBN festival!

Do you make some of the best beer in Mississippi, or delight crowds with your Mississippi-made food and drinks? Bright Lights Belhaven Nights just wouldn’t be the same without you.

Click here now to download the Food Vendor Application!

Another magical night in Belhaven Park.

On Sunday May 14, nearly 250 Greater Belhaven Neighborhood residents, friends and families settled in for another magical night in Belhaven Park for the 2017 Shakespeare in the Park event, part of the Art Series in the Park.

New Stage Theatre’s talented Young Acting Troupe performed Shakespeare’s famous “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to laughs, cheers and applause; as attendees enjoyed picnics and delicious dinners courtesy of The Manship.

The event was presented by the Greater Belhaven Foundation and funded by Arts Series sponsors Carol Taff, Funderburg, Sessums & Peterson, PLLC, Keifer’s Restaurant, The Manship, and McDade’s Market.

Photos by David Sprayberry.

Celebrating a bright future for the Greater Belhaven Foundation

On Friday May 5th the staff, donors, volunteers, and supporters of the Greater Belhaven Foundation gathered at Deep South Pops to celebrate a major accomplishment – the creation of a new website that will reach far beyond the historic community, to those seeking a very special place to call home.

The generous event sponsors included Baptist Health Systems, Deep South Pops, Green Oak Florist and Garden Center, Kats Wine & Spirits and C Spire.

Laurel Isbister, the Executive Director of the GBF, tells us,

“We had two big reasons to celebrate. One, we completed a fantastic and useful website after six months of hard work. And two, we began the next chapter in the history of the Greater Belhaven Foundation – there was a real sense that this new phase is just beginning and that there are wonderful things ahead!”

GBF Executive Director, Laurel Isbister (center), speaks to Launch Party guests.

But this website signifies more than an accomplishment – it embodies the spirit of the people who call Belhaven home. From the artist creating and dreaming in the converted attic of their Tudor-style home, to the lawyer relaxing on the front porch of their restored Craftsman, perhaps with a glass of wine after powering through another challenging case – the people of the Greater Belhaven neighborhoods are significant in both their individuality as well as their collective drive.

The new Greater Belhaven Foundation website, found at www.greaterbelhaven.com, was designed to capture the unique outlook of the people within the community, and their desire to share this place with the world.

(LtoR) Elizabeth VanDeburgh, Bethany Byrd (President of Own Your Hill), Mary-Michael Lindsey

The website, created by Own Your Hill, a growth strategy and marketing firm based in Laurel, MS, features visuals that reflect the garden-like tranquility of the neighborhood, information both deep and carefully curated, robust event promotion features, and the latest in email-capturing and automating technology. It is designed to not only attract those who might one day join the neighborhood, but to promote those who have long supported its cause.

Bethany Byrd, president of Own Your Hill, explained that the design, “leads visitors of all skill levels through a path of deeper understanding of the organization’s goals and many accomplishments, while inspiring those who are seeking somewhere truly unique to plant their roots. This tool will not only greatly improve the GBF’s marketing effectiveness, it will automate some of the smaller, daily tasks handled by the organization’s staff – freeing them to focus more intently on the hands-on activities that will build their community and grow the organization.”

Sara Sullivan, local singer-songwriter, performed throughout the event.

The launch event at Deep South Pops was a powerful reflection of the community’s understanding of what this next step will mean for all of the residents, business owners, institutions and organizations in the neighborhood.

As over one hundred people came by to both congratulate the GBF on their latest accomplishment, peruse the new website on iPads generously provided by C Spire, enjoy a glass of celebratory champagne provided by Kats Wine & Spirits or a delicious popsicle from Deep South Pops, and to share in the win for both the organization and their beloved neighborhood, the support of the community shone bright.

“The community support tells me that the hard work was worth it. The most satisfying part of my professional career is doing excellent work and fulfilling the mission of an important organization. Getting to talk to neighbors, donors, and others at the party kept a big smile on my face for hours and I know that this new online tool will empower and assist in the growth and longevity of Greater Belhaven for years to come,” Isbister shared.

As the room filled with GBF board members, donors, volunteers, the president of the BIA, the past president of the BHCA; representatives of the Friends of Laurel Street Park, New Stage Theatre, Baptist Health Systems, local universities, the MS Children’s Museum; founders and representatives of local media such as Find It In Fondren and Portico Jackson Magazine; and an outpouring of local business owners and residents, the party took on the feel of a backyard barbecue, punctuated by anecdotes and shared experiences from long-time friends and well-known neighbors.

Door prize winners Janine Buckley, Christin Barron, and Karen Gilder were gifted with 6-Month Healthplex Memberships courtesy of Baptist Health Systems.

Moving forward, the Greater Belhaven Foundation will use this new tool to promote their great local events such as this weekend’s Shakespeare in the Park, located at Belhaven Park this Sunday, May 14th. Go to the website now to sign up for email updates and to see all that this incredible neighborhood has to offer.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Download Text Version Here

Event Photos by David Sprayberry

Shakespeare returns to Belhaven Park for an evening of family-friendly and fantastical fun

Little ones run freely between picnic blankets and lawn chairs – exploring the park, waiting expectantly for the show to begin, for a new experience that they will remember for a long time to come. Soon, a hush flows through the crowd as the stage is set and the anticipation sets in. Theseus takes to the stage.
“Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes!”

The moon begins to appear above, as we join together and enjoy this wonderful, annual event celebrating the art and culture of the Greater Belhaven neighborhoods and the people who call them home.

This Sunday, May 14th at 6PM, join us in Belhaven Park for this free event as we enjoy the talents of the New Stage Theatre as they present Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The event is funded by Arts Series sponsors Carol Taff, Funderburg, Sessums & Peterson, PLLC, Keifer’s Restaurant, The Manship, and McDade’s Market.

The theatre’s Young Acting Troupe will present a carefully abridged 60-minute version of one of “The Bard’s” most prolific works.

Kerri Sanders, Education Director of the New Stage Theatre, explains the plot:

“William Shakespeare’s beloved A Midsummer Night’s Dream introduces us to a group of lovers, a patch of mechanicals, and a gaggle of fairies who all inhabit the woods for one magical and mischievous evening.  Hermia’s father Egeus has made plans for her to marry Demetrius, but she loves only Lysander. Therefore, she flees from her family to elope with Lysander. Demetrius follows her as does Helena – a friend of Hermia’s who is in love with Demetrius. Oberon and Titania – leaders of two groups of fairies – are at odds this same evening.

Oberon enlists his bumbling fairy servant, Puck, to make a bit of midsummer mischief against Titania and the lovers. A group of amateur actors also gather in the woods to rehearse a play to be performed at Duke Theseus’ wedding and cross Puck’s path. One of the players, Bottom, finds himself the butt of Puck’s joke quite literally as he is turned into a donkey. Titania is enchanted to love the donkey, the two young loverboys are enchanted to love only Helena, and Puck and his cronies enjoy quite a spectacle!

Will the fairies be able to undo their knavish mistakes?”

Join us this Sunday, May 14th at 6PM, enjoy a delicious $10 dinner of duck wings over polenta courtesy of The Manship, and carry on the tradition of “Shakespeare in the Park” with your family and loved ones within the gates of Belhaven Park in Greater Belhaven.

Welcome to the new digital home of the Greater Belhaven Foundation!

Welcome! I’m so happy that you have found your way to the new website for the Greater Belhaven Foundation.

Whether you are a long-time resident of Belhaven or whether this is the first time you’ve ever heard of the neighborhood, your presence here is most welcome. We hope that this website will serve the needs of many as we work to fulfill our mission: to protect, preserve and revitalize all that endears us to this very special place.

The Next Step for the Greater Belhaven Foundation

As many of you know, the founding director of the Greater Belhaven Foundation (GBF) was an outstanding leader named Virgi Lindsay. Virgi retired in late 2016; and as I introduce myself as the current executive director, please know that I do so with a real sense of the big shoes that I have to fill.

Under Virgi’s wing and with the generous support of our board of directors, donors, volunteers, partner organizations and residents, the GBF has become a strong voice for economic vitality, historic preservation, the local business community, and the residents of the Greater Belhaven neighborhood. With your continued support I feel strongly that we have a very bright future ahead, and I am excited to be a part of this journey.

One of my first decisions as the new leader has been to invest the precious resources of the foundation into developing a suite of new digital media communications tools, such as this new website, a new automated email marketing system and our new online neighborhood directory.

With these new tools we will have set in place a system that will allow us to better serve you, our residents and neighbors; to better promote all of the events and happenings in the area; and to help reveal more of what makes this place so unique and vibrant.

Let’s look at how we plan to make it happen:

To Better Serve Our Neighborhood

When a family is looking for a new neighborhood to call home, they often seek out the available amenities nearby such as healthcare, retail, and restaurants. It is our goal to make this process as simple and painless as possible with the creation of our new “Living Here” directory of amenities. We’ve also included a simple process for adding new businesses or organizations to the directory at the bottom of each section.

In addition, we’ve made it easier than ever to find information about our family of Greater Belhaven organizations, the value of living in an historic district  and our neighborhood signature events such as Bright Lights Belhaven Nights and the Arts Series in the Park.

But, no amount of information will have an impact if it is not easily found or shared.

To Make Promotion More Efficient & Effective

We know that the first step toward building an effective website is to make it easily found. Our website has been built with the best Search Engine Optimization techniques in mind. Each page is designed to be found by a searcher and to be easily navigated to find the information as quickly and simply as possible.

Next, we want to be sure that when someone comes searching, we have exactly the information they are seeking. Our goal is to be the best online resource in the area.

Because of this, we have included an automated event marketing system that is available to all in the area to promote any event that is happening here. To promote your event, you’ll simply enter the information in the event form here, and after approval, the event will be present on our website, equipped with social media sharing buttons, and will be sent out automatically every other week to our large email audience.

Our signature Greater Belhaven events each have a new home on the web in the form of an “evergreen” event page which includes a description of each event, quotes from past attendees, links to necessary forms, and an automated blog feed of any related blog post.

And it is in this new blog where the most power lies.

To Better Tell Our Story

Looking ahead, we see a robust online resource with the best event information, neighborhood news and – most importantly – stories from our neighbors, local business owners, artists, and all of those who make Belhaven truly unique. In the coming months and years, we will use our blog as a powerful tool for promoting our neighborhood, and for helping you to find a wealth of information about all neighborhood happenings. Sign up for email updates today to be sure you are the first to know about everything that is happening in Greater Belhaven!

But, we need your help to make it all happen! By helping us to populate our neighborhood directory, by adding your events to our new event listing and, most importantly, by sharing our stories and information – you’ll help make this the online resource that all who call Greater Belhaven home deserve.

I look forward to serving you this year and in the future. This website launch begins a new chapter in our history – may we all approach it with enthusiasm!

– Laurel Isbister
Executive Director