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Community Arts Day showcases local talent

JACKSON — Northampton County artists once again came out to display their work at the 2nd Annual Community Arts Day.

Approximately 16 local artists along with Northampton County school students participated in last Saturday’s event held at Cultural and Wellness Center. Visitors perused tables of paintings, baskets, woodcrafts and crochet items.

“You never know how much talent is out there until you search for it,” said Judy Collier, Executive Director of the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce

According to Collier, a Grassroots grant from the North Carolina Arts Council provides funding for the event.

This year’s artist in residence was Phillip Shabazz, a poet from Carborro County. Shabazz worked with students from Northampton County Schools with poetry for two weeks.

“It’s always interesting, fun and a learning experience to work with young, emerging writers,” said Shabazz.

The writer was selling his third novel, “When the Grass was Blue: Growing Up in the South,” at the event. Shabazz said the book is set during the 1960s and is about ordinary people, both black and white, who wanted to change the world.

During the program, some of the students Shabazz worked with recited their work for the crowd. They were accompanied by student musicians from Chowan University.

Many of the featured artists noted the importance of art education.

Print artist Barbara Bray of Pendleton said she felt art is a way for students, and everyone, to express themselves and that children need to get back to their culture.

“I think our youth today need role models,” she said. “Arts tell a story, I love that part.”

Maria Brazil, who displayed her crocheted hats, agreed that arts are an important aspect in children’s learning process. She said arts can provide help with self esteem issues in children.

“I think that (arts) are absolutely essential,” she said.