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Jacoby Arts Center announces “Social Justice: Both Sides of the River”

This article appeared on on June 9, 2016. You may access the original article here.


What: Social Justice: Both Sides of the River
When: July 1 – August 6, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, July 8, 2016, 6pm – 8pm
Where: Jacoby Arts Center, 627 East Broadway, Alton, IL 62002

Alton’s history is marked by champions of abolition, freedom of speech, and equal rights. We celebrate the heritage of Elijah P. Lovejoy, Lyman Trumbull, Scott Bibb, and Abraham Lincoln who vigorously defended American principles of liberty and justice for all. Yet our society still wrestles with racism, violence and fear of the unknown.

Art, springing from the human heart, transcends ‘isms, allows us to mingle with the “other,” dialogue, gain insight, and form connections.

This summer, Jacoby Arts Center presents “Social Justice: Both Sides of the River,” including Freida L Wheaton’s “Visualizing Life: Social Justice in Real Time,” first exhibited at the Touhill Performing Arts Center and then the Vaughn Cultural Center in Grand Center, St Louis. Additional works by Marilyn Robinson, Jane Sauer, Illinois-based artists Tiffany Cade, Mannie Garcia, Darnell Malone, Edna Patterson-Petty, Sun Smith-Foret, and Angel Weber are included. Local artist Christine Ilewski’s 8-year-old project portraying children lost to gun violence titled “Faces Not Forgotten” will be displayed in the East Gallery. Each artwork probes what it means to be a member of, or outsider to, a system.

“I’m so excited to have the exhibition come to Alton; history is being made. As far as I know this is the first time Jacoby Arts Center has put on an art exhibit with primarily African American artists and I hope there will be more to follow. Come out and enjoy the artworks these artists have created based on events in human history.” –Eva Perkins, Jacoby Arts Center Board member.

Social Justice grants program poster

“Social Justice: Both Sides of the River” serves as a platform for investigating our differences and our similarities, the root causes of barriers, and humanity in the wake of tragic injustices. Music, film, discussion, throughout the month, is set against this powerful visual backdrop.

Dello Thedford and The Gospel Symphonic Choir perform on Friday, July 8, at 8pm, immediately following the opening reception.

On Friday, July 15, at 7pm, Denise Ward-Brown will screen her award-winning feature-length documentary, “Jim Crow to Barack Obama.” Young people interview elders who have reached their advanced years with wisdom, fortitude and persistence in the face of grim treatment and repression. Q & A with director Denise Ward-Brown to follow.

Saturday, July 23, at 7pm, Green/Perkins productions presents A Tribute to Whitney Houston featuring Saman Swanson.

Friday, July 29, at 7pm, “Four Way Stop,” a feature film shot in St Louis, traces the life of an inner-city teenage boy (Paul Craig) who faces difficult decisions while trying to create a better life for his drug-addict father (Jaan Marion) and feeble mother (Marty K. Casey). Audience members will have a chance to discuss the film and its themes with a panel moderated by Steve Potter of St Louis Public Radio, Ben Golley, Chair of the Human Relations Commission, and Marty K. Casey.

The following evening on Saturday, July 30, at 7pm, Show Me Arts Academy Youth Choir performs selections from the national 2016 Spreading the Love Youth Tour.

“The Jacoby Arts Center is committed to providing opportunities for our community to come together to learn, build bridges of understanding, and create positive social change through art and arts education. Working towards racial justice is an integral part of this process. Jacoby Arts Center aspires to provide a space where marginalized voices can be centered and celebrated. ‘Social Justice: Both Sides of the River’ is an exhibit that does exactly that. We hope that the exhibit and the many programs we will offer throughout July will inspire more discussion and action around racial justice in the greater Alton community.” – Aaron McMullin, Executive Director, Jacoby Arts Center
“Social Justice: Both Sides of the River” is generously supported by Alton Memorial Hospital, Carrollton Bank, Illinois Humanities, Karen Wilson State Farm, and Wood River Refinery Phillips 66.

About the Jacoby Arts Center

The mission of the Jacoby Arts Center is to nurture and promote the practice and appreciation of the arts through education, exhibits, cultural programs and community outreach initiatives. Jacoby Arts Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The Jacoby Arts Center is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.