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Re: “An Agenda for Memphis

I can't begin to thank you enough for the article in today's Memphis Flyer. How stunning. How reassuring. How life affirming it was to see that someone “gets it”. It did my heart so much good to see these words come from an elected official in Memphis. And, I'm so happy that the elected official was you. I voted for you because you represented hope for this city... a chance that we might begin to take a meaningful look at the future. I sensed that you had this kind of vision. I felt that you would be the one person that might be able to look beyond the hopelessness, the empty rhetoric and empty promises and take action. You always struck me as an innovator. So, when I saw your article supporting the arts: their economic viability, how they improve quality of life, sustain community and move us forward, I felt so proud. My heart sang.
I'm one of the many artists who moved away from the city as a younger person. Then, later in life, I chose to return to Memphis to make a life for myself. I’ve been back in Memphis now for six years. I have to say, my time back here has been creatively stunning, spiritually rewarding and financially...well...let's just say that it’s been a challenge. As you said in the article, I did not choose the “life of an artist” for the money. I choose this life because I know I have something to offer this world. I have something to say. I've always wanted to build bridges with theatre...to extend a hand, to ask tough questions and to help tell stories that bring people closer to one another, closer to themselves and to the world in which they live. I take my work as a “creative” very seriously. That’s why I chose to do it here, in Memphis.
Why? Because it is unlike any place else I've known. I've had the pleasure of living all over the United States, in major Metropolitan cities. I've tasted success and had many adventures along they way, but all paths led me home. Artists like me come to Memphis to live and work because, in Memphis, everything seems possible. This city has always seemed to bubble with possibility and promise. Some of the most fascinating people I've ever met in my life are from Memphis. In fact, I always say that you haven't really visited Memphis until you've sat on someone's front porch and just talked the night away. Stories happen here. They grow. They live here. People dream here. That’s why artist’s come to Memphis.
As you stated in your beautiful article, artists also leave. I’ve experienced this time and time again. They leave because they can't really support themselves in the present climate. We are often viewed as simply, “the other” and dismissed as flaky, dreamy and insignificant. But you, kind sir, have given us a reason to stay.
I know artists have a place in the fabric of our city. I know it’s true because I see the impact we make everyday in the community. I see it, not just in the faces of clapping audience members, but also in the eyes of children that benefit from thoughtful educational programs. I see it in the “ah-ha” moments, in the laughter, in the discovery, the redemption, the fire, the curiosity, the collaborations, the call to action, the truth-telling, the hope, the healing and in the gratitude… which is why, I cannot rest until I have written you today.
Thank you. By acknowledging the economic impact the arts can have on our community and by embracing the intangible values inherit in our vital creative community, you have opened a new door for me. You have welcomed me and so many others into the larger conversation about our city’s welfare. You have invited us to the table. No civic leader has ever done this before. For this, for your wisdom and for all the other work you do, I am grateful. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you in being an advocate for the arts in Memphis and moving your “Agenda for Memphis” forward.

With gratitude,

Jerre Dye
Artistic Director
Voices of the South

Posted by jdvots on 07/16/2010 at 11:20 AM
Posted by jdvots on 06/30/2010 at 6:12 PM

Re: “One Sentence Reviews: Sister Myotis' Bible Camp (New York Edition)

Here's show bisinessweekly...
Voices of the South http://www.showbusinessweekly.com/archive2…

Posted by jdvots on 06/30/2010 at 6:11 PM


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