The Scene: Why we need to Jam

Almost every type of artist has a home base to develop their craft. Writers and poets at times sit at their desks, the musician, painter and dancer use studios and the actor tends to work on the stage. Yet, while all artists may present their work through different venues, it is a wonderful and uncommon sight to sell all of these artists come together and perform in the same location. It creates a central hub of creative activity for the public to experience the multiple and ever evolving facets of the art world.

This past weekend, the Center for Entrepreneurship established the first Wooster Jam Session, a unique collection of artists from the College and north east Ohio. Under the guidance of director James Levin and producer Alyssa Wilmot, the Jam Session was a great opportunity for members of the college campus and town to continue exposing themselves to different artists.

I was disappointed at the relatively low attendance that I witnessed on Friday night. When I arrived at the Wayne County Fairgrounds that evening, I was expecting to see swarms of people exploring the venue. What could have been the cause of this? A lack of interest in the arts, the off-campus location or just pure laziness?

It wasn’t until that weekend that I realized that it was Good Friday and Easter was approaching on Sunday. So, it seems plausible that there were a number of students who went home to visit their families for religious services. And on Saturday, the Sigs held their infamous off-campus party “Lumber Jack” to celebrate the joys of destructive debauchery, which might have caused a lower attendance for the Jam Session. While I was not at the Fairgrounds on Saturday to confirm this, it appears to be the case there were some major events that were preventing people to go to this art festival. And the rainy forecast did not help draw students closer to the arts.

Some might wonder why the Jam Session was not on the college campus. Well, this would not be plausible during April. The Jam Session used four different covered locations to allow different sets of activities to run simultaneously like clockwork under any weather condition. These sites do not really exist on the campus because many of the obvious locations for the arts might not have been available. For example, the Ebert Art Center is currently occupied by student and faculty exhibitions, which leaves no room for other artists to showcase their work.

So I have to applaud the producers and volunteers for the Jam Session for choosing the Wayne County Fairgrounds to host the festival. To me, it signaled an attempt to convince students to jump out of the Wooster bubble to journey on an artistic adventure; there was even a shuttle service provided from the campus to the festival.

If the Jam Session comes to fruition again (and I hope it does), my only request to people outside of the art is to attend the festival. We are very lucky to have the energy and space to give artists the opportunity to enrich our lives through art. For those who steered clear of the Jam Session because it would only feature local artists, I have three biting words for you: Shame on you. It takes a lot guts and hard work for artists everyday to fight for space and time to continue pursuing their work. If you took the time out of your schedule and went to the Jam Session, you would realize how art enhances no only the liveliness of the human spirit, but its creativity.

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