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    The Dickson Gallery of Fine Art, Jackson, Tennessee


"Street Musicians Wanted", by Rachel Dickson
February 2, 2006: The Jackson-Today

The Dickson Gallery of Fine Art, Art Gallery Tennessee , Jackson Today Weekly Column by Rachel Dickson 


        Street Musicians Wanted



    The first time I remember seeing a street musician was when I was about 11 years old.  My mom grew up in Philadelphia, PA and many summers my family and I spent one week visiting with my grandparents there.  Having grown up in rural (cornfield rural) Northwest Ohio you can imagine the allure that a city the size of Philadelphia had on me.  It was always such an adventure to ride the L-train into downtown and then hop on the subway on the way to the coolest shopping mall, the Galleria.  I can still remember hearing the clack, clack, clack of the subway cars sliding along the tracks.  The smells of being underground much of the time were very memorable too…sort of a damp, dirt, mold kinda smell.  I could easily write entire chapters about the many memorable experiences of all that…but just one of the many that stands out were the street musicians in the subway.
    The way their music echoed off the cement walls of the subway tunnel system created a unique amphitheatre-like sound.  I was amazed at their confidence to stand out in the open with hundreds of people walking by, some ignoring them all together, some stopping to watch and listen, and some pausing just long enough to toss some change into their makeshift tip containers.  These folks were clearly free souls and truly added to my big city, downtown experiences.
   I would love nothing more than for downtown Jackson to offer similar pieces of ambiance.  That is…street musicians playing on various street corners, a couple food


vendors/push-cart style (Why is it that a hotdog out of those little push-carts tastes so good?), artists painting, etc, etc.  I don’t believe that downtown Jackson will likely have such every day of every week (there’s just not enough foot traffic)…but we certainly can create this environment at least one night a month.  Hence enter Fabulous Fridays downtown.
    We’ve now successfully hosted five of these open-house oriented downtown events.  And all but one or two we’ve had a solo saxophone player performing on the street. Every one that I’ve talked to regarding their take on Fabulous Friday downtown has especially raved about the saxophone player. Dr. Sax (Ralph Thomas) and Denny Anderson have both done an excellent job adding to the atmosphere of downtown on these select evenings…special thanks to them.
    And I’d love to see/hear more!  Makes me wish I were a musician…I’d play for tips.  If you’re a musician (saxophone, guitar, clarinet, trumpet, flute, trombone, violin, drums, dulcimer, etc) and would like to join us downtown on the last Friday of each month, please contact Jackson Downtown Development by calling 427-7573.
     Dickson is the owner of The Dickson Gallery of Fine Art at 118 E Lafayette Street. She may be contacted by email at
rachel@dicksongallery.com or by phone at 423-9708.




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