Turner Center for the Arts brings the blues to life

Published: Jul. 30, 2018 at 6:22 PM EDT
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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News

July 30, 2018

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The blues are coming to life at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta.

'We Are the Music Makers' is a new exhibit debuting Monday night. An opening reception welcomed the community to the new exhibit, showcasing blues artists from all across the south.

"When you think about the blues, it's part of our culture, it's what made us," said Turner Center for the Arts Executive Director Sementha Mathews.

The sounds of the South and the faces who made it are now lining the arts center.

"You can't separate the South from the blues, it's just a great time of our American culture, music culture," Mathews said. "This exhibit allows you to get the stories behind the music and behind the people that created it for us."

The exhibit features photos all across the arts center. The Music Maker Relief Foundation also provided examples of artists' music and background on each person, syncing up with your smart phone.

"[The arts center] provides an opportunity for people to come together, to talk about it, to remember it and to celebrate it," Mathews said.

In Valdosta, the music scene is still growing. Local musician and owner of Goodtime Jr. Music Shed Alphonso Johnson Jr. is making sure it doesn't slow down.

"Valdosta is a collective of different people that move here, coming from other cultures," Johnson said. "So The Music Shed, what we're doing here is shed light on different genres of music because it is changing, it is growing."

The Music Shed allows local artists from all genres to take the stage. Johnson said southern blues or not, it's always important to remember who first paved the musical path.

"We come up with our own style, our own technique, our own spin, how we're bringing it as musicians. But, we learn from those who came before us," Johnson said.

The Goodtime Jr. Music Shed puts on shows in downtown Valdosta every first and third Friday nights.

'We Are the Music Makers' will be open for the next six weeks. The arts center said it was possible through the $6,200 Georgia Department of Economic Development's Georgia Council for the Arts project grant. The grant was matched by the Price-Campbell Foundation.

The grant is also funding the Music Maker Blues Revue concert on August 11, featuring some of the artists involved in the exhibit. Proceeds from the concert will go to the Music Maker Relief Foundation, which helps support struggling blues artists across the South.