Via Mountain Xpress, article written by Alli Marshall:
It’s so easy to feel helpless when faced with the issues of the world, or even just within our own community, says Jessica Tomasin. “How am I, as one person, going to make a dent?” she asks. “How do we find those ways where we can open the space for connecting and communication?”
Faced with those questions, Tomasin, the studio manager at Echo Mountain Recording and an events planner for initiatives such as Goombay Festival, harnessed her own passions, skill set and considerable list of contacts. The result is Connect: Beyond The Page Festival + Conference, which will take place in Asheville from Friday, April 20, to Sunday, April 22.
The three-day gathering delves into social justice issues through the lenses of music, storytelling and film. And it brings together luminaries from those fields such as Maya Lilly, who is producing a film based on The Fifth Sacred Thing by neopaganism and ecofeminism theorist Starhawk (who will also be part of the festival); and filmmaker and Emmy Award-winning conflict journalist Joyce Ferder Rankin, among many others.
“Art is a great place to start influencing change,” Tomasin notes. Despite Asheville’s issues, such as segregation and gentrification, due to positive attributes such as a desire for unity and inclusivity, it remains a community with the potential to serve as a model for other places, she says. “There’s something about bringing people in from the outside to connect with our local community. The sky’s the limit to learn from each other.”
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