Opening an organization dedicated to the intersection between art and social action, at this time, seems appropriate and daunting. As we are faced with uncertainty and rapid change it is important to care for self and community. I happen to believe that the arts can provide a place for building awareness, lifting up under-told stories, creating paths to healing, and connecting us to one another. Art making, the sharing of the arts through exhibitions and programming, and conversations can provide the safe and brave spaces for understanding.
Yellow House is intended to be a place, an idea, and an opportunity to engage with one another in intimate ways. At a time when human connection can feel artificial and distant, the “touch” of art is a welcome salve. It is also something that challenges us to see the world through other lenses and to see others.
Even the inaugural exhibition, Small Matters, exemplifies the idea of giving voice to issues that are shaping our world. 20 artists living and working in Northeast Florida will share recent works, small in scale, but big in message. Many of the works are direct responses to current conversations about race, environmental protection, human rights, and the symbols of our shared, yet divided, histories.
These works are being shared in a space that hopes to encourage dialogue and discovery, yet that place, Yellow House, holds certain beliefs at its core. Inclusion, representation, the power of creativity, the value of artists, taking risks, the importance of listening and learning, impactful collaborations, having courageous conversations, and creating an authentic sense of place are all essential in building a more just society.
This isn’t just a theoretical exercise, but is incredibly real. It is a practice that values truth-telling and meaningful connections in the communities where we work, including the very immediate neighborhood that embraces the physical location of Yellow House.
This is meant to be a conversation, which is the purpose of this new blog and why it is entitled such. As I write, I am in deep conversation with dozens of works of art that have much to say. I am also listening carefully to community partners and artists about their missions and desires. I am humbled by the advice and models put forth by colleagues, friends, and family close by and far away. I hope that you, too, will join the conversation. Welcome to Yellow House.