It helps keep Floyd green
For 13 years, the Jacksonville Center has been supporting artistic endeavors and rural creativity in our region. It is an organization of dedicated volunteers backed up by an extremely small group of paid staff members.
It serves as a focus for creating and supporting new artists and artisans. There is no other activity in Floyd that is dedicated to that activity. The public schools offer art instruction and various artists offer internships, but until recently, there were few other opportunities for artists to learn new skills and display their works locally.
Not everyone is aware that some internationally renown artists and artisans teach courses at the Jacksonville Center. Some instructors drive long distances to help students develop their skills and launch careers.
Hundreds of successful artists and artisans in the region are members of the Jacksonville center and some are members of the Board or manage the Hayloft Gallery exhibitions. Their actions inspire others to contribute to the Center and to take courses.
Every year, some students choose to become artists and artisans after taking courses from the professional artists at the Jacksonville Center. These new artists become contributors to the local economy and some return to teach at the Jacksonville Center as they gain professional skills and generate their own following of fans.
There is a synergy at the Jacksonville Center that keeps it going, even though the Center is perpetually strapped for operating funds. Grant money may pay for buildings and additions, but operating expenses are supported by donations from businesses and individuals. That is why there are so many volunteers who give time and money to keep the center open. It is one of the few places in the county where you or your children can unlock your creativity and learn skills from professionals in the field of arts.
But, even after 13 years of serving Floyd County, some people still don’t understand why government grant money is provided to the non-profit Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd instead of "deserving individual artists".
They really don’t comprehend that the Jacksonville Center IS DESERVING INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS.
They also don’t understand that grants aren’t "given" away. They must be won through a carefully thought-out application process and after a lot of hard work. The grants are government’s way of extending government services without adding the taxpayer burden of a staff of government employees and a local government office.
The few naysayers who say "stay away from the Jacksonville Center and support local independent artists and craftspeople and their displays in privately owned galleries and studios" do not have a clue what the Jacksonville Center does and must not be talking to the many artists and gallery owners who support the Jacksonville Center and donate time to it.
If you are an artist, you want your work in as many venues as possible and you want those venues to promote you and your privately owned studio as much as possible. The Jacksonville Center does this. It is open to all artists and is a resource that this county is very fortunate to have.
The next time you find someone criticizing the Jacksonville Center for "competing" with Floyd artists in any way, you might ask them exactly "who" is being affected. You will not get any specifics, only general grumbling.
The Jacksonville Center is non-commercial and is run by local artists and other volunteers. Anyone criticizing the Jacksonville Center as being "bad for local art businesses" has a hidden agenda and deserves being investigated themselves.
We need all of the cultural incentives we can muster to inspire us to unlock our creativity. The Jacksonville Center and the artists who support it are a driving force for self-sustaining economic development in Floyd County. Selling talent will help keep Floyd green. Selling only land leads to another, and less desirable future for Floyd.
Help develop local talent in all areas and help keep Floyd green.