Art as an Agent for Change
One doesn’t have to be a Shakespeare, van Gogh or Silverstein to show off their creative side with Art as an Agent for Change.
The organization is open to those with an interest for all aspects of the arts: poetry, drawing, painting, writing or even just teaching children about art.
The AAC was kick-started in 2006 by Paul Grigsby from Georgia College. With two friends, Grigsby decided to make a difference in the community using art and personal expression.
The nonprofit says its goal is to, “Establish alliances with other artists, combat the plight of the oppressed, engage social apathy, promote social awareness and to inform all of the realities that shape our lives through the medium of art.”
Or as AAC spokeswoman Michelle Mercer said, “To promote arts in the community and bring about change through its people and programs.”
Though the organization is small – having only a limited number of volunteers in addition to founder Grigsby and associate director Tameka Dean – it is growing in size and influence. They are partnered with the Milledgeville housing authority, FolksArt, Buffington’s, Pair-O-Dice, Georgia FamilyConnection, Salesforce and GoodSearch.
The number of people involved directly with the nonprofit is slight, but Mercer remains optimistic.
“Ultimately, it’s the people involved; those who want to make a difference,” Mercer said.
Paul Ayo, executive director for AAC, plans the events for the organization and recruits volunteers and interns. He explains his story about finding his way into the organization.
“I’ve always had a proclivity for creating a better world, and the AAC is the vehicle I chose to set my dream into motion,” Ayo said.
Using art within the organization and teaching those in the community about art as well as change helps AAC achieve its goals.
An organization based around the artistic passion, devotion and creation of its surrounding community must be reliant upon those who contribute their works.
Some programs put on by the organization are Poetic Notions Poetry Festival, which takes place in April; The Shutdown Magazine that gives students the chance to have their work published and brought to the attention of the community; arts and crafts workshops for kids on the weekends; and “Poetry Jamz” at the Blackbird Coffeehouse, which is an open-mic poetry series that happens one Wednesday every month.
Freshman art major Emily Kearney-Williams is interested in getting involved with an organization like AAC. Using art, which has been a passion of hers for her entire life, is one way to change the community around her for the better.
“An organization like that is a really good way to get people involved with art and sharing it,” Kearney-Williams said.
If you are interested in joining, AAC can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and aacshutdown.org. Volunteer positions are open to any who wish to donate time, passion and art to the AAC and can be filled by visiting their website where a link is posted under the “about” bookmark. Internships are also available.