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Street Talk

Arts Council Co-Chairs Put Eight Years  Of Hard Work Into Town’s Creative Scene


In the movie “The Blues Brothers” Jake and Elwood Blues prowl the streets of Chicago in their old Plymouth looking for the former members of their band “The Blues Brothers’ Show Band and Revue.” It seems Jake had just spent some time in Joliet Prison and that curtailed his performing days leading to the band falling apart. 

And the black suited brothers find the old band members; the musicians are doing everything from being a maitre d’ at a snooty restaurant to being short order cooks at a lunch counter diner.

Jake’s line is, “We’re putting the band back together”. Elwood says, “We’re on a mission from God.” The band is made up of folks whom are either going to play music or cook food. All nine members get back together and before long the groove starts and the roadhouses rock.

This Saturday there’s a nine-member group, a getting the band back together moment, so-to-say, taking place at the Old School Theater at 817 S. Main Street at 7 p.m. The band is ready and the sound will be big. Hammond organ, big brass, multiple percussion players, amplified guitars. All in the restored setting of the old school auditorium. You should be there, it is gonna be good.

That’s there is a nine member band about to rock out a formerly semi-derelict school on South Main is not a given in any town, much less one Water Valley size. Fixing buildings for creative purposes doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There has to be not only a need, but also a will and a desire and enthusiasm and beaucoup drops of sweat to make that happen. From lots of people collectively. You don’t need leaders in the traditional sense, but you do need some folks to run point, to be willing to actually take an idea and make it happen. Literally doing it themselves for their own inner satisfaction, but more so for the great good of others and the community as a whole. 

Running point on the creative energy for the last eight years in this town has been the Water Valley Arts Council. The WVAC is part of the WV Main Street Association. The Art Council has this sovereign but dependent status in the WVMSA. We’re all on the same page, but they set their own path. 

At the blunt tip of the point the last eight years in the WVAC  have been the co-chairs Ramona Bernard and Bill Warren. 

They, working along with a whole host of WVAC members, have produced eight Art Crawls, numerous other events, and Art Camps. They brought a creative life back downtown by bringing together long established natives and just-got-here newcomers. It has been a long, steady, and beneficial effort for many. And then many have joined in, so when you see live music venues or art galleries, know that the WVAC has laid the groundwork for those to flourish.

Ramona and Bill are retiring from the co-chair position, though not from the WVAC. Linda and Jamie Scott are taking over after them. It’s a good transition – for all and for Water Valley. If you see Ramona or Bill, just nod and give them a thumbs up. They’ve earned it.

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