Though it’s morphed and evolved over the years, it remains one of the museums’ most beloved ongoing programs as well as one of the most prominent and visible examples of Telfair’s commitment to community engagement.
“I Have Marks to Make” is a yearly exhibition that features visual artwork and performances from participants in Telfair’s various community outreach programs. It includes work from area public schools as well as a number of organizations working with individuals with disabilities and groups involved in various facets of rehabilitation. And though much of the work is presented under the rubric of art therapy, the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts and the meanings are much deeper than that heading might suggest.
“We’ve been doing this a long time and there’s definitely been a real feeling that this is something we should continue,” says Telfair’s senior curator of education, Harry DeLorme. “It’s something that has a lot of meaning for everyone who participates and it’s a way that we can engage a part of the community that’s not necessarily professional artists who are making art. I think it’s a really valuable thing. It also gives us a way to show the work that’s going on out in the community.”
“One of the most beautiful things about providing this outreach is the interactions you have with the people,” echoes education studio programs manager Kip Bradley. “The great thing about going out into the community and doing art is that a lot of people are scared to make artwork, or anything really. But we’re inherently makers; it’s what we do. So the wonderful thing about it is taking someone who’s lost an ability or is struggling with the loss of an ability they used to have and show them how to do something they thought they were maybe scared of. In some cases it’s about igniting the idea that they can be an artist, or that they can express themselves in a certain way.”
One of the new components of this year’s exhibition is the inclusion of statements from some of the artists about their work and what made their experience special. This new addition brings another layer of meaning to the work on view.
“It adds depth to the work when you hear their story and about their interactions,” Bradley says.
“I Have Marks to Make” opens at the Jepson Center on Dec. 10, which is Free Family Day, so there’s no charge to come see the work. You can also stay for the opening program, which will include readings from various participants. Some of the participating organizations include the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision, Department of Veterans Affairs, Rehabilitation Hospital of Savannah, Goodwill’ s ADVANCE Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program, St. Joseph’s/Candler Rehabilitation and many others. The day will also include local writer and poet Robert Cohen, a perennial favorite of the program and ongoing inspiration for everyone.
If you really want to support art and community, drop by the Jepson and see what kind of lasting effect art-making can have on people’s lives. That effect can be infectious.
IF YOU GO
What: “I Have Marks to Make”
When: Dec. 10-Jan. 1; Free Family Day is 1-4 p.m. Dec. 10
Where: Jepson Center, 207 W. York St.