By DANIEL SUDDEATH
Block by block, piece by piece, more than 60 local artists diligently created the framework Saturday for a more than 7-foot tall sculpture that will eventually be placed in the lobby of Clark Memorial Hospital and Health Services.
Through its JAM sessions, the Jeffersonville Arts Alliance has provided an outlet for local artists to create and has found places to display their work.
JAM stands for Jeffersonville Art Movement, and River View Middle School was the site for Saturday’s session.
Wood and found objects were used to create boxes that will be sculpted together for the art piece. The project was inspired by the creations of Louise Nevelson, who was noted for painting in monochromatic black or white and specialized in conceptual art. One of Nevelson’s pieces is predominately displayed at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.
While their goal was to create a sculpture in the mold of Nevelson’s style, JAM session participants weren’t all professional artists.
From school-aged children and teenagers to adults, organizers brought a diverse group of people together to work toward a common goal.
“It truly is a communal event,” said Dawn Spyker, an arts teacher at River Valley and one of the Jeffersonville Arts Alliance creators.
The group had sought to bring an Arts Center to Jeffersonville last year, but when that plan fell through, it focused on other ways to involve the community.
The JAM sessions were hatched because the Arts Alliance felt it would promote the fine arts locally without requiring participants to be professionals, Spyker said.
Obviously professional artists and their creations are important to the local community, but there also should be a place for up and coming artists or those who just have an interest in the craft, she added.
“We can be a part of bringing art to the community made by the community,” Spyker said.
The sessions kicked off about a year ago, and were initially held at Jeffersonville High School when Spyker served as the arts teacher there. Though the venue changed, the community participation didn’t wane.
“We were blown away by how the community came out to support this,” said Arts Alliance member Jennie DiBeneditto.
She met Spyker while both were earning degrees through the University of Louisville Ceramics Department, and the two own a ceramics studio in downtown Jeffersonville, called Silica.
The Arts Alliance consists of similar artists who want to share their passion with others and provide creative outlets for others, Spyker and DiBeneditto said.
They credited Greater Clark County Schools for allowing the Arts Alliance to host JAM sessions at River Valley. The school system agreed to partner with the organization for the events because they are educational and provide opportunities for students to participate, Spyker said.
Once the latest sculpture is completed, it will be finished with a cream shade and displayed inside Clark Memorial.
The Arts Alliance will begin working on its next project, a “towering totem pole”, in April. There’s also a JAM session planned for June 7 to create a community art float for the Jeffersonville Independence Day Parade.
The Arts Alliance garnered a $5,000 grant through the Indiana Arts Council to support the JAM sessions.
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