ARTSGREENSBORO SOLIDARITY STATEMENT
ArtsGreensboro acknowledges the long history of racism, discrimination, and inequities against Black people, and we stand in solidarity with the community in the pursuit of justice. We stand with our community in the fight for justice and equal treatment. Throughout history, artists have challenged, spoken truth to power, and forced change. Whether it’s supporting their artistic talent to create music, paintings, murals, dance, and visual images that will serve as reminders and inspiration or using our platform and privilege to bring voice to the voiceless, ArtsGreensboro is dedicated to serving all citizens of our community.
While the past eighty-seven days since Guilford County and the City of Greensboro declared the State of Emergency has been traumatic for many in our community-individuals, families, local businesses, restaurants, artists, and arts organizations among them, the racial inequities and disparities in access to resources have been more pronounced in this time of pandemic crisis and civic unrest. The last few days and nights, in particular, have been filled with pain as we saw peaceful protests overtaken by chaos and destruction.
It is our mission to increase access to the arts because we believe it improves the quality of lives and serves as a public good. We know that we cannot do this work effectively if we do not address inequity within our systems and stand united.
– Your ArtsGreensboro Family
ARTIST IN FOCUS
BY REBECCA WILLIE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – MUSIC FOR A GREAT SPACE
Sometimes music education is as impactful on the performers as the students. Jazz pianist Julia Whalen said “One of the most rewarding parts for me is their questions. I remember one student [when discussing improvisation] asking, ‘Do you always agree on what to play?’ That is such a smart question!”
Photos courtesy of
Music for a Great Space
In 2017, I had a conversation with Chad Eby, Professor of Jazz at the Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program at UNCG. Chad, along with colleagues across the country, have deep concerns with the startling lack of diversity in graduates of jazz studios. During our conversation, Chad stressed the importance of introducing jazz at the elementary school level. He also said “Students will learn about America’s original musical art form one way or the other, but it’s important for them to see the music live, and to see themselves reflected in the performers on the stage.”
And so the MGS Resident Jazz Quartet was born. Saxophonist Ariel Kopelove was joined by pianist Julia Whalen, bassist William Ledbetter, and eventually drummer Xavier Ware, all alumni of UNCG’s jazz studio. They have performed for over 4,200 students so far and are now featured in MGS’s Performances in Your Home series which you can find at www.musicforagreatspace.org/education.
As Ledbetter put it, “Playing for the kids is just as fun for me as it is for them… it is our job to introduce [them] to worlds beyond their imagination.” Ware also shared “I never had programs like MGS that came to my school to perform, so being able to do this for these kids…wouldn’t change it for anything!”
To learn more about Music For A Great Space, please visit www.musicforagreatspace.org.
“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. This is how civilizations heal.” -Toni Morrison
Local artists collaborate on a commissioned mural at Elsewhere Museum in downtown Greensboro.
Beautiful piece on McGee Street in downtown Greensboro.
MY ART STORY
BY MATTHEW GIDDINGS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – ELSEWHERE
Hello Greensboro! I am so excited to be living here and working at Elsewhere– it is a dream come true.
I want to share about a strange and wonderful project that I did a few years ago before joining Elsewhere. First, I should explain that I have an artistic alter-ego named Mather Seerlo who has a triangular hairdo and loves to sing and collaborate with people.
As Mather, I hosted an intergenerational Hair Fair at the Smart Museum of Art working with the artist Erik Peterson. This was a day of making monoprints with wigs attached to mop handles, making oversized wigs by gluing hair clippings to bicycle helmets, a hairdo contest judged by local salon-owner, and eating Kataïfi.
The event brought together people of all ages to do some very fun and strange things, touching on taboos while having pretty intimate experiences with strangers. I share all of this with you because it points to why I am so invested in Elsewhere’s mission: with people and things, we build collaborative futures. In this case it was hair. In other cases, it can be a nourishing meal with good conversation.
In all cases, people are brought together to dream and invent, in small and large ways, the world they want to be a part of.
ArtsGreensboro is dedicated to elevating the arts by creating awareness and promoting the vibrancy of our city; amplifying the impact the arts have in building strong and thriving communities for all citizens; and supporting arts organizations, artists, and teachers through grants, shared services, and technical assistance. For more information visit artsgreensboro.org
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