Welcome to the newest gallery in JAC’s Gallery of the Month series, where we showcase a wide range of art and writing under unique monthly themes. Check back on the first of each month for a new collection of works by the talented artists in the JAC network. To view past galleries of the month, see our Gallery Archive.
The gallery is in tribute to Norman S. Jason.
What makes a place feel like home? Is it the physical place itself, surrounded by the walls, floors and ceilings? Is it the community that inhabits the space, biological family members, chosen family, or close friends? Is it the gatherings and games, effortless company and heartfelt conversations that make us feel known — or is it a combination of all of the above?
This month’s gallery focuses on family. Many artists in our network have created beautiful artworks tying to this concept, illustrating partners, mothers, or children, while others highlight their pets, communities, or homes. JAC recognizes the importance of family in people’s lives, as a source of inspiration, but also in companionship, care, and love. Family is not limited to those with whom we are biologically related, but also encapsulates the chosen families we develop around us, the bonds created through the connection and care found within a community and between friends. While the prison industrial complex often severs relationships through incarceration, we seek to act as a bridge between communities, families, and artists, fostering connections rooted in shared interests, passions, and experiences.
The recent passing of Norman S. Jason, our Founding Director’s father and a valued member of our community, reminded us the importance of family. This gallery of the month is dedicated to Norman. His passing on July 18, 2021 brought both the grief of loss and the joy of remembrance to our lives. In the words of his daughter, Wendy:
“My dad spent his last two days using what little energy and breath he could muster to greet and connect with each one of the 6 children, 4 sons-in-law, and 9 grandchildren who flew in from all over the country to be by his side, and to speak with some of his oldest and closest friends on the phone (including his best friend of 83 years), saying farewell and thanking them for the memories they helped to create and the ways in which they contributed to his life.
Dad will be remembered for his gorgeous tenor singing voice, his athletic abilities, his sharp wit and sarcasm, and his charm. Most of all, though, he will be remembered and forever cherished for the communities and relationships that he built and sustained throughout his life. I see now just how deeply Dad cared about people, whether they were family, childhood friends, students and colleagues at the schools he led, fellow choir members, golf buddies, neighbors, or even the nurses who came to adore him over the course of his three week stay in the hospital.”
As in any family or community, our shared experiences are impacted by seasons of change, departure, and renewal. As you look through this gallery, think about the people, places, and communities that feel like home to you. The connections we make fill our hearts with love, the most unbreakable bond.
We hope you enjoy this month’s gallery: The Bonds of Family
Do you have feedback or an idea for a future gallery of the month? Submit your suggestions here.