REVISED Artist Citizen, Amy Jackson.jpgThis edition of the Mindfully Creative podcast focuses on the concept of the “Artist Citizen” and how one artist shows up to serve her community. Amy Jackson, a multi-media artist and creative based in Nashville, Tennessee is our guest.

Amy creates in the following art media: painting, photography, writing, and music. Her painting began in 1993, as a way to express herself, because she was experiencing chronic facial and jaw pain at the time. As the physical pain healed, her paintings became a way to explore emotions over the years, both the sublime and excruciating. Amy also holds a Bachelor of Arts, Spanish from Agnes Scott College, in Decatur, Georgia,

Jackson knows that all artists seek to respond to the way they feel about the world around them. Amy was hugely inspired and intrigued by the subtropical natural world around her growing up in northwest Georgia. However, she also saw the blight of increasing development before she left home for college, and then in college learned of worldwide environmental threats as part of her studies in International Relations. For these reasons, she relates strongly to wild places on the Earth and seeks them out in her paintings and photographs, in the abstract and the representational.

She believes that all forms of matter contain some form of life, a typical perspective for a Buddhist such as herself. Her studies of Buddhism, creative visualization and meditation deepen this exploration of wonder and fascination, and she seeks a contemplative arts approach to all of her work, as a way of centering, editing, and transforming herself and her art.

It is these beliefs that guides her work in her Nashville communitiy by volunteering to bring art and creativity to local schools and community based organizations. We talk about her involvement in various endeavors to improve her neighborhood and her advice about how other artists and creatives can make a difference in their communities with their gifts as well.

You can learn more about Amy at http://www.amyjackson.cc. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @amyjacksoncc. Listen to this episode below.  The Mindfully Creative podcast can be heard on Google Play, Sound Cloud and Stitcher.

The Art of Giving Back: WVSA Arts Connection SAIL Reading Buddies Program

Since April, I have been serving as a Reading Buddy for the WVSA Arts Connection for a young person enrolled in their School for Arts in Learning (SAIL) Public Charter School. Once a week, I spend my lunch hour with my buddy, Christopher and assists him in his reading assignment. Though it is a brief interaction, it’s one that Christopher and I treasure. In addition to helping Chris on a weekly basis, I also helped out as a proctor during the school’s annual Comprehensive Assessment System (CAS) testing week. On Tuesday, June 22, 2010, SAIL recognized all 199 volunteers with a special presentation at the school (see photos below).

A little about the program….The School for ARTs in Learning (SAIL) is a K-8th grade public charter school located in Washington, DC’s bustling business district on 16th Street, NW.  The school provides multiple creative environments, opportunities and experiences for children through an arts-infused academic program. For the 2009-2010 school year, SAIL enrolled 164 students in K-8th grade and 60 percent received special education services.  Ninety-two percent of the students are African-American, five percent are Latino and two percent are Asian. About seventy-five percent of the students come from low-income families and they come from every ward in the District.
WVSA ARTs Connection (formerly Washington Very Special Arts) serves as the parent organization to SAIL.  It is a community-based arts and education nonprofit located in Washington, DC that serves youth and families from a variety of backgrounds. Their mission is to develop, implement and support arts-integrated education and employment programs for children and youth with special needs.

I am proud of the progress that Chris, a 6th grader and I did this year. I believe that giving back to others as a volunteer is so important to helping to solve some of the many ills of our society.   Read here and see how the Reading Buddies program from one organization made a difference in the SAIL Program.  A little bit of time can mean so much to a individual in need.

The SAIL Reading and Math Volunteers assemble for the Recognition reception…

The Principal Terry Bunton provides greetings…

Aaron LeCoin, Dean of Students, gives remarks….
A representative from the Parent’s Advisory Committee provides thanks on behalf of the parents….
Yours Truly with Principal Bunton showing off my certificate for helping with the CAS Testing…