Sure, there were and still are people who were doing great things to promote community awareness and love this place (such as the staff at JTV and Bart Hawley in particular, the folks at Art 634 and the Armory Arts Village, 105.3, Home.fm, many churches and schools, etc.) but when I talked to many of the folks I was meeting around town it was a different story.
It became common for me to hear things like, “Why would anyone move from California to this place?” Or, “Hope you stay for a bit . . . last one out of Jackson turn out the lights.”
That mentality is very sad to me. I understand where it comes from . . . businesses closing, not a lot of night life, depressed economy . . . I get all that. But whining and apathy will not change the face of Jackson. We need to breathe life into this community. Picasso said, "Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life."
It was out of this desire to change Jackson’s opinion of itself and to breathe life into the community that Ap(art) was born. Art is a wonderful way to engage in a dialogue, process feeling, commune with one another, celebrate life, work through tensions, co-create with God, tell a story, raise issues and awareness, and respond.
Thomas Merton said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” At this time in our confused and volatile community art is one of the things that cannot be taken away from us.
Unfortunately, though art cannot be taken away from us in a spiritual and metaphysical sense just as our dreams cannot be robbed from us, the sad reality is art IS being taken away in that schools, students, and resident artists are finding it harder to purchase materials they need and keep programs alive and/or make their way.
At Ap(art) [say, “art apart”] artists will create works that will be auctioned to the public in order to pour money back into the community. This is a missional effort. Money will be given towards scholarships for art students, expenses for artists in residence, and grants for art programs here in Jackson for underprivileged students.
Because Jackson is worth it.