BIA unveils 12 new MS Historical Markers

Belhaven Improvement Association (BIA) was thrilled to unveil the first of 12 new MS Historical Markers for the Belhaven Historic District.

The celebration was hosted by Peter and Tamar Sharp, owners of The Fairview Inn (Jackson’s greatest “hidden gem”). It was an amazing event full of excitement and hope for a future that points to a #BetterBelhaven and a #BetterJackson.

The night was highlighted by 4 speakers who each provided a different perspective on the importance of the Fairview Inn and the Belhaven Historical Markers Walking Trail. Mary Ann Davis (President of Antonelli College) provided the “Inn Guest’s Perspective” and shared a beautiful insight to her “home away from home”. Brother Rogers (Director of Programs and Communication for MDAH) provided the “Historical Perspective” and gave insight to the rich history of the Fairview Inn.

Dr Reed Hogan III (President of BIA) gave the “Neighborhood Perspective” and spoke to the importance of creating a stronger neighborhood because stronger neighborhoods create stronger cities. Dr Safiya Omari (Chief of Staff for the City of Jackson) provided the “City Perspective” with an encouraging and inspiring charge for everyone to embrace the Capital city!

BIA is working hard and collaborating with Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Visit Jackson, and the City of Jackson to make this a reality for the Belhaven Historic District.

15 total markers are anticipated by the end of January 2018. This framework will create a unique and charming attraction for both locals and tourist visit the Jackson area. This will give the Belhaven Historic District, Mississippi’s largest Historic District, an amazing opportunity to preserve and promote our great history.

Much more to come…

#EmbraceHerHistory #SecureHerFuture #HistoricBelhaven #BetterBelhaven #OurBelhaven #BIA

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.





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, 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