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Homer Jackson

Homer is the Director of the Philadelphia Jazz Project and brings good things to life.

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About Me

Homer Jackson is a talented interdisciplinary artist from Philadelphia with a background in teaching and social service. His work is presented as installation, performance art, public art, video and audio. He uses images, sounds, text, live performance, video, audience participation and found objects to tell stories. As a young art student, jazz nurtured Jackson’s creativity and provided an outlet for self-expression. In 1980, Temple University’s jazz radio station WRTI recruited Jackson to host a weekly radio program and produce a monthly magazine. Jackson enriched WRTI’s programming through artist interviews, record reviews and profiles on key musicians and musical movements until 1988.

With over 20 years experience as a teaching artist working in community settings, Mr. Jackson has served as project director for a number of arts & humanities projects and has conducted workshops in senior centers, prisons, schools and community organizations. In 1996, he received special recognition for his work with Youth-at-Risk from the President's Committee on Arts & Humanities. Jackson has worked with young people, adults and older adults, as well as inter-generational participants. Through his workshops, participants have produced art exhibitions, albums, books, comic books and videotapes.

Mr. Jackson is a BFA graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art and he holds a MFA from Temple University's Tyler School of Art. He has performed, or exhibited works at the Philagraphika, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Nexus Gallery, Moore College of Art, Yellow Springs Institute, the Painted Bride Arts Center, Taller Puertorriqueno and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia; at Hallwalls Arts Center in Buffalo, Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibition, Art Center/South Florida in Miami Beach, Maryland Art Place in Baltimore, the Kitchen, Art In General and Aaron Davis Hall in New York City, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington and ArtBlackLive in Northhampton,UK. He has created performances in collaboration with artists such as the late AACM violinist, Leroy Jenkins, Twin Cities-based instrument maker and former AACM president, Douglas Ewart, the late, Washington DC/Philadelphia poet, Essex Hemphill, Baltimore-based multi-media artist, performer and MacArthur Foundation, “Genuis” Award recipient, Joyce J. Scott, as well as the award winning, Philadelphia-based hip-hop ensemble, The Roots.

Mr. Jackson has received support for his work from the Wyncote Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Pew Fellowships in the Arts, Civitella Rainieri Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Pennsylvania Radio Theatre, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, The Playwrights Center, Pennsylvania Humanities Council, The Funding Exchange, Art Matters, and Franklin Furnace Fund For Performance Art. Homer Jackson lives and works in Philadelphia and currently serves as the director of the Philadelphia Jazz Project.

My Jazz Story

I was first exposed to jazz by my older sister. We lived down the street from Philly's legendary Hasaan when I was a kid. I went to the store and dry cleaners for him a few times. The best show I ever attended was a few years back at the Afro Museum in Philly. It was David Murray, Hamiet Bluiett, Oliver Lake, Donald Smith, Fred Hopkins and vocalist, David Peaston. They performed patriotic and religious music. It was absolutely amazing. Moving. Powerful. The first jazz record I bought was not a jazz album, but bridging to jazz that I remember vividly. It was Santana's 1972 album, Caravanserai. Shades of jazz, rock, funk, blues meet African, Afro Cuban and Brazilian colors. The magical brew that they concocted still enthralls me today. My advice to new listeners... when you find yourself on one of those musical bridges like the Santana I mentioned, relax and enjoy the trip.

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