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Jacoby Arts Center to debut exhibition, films targeting social justice


“Social Justice: Both Sides of the River,” an exhibition of art and film, will be held at the Jacoby Arts Center, 627 East Broadway, Alton, from July 1 to Aug. 6. An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 8.

Among the works will be 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,” said Eva Perkins, Jacoby Arts Center board member.

The events will include music, film and discussion throughout the month, looking at racism, violence and fear of the unknown.

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

On Friday, July 15, at 7 p.m., 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. A Q&A with director Denise Ward-Brown will follow.

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

Friday, July 29, at 7 p.m., “Four Way Stop,” a feature film shot in St Louis, traces the life of an innercity 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 Alton Human Relations Commission, and Marty K. Casey.

The following evening on Saturday, July 30, at 7 p.m., 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,” said Aaron McMullin, executive director, Jacoby Arts Center.

“Social Justice: Both Sides of the River” is supported by Alton Memorial Hospital, Carrollton Bank, Illinois Humanities, Karen Wilson State Farm, and Wood River Refinery Phillips 66.

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