Mayor John Robert Smith (R - Meridian, MS)
John Robert Smith first took office as Mayor of Meridian in 1993 and has since been recognized as an arts leader throughout his city and state. He has promoted city, county, state, and federal fundraising and public/private support for the Mississippi State University Riley Education and Performing Arts Center, a $31 million project to restore the Grand Opera House of Mississippi and develop an arts education and conference center in historic downtown Meridian. He was instrumental in the selection of Meridian’s Bonita Lakes as the site of the $50 million-plus Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center. The mayor also promoted development and construction of a downtown Arts District parking garage to support the MSU Riley Education and Performing Arts Center and other downtown arts venues. Mayor Smith not only serves on the board of the Grand Opera House of Mississippi, but has personally played leading roles in A Christmas Carol, Camelot, and My Fair Lady.