This past Saturday was the inaugural event of the Jessup Art Loop, a community outreach event that, on the second Saturday of every month from 3 to 8pm, showcases the original local businesses operating in Jessup, Pennsylvania, as well as the variety of talented artists and musicians from in and around the surrounding areas.
My fiance, Allen, was asked to play at the event, being a local(ish) guitar badass, which worked out great because I really wanted to check it out anyway. So while he did a little something good for the community, I had an awesome, and even eye-opening experience.
Allen played outside Capra Collina Winery on Constitution Ave, improvising over several backing tracks for an impressive four and a half hours straight. Man is intense.
Here’s a video of just a few minutes of his playing:
Capra Collina Winery is a small, family business completely deserving of their huge reputation in the area for quality, delicious wines. Their recipes are created the artful, old-fashioned way in the basement of their retail location, a quaint and adorable house-turned-winery with a separate kitchen and stairs that lead to a second (non-business-operational) floor.
The winery is seriously one of the coolest businesses I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. The people are friendly and genuinely appreciative of every single person who walks through their door. Of course, I also have to add that their wines are phenomenal; I walked out with three bottles of my own at the end of the day.
Naturally, Allen and I wasted no time opening a bottle for ourselves upon returning home that night. Here’s a quick picture we took enjoying a bottle of Niagara in his recording studio, located in the basement apartment of our house. Like his super bright green walls? Me neither.
Also out to lend their unique skills and talents to the Jessup Art Loop festivities were:
In addition to Allen shredding it up at Capra Collina, these musicians were also playing at various businesses throughout the Jessup Art Loop:
The inaugural Jessup Art Loop was a huge success. All of the business owners I had the chance to speak with as it was winding down were nothing but enthusiastic about the outcome and the amount of support that people had for their community and the businesses people have started in it in order to provide a life and legacy for their families. As someone who was merely a visitor of the Jessup Art Loop, a participant in all of what the businesses, musicians, and artists offered during those five hours on the second Saturday of the month, I walked away with a slightly different, yet humbling view of a town I grew up around but hardly ever visited.
When you are born, raised, and now live within 45 minutes of the same general area, you can start to believe you’ve seen all that area has to offer, especially when it is a blue collar, working class area best known for coal and hours away from an actual large city. When you don’t fit perfectly inside the normal, routine, 9-to-5 box that eventually comes to be expected of the best of us; when you watch your neighbors get up in the morning, go to work, and come home at the same time everyday; it’s easy to feel disconnected and like maybe you just don’t fit in.
What the Jessup Art Loop showed me, however, is that there are amazing and talented people all around me doing great things. They are continuing their family legacy in the wine-making business; they are running bake shops in the hope of being able to pass it down to their children; there are people spending months on one drawing with the hope that someday it means as much to someone else as it does to them; there are people writing songs and baring their souls to a crowd looking for the person it will speak to; they are taking pictures of the beauty of life through a camera lens. Even more, there are people who can relate to you right outside your door; who care about the things you care about and who have also maybe felt as if they were on the outside looking in to their own community.
This is precisely why community events, such as the Jessup Art Loop, are so important. Everyone benefits when a community works together to do something fun and great: businesses bring in more revenue (and then use those revenues to provide for their families and strengthen the local economy) and the people of that community realize that their home, the place that they thought they had seen and experienced everything they could in, does in fact still have a lot to offer them.