"How We Got Here" with Reggie Harris and Scott Ainslie! Friday, March 24, 2017 at 7:30 PMUNCP's Givens Performing Art Center
LUMBERTON — The North Carolina Arts Council has awarded a total $18,416 in Grassroots Grants to four nonprofits in Robeson County as part of its statewide arts funding program.
The Robeson County Partnership for Children and the Robeson Youth Symphony are teaming up to put a $6,708 grant to use. The youth symphony provides year-round orchestra programs to music students in the area, including a summer orchestra camp that recently concluded. The symphony’s director is Huadong Lu.
Rehearsals and concerts are on Mondays at Robeson Community College. The symphony’s first rehearsal will be on Oct. 3. Students who play strings, woodwind, brass and percussion are eligible to participate and can sign up at robesonyouthsymphony.org.
Purple Door Productions will fund its theater season with its grant of $6,708. The community based, semi-professional theatre and production company opened its season last week with Neil Simon’s comedy, “California Suite.” Purple Door performers of all ages take the stage at Robeson Community College.
Jumbo Arts International will use its $3,000 grant for its popular Jumbo Jam program of performing musicians, singers, dancers and writers. A semiannual, free event Jumbo Jam promotes art and creative expression and highlights local artists. Jumbo Arts International is run by Red Springs residents Margie and John Labadie, who also publish the Journal of Creative Arts and Minds, known as JCAM.
Communities in Schools will receive $2,000 for an artist in residence program featuring an American Indian-style flute maker/performer. Communities in Schools of Robeson County serves about 5,000 students in 18 Robeson with the aim of reducing dropouts, providing academic assistance, conducting behavioral interventions and ensure students’ have basic needs, including food to eat on weekends.
The Robeson County Arts Council administers the grants on the local level.
Link to the story here.
The third edition of JCAM, the Journal of Creative Arts and Minds, was published this June by Jumbo Arts International. The online arts journal is a project Margie and John Labadie, who live in Red Springs and teach art at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
The colorful journal, more than 200 pages long, is international in scope and includes outstanding local artists. This is the first edition in which the Labadies have included their own work.
Their work is also on display in the Robeson Arts Council gallery, which had its grand opening on Sept. 10. Digital artists, the Labadies are three-dimensional in more ways than one: They are great teachers, scholar/artists and community activists. If I were to build the perfect professor, I would pick John and Margie as models.
In the 1990s, John migrated from traditional forms to digital art. It made him very popular with students looking for cutting-edge technology as well as advanced art education.
I met John not long after I arrived on the campus in 1997. A fellow Ohioan and former football player, it was instantly clear to me that there was a lot going on here. John is a true believer; whatever he is doing, he’s all in.
After working in traditional art forms, including archaeological drawing among the ruins of Central America, he became involved in the emerging field of digital art. His work is mind-blowing.
An Apple computer and Adobe Photoshop are the new canvas, paint and brushes. John is quick to point out that digital art requires the same skills as traditional art forms.
In 1998, John married Margie, a Philadelphia native. Together, they are what journalists call “go-to” sources. As the university’s publicist, I found the Labadies to be a story that kept on giving. When they traveled, they always came home with beautiful photos from India, Taiwan and elsewhere.
Together, they have traveled around the globe to collaborate with other artists and universities. The contacts they made, and their ability to network through social media, paid off in JCAM’s magazine pages.
This JCAM edition is filled with incredible art and stories of artists. There are artists from Russia, Spain, Greece, India, South Korea, the Czech Republic and Lumberton’s Joy McGugan. Textiles, sculpture, oil on canvas, digital creations and more fill the pages.
In the publisher’s letter, Margie writes: “With the third issue, the JCAM has reached a total of more than 600 pages of creative works published with the cooperation and support of more than 50 artists and writers.” The artists contributed in-depth interviews, often translated from their native languages or edited from broken English.
This brings us to their ongoing project, Jumbo Arts International, a local and international arts movement (www.jmboartsinternational.org). It is a nonprofit.
Their two recent Jumbo Jams at the Robeson County Public Library in Lumberton are the most visible incarnation of the Jumbo spirit. The last one was in April and featured live music, art, dance, spoken word and interactive art.
Jumbo Arts delivers diverse art and music while promoting local talent. Some of the local talent have included blues guitarist Lakota John, musicians Morris Cardenas and Danny Young, UNCP Jazz Trios, accordion virtuoso Betty Fisher, artists Alisha Locklear Monroe, Bucky Benson, McGugan and, of course, many more.
“We are planning another Jumbo Jam in October,” Margie said. “We may change up the venue to reach out to an even wider audience — but that is to be determined. We hope to have back some of our local players and invite new ones.
Check out the June issue of the JCAM and past issues at issuu.com/jumboartsinternational.
Around Robeson is Scott Bigelow’s monthly feature about area destinations and hidden gems. Suggestions for future entries in the series can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LUMBERTON — A jumbo-sized jubilee of all things creative will be held on Saturday in downtown Lumberton.
Jumbo Arts International will offer an afternoon of music, poetry, crafts and dance inside the Osterneck Auditorium of the Robeson County Public Library.
“It’s a different kind of experience,” said Margie Labadie, president of Jumbo Arts International. “I have had people come up to me and tell me that the event is the most diverse thing they’ve been to. Something will be happening the whole time, the event is great for family.”
The semiannual Jumbo Jam, from 1 to 5 p.m., is a free event that promotes art and creative expression.
Spirit Wing, a contemporary folk duo that specializes in American Indian music, will perform on Saturday. Labadie described Spirit Wing’s music as “powerful but fun.”
Other musicians performing during the event include guitarists Morris Cardenas and Danny Young. Returning to the Jumbo Jam stage are Ron Watson and David Manigo, a duo that focuses on piano jazz and swing music. The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Jazz Combo 2, directed by Larry Arnold, will round out the musical menu with a dose of soul during its Jumbo Jam debut.
In addition to live music, the event will feature poetry and prose readings. Weslyn Chavis, a local author, is expected to read some of her short stories.
Interactive offerings include “Life’s a Doodle,” a group-drawing activity led by Burritt “Bucky” Benson III, and a performance from The Robeson Rockers, a local dance troupe that gives audience members a chance to cut a rug on-stage.
“From our standpoint, we’re trying to make live performance the center piece. Writers who read aloud and get the audience involved in their work and musicians who play instruments are a big deal,” Labadie said. “It’s so important to us to support their live scene.”
A number of Robeson County artists will display and sell their work on display during the event. Some of the artists participating in Jumbo Jam include Joy Atkinson McGugan, Jordan McGirt, Terry Durham and Alisha Locklear Monroe.
The program is sponsored in part by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council. For information, visit jumboartsinternational.org or email email@example.com.
Gabrielle Isaac can be reached at 910-816-1989 or on Twitter @news_gabbie.
"We at Jumbo Arts International are so excited to publish the December 2015 issue of the Journal of Creative Arts and Minds. The JCAM gives members of the global creative community the opportunity to both define and express themselves... It is our hope that the words and imagery we share through the JCAM serve as a bridge toward understanding all people. Together we can redefine the cultural differences we place upon ourselves and each other and come together in peace."
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