Jackson Medical Mall Foundation

Funding Received: 2015
Jackson, MS

This is one of six organizations participating in the Community Development Investments (CDI) program.  For more information about the program itself, click here.

The Jackson Medical Mall Foundation (JMMF) seeks to foster a holistic approach to healthcare for the underserved and to promote community and economic development in the Jackson Medical Mall area. 

Recently, as the Medical Mall has matured, we’ve begun to shift our focus from traditional service provision and economic development to using some of our strongest local building blocks, arts and culture, to strategically enhance future developments and services.  

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The Jackson Medical Mall Foundation (JMMF) was founded in 1996 by Dr. Aaron Shirley through strategic partnerships with University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), Jackson State University (JSU) and Tougaloo College. Our mission is to foster a holistic approach to healthcare for the underserved and to promote community and economic development in the area. The Jackson Medical Mall was transformed from Mississippi’s first shopping mall to an anchor institution providing health, healthcare education, workforce training and community development to the district.

Our partners and stakeholders use the over 900,000 square foot facility to provide more than 200,000 health and related encounters annually.  Additionally, the collaboration has developed several new businesses and 48 new affordable homes within the District.

Recently, as the Medical Mall has matured, we’ve begun to shift our focus from traditional service provision and economic development to using some of our strongest local building blocks, arts and culture, to strategically enhance future developments and services.  Our forthcoming strategic plan will revolve around people and creating effective and sustainable health and wealth-building programs with high impact and measurable outcomes.


JMMF hosted a community forum to kick-off the CDI program in October 2015.  Click here to view the program from the event and you can watch the video below.



The CDI work is taking place in the Jackson Medical Mall District. The primary neighborhoods making up the District are the historic Georgetown, Virden Addition, Shady Oaks and Mid-Town.  These neighborhoods are among the first Jackson, MS neighborhoods that were created for African American.  The economy of these neighborhoods were driven by a major furniture manufacturer, many community based entrepreneurs, and a proud work force at an employment rate of near full employment. In fact the economy was so good during the 1950’s and 1960’s the state’s first near 1,000,000 square foot shopping mall was constructed right dead center of these communities.

As the furniture plant began its decline in the late 1970’s and closing in 1994, the communities started to decline as well. The decline also led to the failure and subsequent closure of the shopping mall. The afore mentioned economic downturns have resulted in a host of unacceptable socioeconomic conditions that all lead to poor health outcomes.

About twenty years ago the communities began the revitalization process with the repurposing of the old failing Jackson Mall into the Jackson Medical Mall. The Jackson Medical Mall was created with a dual mission of: To foster a holistic approach to healthcare for the underserved and to promote community and economic development in the Jackson Medical Mall area. Since its inception, the Jackson Medical Mall has totally repurposed the old mall into a world class healthcare facility providing more than 200,000 healthcare enters per year. The Jackson Medical Mall’s effort to improve access to healthcare and economic development opportunities, community stabilization has begun to take shape.  New business and affordable housing development are beginning to show real signs of improved socioeconomic conditions. 

Last Updated: January 2018

JMMF is committed to becoming a catalyst for holistic creative placemaking through the fusion of arts & culture with health, wellness and community & economic development. 

At JMM, we believe that arts & culture play an important role in the health of individuals and communities. Culture reflects the character of a place and the people in that place, and helps to deepen the social connections and stability of vulnerable neighborhoods. Cultural production creates economic opportunities for the artists and performers involved, and bring together the community in ways which create broader economic impacts.

To date, we have implemented several major community events and programs in collaboration with the arts and culture community designed to build on this power.  

  1. Our first step was to establish a base of local, creative partners.  We have done this by creating an artist roster, which came out of a public call for artists interested in working with the Medical Mall.  The responding artists come from various backgrounds and disciplines, and have a vested interest in the Mall and its community. 
  2. We have also created a process to design all of our future community events around our key goals. Partners interested in hosting events with the mall submit projects that must meet two tests: the first, that they align with our mission and the second, that community members and artists determine the project is desired. We are managing these submissions, once approved, through a newly established Office of Arts & Culture within the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation.
  3. Finally, we have engaged a nationally known artist to assist with reimagining the entire common area of the Jackson Medical Mall. We will convert the sterile walls and elevations into billboards that tell the story of the Mall and community, to truly create a place where our clients and customers can live, work, shop and play.

The overall goal for incorporating art and culture into our core work is to create a community-based economy that is driven by the existing underdeveloped creative skills and talents possessed by the residents and businesses from our community.  This will result in improved health and wealth outcomes for our community residents.

“The background of the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation as a practical, nuts-and-bolts community development organization really shines through in how it has approached expanding into the creative economy,” says artist & consultant Daniel Johnson.  “Over the past two years, they have methodically established relationships in the arts community and established internal processes to manage and expand relationships with the professional arts community and emerging artists in their district. The potential for creating economic opportunities in the arts in their service area is great and the added attention to building collaborative mentorship relationships in the process is, quite frankly, inspiring.”

The programs we have offered to date are designed to give local entrepreneurs and artists a platform for their participation as a vendor or purchaser in the community’s creative economy. These programs offer a safe environment with the availability of thousands of potential clients and customers.

  • Senior Appreciation Day 7/26/2017: Hundreds of seniors from our community came out to participate in a day of activities which included fitness dancing and free health screenings. There were also opportunities for the seniors to purchase and sell arts, crafts and baked goods.
  • Jumpstart 7/22/2017: Jumpstart is a Back –to- School program that uses a free giveaway of school supplies, visual art and musical contests along with local entertainment to get kids and parents to come to the mall to receive screenings and healthcare referrals.
  • Tommy Johnson Blues Festival 11/4/2017: This festival presents a variety of blues and gospel artist performances. While enjoying the music, attendees were given the opportunity to receive diabetes information and testing by the local diabetes foundation and providers.
  • Community Garden in East Village 10/7/2017: The community garden project began in the East Village neighborhood and will be expanded to other communities during the spring 2018 planting season. The mutigenerational garden teams will work with local growers to develop community gardens that will provide fresh fruits and vegetables for community consumption. All fruits and vegetables not consumed by community members will be sold to the local food hub. 
  • National Night out 10/3/2017: National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie, resulting in neighborhoods that are safer and more caring. Our local sheriff and police officials join in with the community for an evening filled with health screenings, entertainment, food, arts and crafts. The officers join in by demonstrating various self-defense tactics, sharing crime prevention information and employing various relationship building techniques. Finally it brings the community and officers together in a positive setting. Safe communities and economic development complement each other.
  • Connectivity Through Cloth /Quilting Program 11/15/2017: This program is a ten week multigenerational offering that combines making money, making friends and having fun into one community based experience. The participants will learn the craft of quilt making, small business development techniques, and marketing. Some participants may decide to learn the skill just to make their own quilt which means they don’t have to spend money purchasing from another quilter, while others may produce quilts as one, or form groups that make quilts to be sold commercially. The Jackson Medical Mall will provide space for creating and displaying the quilts.
  • Trunk a Treat 10/31/2017: Halloween trick or treat event to provide a safe environment for the adults and children from the neighborhood to meet for fellowship, entertainment and free dental screenings.

Creation of a multigenerational arts and cultural center: In addition to our ongoing Mall programming, we are also in the process of repurposing a 22,616 square foot facility into a community based cultural center. The space was originally built as an upscale furniture gallery, and later repurposed as a hair care supplier.  The center will house an art gallery, art-related classes, music production studio, innovative creative space, a small theater and an artist residency program.  The launch of this initiative will create jobs for artists, and provide opportunities for production and presentation of locally created art. JMMF has already begun piloting some of the programs that will operate out of arts & cultural center.  


See below for recent updates, press, and events from this project

Jun 21, 2017
But with retailers leaving malls across the country, what’s happening to all that unused space? Are shopping malls just sitting empty? Read More
Jun 19, 2017
If you’re looking to open a new medical facility — not just a couple of exam rooms and a reception area, but a proper clinic... Read More
ArtPlace America’s Community Development Investments (CDI) program provides funding and technical assistance to community development organizations who haven’t previously had a significant history of working... Read More
The arts sector in Jackson, MS has grown drastically within the past few years. While The Jackson Medical Mall has been known as a health... Read More
Oct 15, 2015
As the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation (JMMF) announced it had received a $3 million grant to incorporate arts and culture into its strategic programming, a... Read More
How do we move the field and our knowledge from a beginning, more remedial understanding (101) to a more advanced, thoughtful understanding (201)? What resources,...Read more
We are now almost six months into the Community Development Investments program and our six community planning and development organizations have been hard at work...Read more
It’s not often that you get to spend a month on the road with your coworkers! During October, Jamie B, Prentice, and I shared many...Read more
Over the first three weeks of October, the participating organizations of the Community Development Investments will hold community forums to introduce this program to local...Read more
Today we announced an $18 million investment in six place-based organizations around the country to incorporate arts & culture into their community development work. In...Read more
ArtPlace is pleased to announce the 21 finalist organizations for the new Community Development Investments (CDI) program! In August of 2015 we will fund one...Read more