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Small town festivals have become a cherished part of Arkansas’s culture. These themed get-togethers traditionally offer music, food, and local creative arts. This spring these varied events also offer a much-needed opportunity for Arkansans to recover from a year of uncharacteristic isolation. Cautious, but hopeful, we emerge from our unplanned exile and look for the things we loved about our state.
So…how about an Art Jam? The Faulkner County city of Greenbrier will proudly show off their new city park when the community hosts their first annual Art Jam in Matthews Park this Saturday, April 24. The event is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and offers something for everyone ready to safely get back into the action.
An Art Jam is a collective of artists, performers, and writers. These arts-themed events have become increasingly popular around all parts of the country. Art jams are uniquely customized to the host community and the Greenbrier Art Jam hopes to offer fun activities as well as highlight the art and culture of the local area. The one-day event will feature:
Greenbrier’s version of an art jam promises to feature local visual and performing artists in a day of festivities that include lively music, exhibits, hands-on activities, and demonstrations in beautiful Matthews Park. The theme “Together We ART” embodies the community’s goal to SAFELY bring people together for a fun day of celebrating the arts and expressing ourselves creatively, with the goal to effectively bring arts and culture to the forefront in their community.
In addition to highlighting the arts and bringing the community together, the event will also raise money for a scholarship that will be awarded to a student pursuing a degree in visual or performing arts. Shellie O’Quinn, Events Director for the City of Greenbrier, suggests, “The arts are just as important as any other subject. Research shows that students who participate in art programs show improvement in concentration, memory, decision making, and critical thinking skills.
Creating a scholarship for a student with plans to pursue a career in some branch of the arts is a fitting bonus to an eventful day.
Herschel Hall is the Presenting Sponsor for the event. “Herschel Hall is the newest upscale event venue in Faulkner County,” says Chris Ward, owner. “Located in the center of Greenbrier, Herschel Hall will be a premier place for weddings, banquets, recitals, company parties, and much more. We are excited to be anchoring in Greenbrier! Art Jam is going to be a great event and we look forward to partnering with the city of Greenbrier and Chamber of Commerce in many more ways in the future.”
A variety of live performances are planned, including the Peterson Family, Greenbrier Drama Club, Central Arkansas Trombone Choir, Kaci and Korey Williams, and various groups from Greenbrier Junior High and High Schools. “We want to promote our local musical talent and create an inviting, festive atmosphere. We hope everyone will come out and enjoy this free event in our new park,” says Joe Davidson, caretaker of Matthews Park.
Local authors will add published writing to the variety of creative work highlighted at the event. The authors will also be speaking about their books and the unique history and culture of Greenbrier. Event-goers will have an opportunity to purchase signed copies of their books and meet the authors. This portion of the event is supported by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Artists specializing in handcrafted, original, high-quality works will be on hand to display their work. Attendees will have an opportunity to purchase items from these talented local artisans. Participating artists’ booths will be judged based on overall appearance and the quality of the entire body of work. Winners will be awarded a percentage of the booth fees collected and will receive ribbons, donated by Billy’s Trophies and Awards.
The Faulkner County Museum Traveling Exhibit will be on hand to display the works of local artists from the past and present. The exhibit will be “on tour” for the summer and will be displayed in several public spaces after the event, including Greenbrier City Hall, Greenbrier Event Center, and Greenbrier Nursing and Rehab. The museum has been closed to visitors for many months. “This is a wonderful opportunity to bring the museum to the people and further the museum’s mission of educating the public on the art and history of Greenbrier, building relationships, and celebrating our community,” explains Lynita Langley-Ware, Director of the Faulkner County Museum. Art Jam will also provide an opportunity for festival goers to contribute to a Time Capsule that will become part of the permanent collection housed at the Faulkner County Museum.
A student exhibit will feature works of art selected by the Greenbrier School District art teachers. According to Katie Hall, Greenbrier High School art teacher, “Our art department coordinates a district-wide art exhibit every spring. We have not been able to continue this tradition this year, and this will give us an opportunity to display student work for the community to enjoy.”
The student exhibit will also include the winning compositions of a creative writing contest. Students have been given the writing prompt: “Together we _____” which gives students some direction that ties in with the theme of the event, but also allows freedom to choose what to write about. The compositions will become part of the Faulkner County Museum’s Traveling Exhibit and Time Capsule, which is supported by a grant from the Faulkner County Affiliate of the Arkansas Community Foundation.
The “Bustin’ Loose Community Art Project” will allow event-goers to throw paint-filled balloons at three giant canvases, creating a fun, impromptu work of art. “Action Painting” is a form of Abstract Impressionism. Everyone will see different patterns in the finished work, and it will invoke different feelings and emotions in every individual. “It will be so much fun and satisfying to throw paint at a huge canvas,” says Julie Isom, local artist and Art Jam committee member. The completed community art piece will become the first public art installation in Greenbrier. One of the canvases will be on tour with the Museum’s traveling exhibit over the summer before it is permanently displayed at the Greenbrier Event Center. This fun, collaborative project is made possible by donations from The Home Depot in Conway and North Little Rock.
“Community Service, Inc., is partnering with the Art Jam leadership to plan and create a great experience for the kids while also doing the work of prevention,” adds O’Quinn. “Encouraging and empowering kids to pursue their passions is a great deterrent to using tobacco, alcohol and drugs. I can’t think of a better or more fun way to spread the message of prevention than through art! We are very excited about Art Jam,” says Shannon Cook, Region 6 Director of Prevention Services.
“We have several other partners and people working together to make this event possible. The Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce is doing an online coloring contest to promote the event on Facebook, MoJo’s Pizza is sponsoring our Hospitality Room for our vendors and volunteers, and The Children’s Clinic of Conway and Greenbrier is our T-shirt sponsor,” said O’Quinn.
Festival T-shirts will be available for purchase at the festival for $15. All profit from T-shirt sales will directly support the scholarship fund. There will also be other opportunities to contribute to the scholarship online and in person at the event. “We are excited about the fine arts scholarship that Art Jam will provide,” adds Ann Harrod, a teacher from the Greenbrier School District.
For those ready to enjoy the festival atmosphere in a safe environment, the Greenbrier community looks forward to seeing you to the first Art Jam in Matthews Park. All CDC and Arkansas Department of Health directives will be strictly followed. “We want people to feel comfortable and safe while attending.” – Greenbrier Art Jam Planning Committee
I am honored to have been chosen to tell the Greenbrier Baseball Story at Art Jam 2021. Check out the story on Dr. Baseball here.
Greenbrier Art Jam
Saturday, April 24, 2021
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
25 Ivy St.
Greenbrier, AR 72058
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