Lift Every Voice: Singing and Living with Purpose

CAP, in partnership with Jacksonville University and PNC Bank, hosted Lift Every Voice: Singing and Living with Purpose on October 7-8. This two-day collective impact festival, held at Jacksonville University, featured a panel discussion and community concert, bringing together Jacksonville leaders and community stakeholders to strengthen public awareness of arts education and build long-term support for the arts. Both events were free and open to the public. 

On Friday, October 7, at 9 a.m. a panel discussion designed to spark conversations between industry thought leaders provided expert insights about the fundamental values of the arts and their impact on youth and the community. The panel, moderated by Jeanette McCune, Director of School and Community Programs at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, included: 

-Gwen Moten, White House Appointed American Cultural Specialist
-Numa Saisselin, President, Florida Theatre
-Dr. Timothy Snyder, Dean, Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts & Humanities, Jacksonville University
-Aundra Wallace, President, JAXUSA Partnership
-Darryl Willie, Chair, Duval County School Board 

“We are so lucky to have assembled such a distinguished panel of speakers for this important conversation,” said Dr. Lucy Chen, CAP’s Vice President of Advocacy & Community Engagement. “This discussion will tackle ideas and questions about the importance of arts education from K-12 to higher education, resources and partnerships, and the arts as an economic engine for the city. Our panelists will share their unique perspectives on building a robust arts ecosystem for Jacksonville.” 

On Saturday, October 8, at 5 p.m., internationally renowned musician and performer Gwen Moten, with singers from Duval County Public Schools, Edward Waters University, Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida, provided an unforgettable performance in a community concert titled From Birmingham to Botswana. 

Lift Every Voice: Singing and Living With Purpose tackled ideas and questions about the importance of arts ed., resources and partnerships, and the arts as an economic engine for the city.  Share on X

Gwen Moten specializes in using personal narrative and song to describe her experiences during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. She uniquely explores the relationships of historical social movements and correlates them with her international travels in apartheid-era South Africa and East Berlin under the Iron Curtain. 

“I am so very excited to share with the Jacksonville community my life and my world in the arts,” said Gwen Moten. “Salvador Dali once said, ‘A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.’ It has always been my desire to encourage others to see themselves as creative galvanizing forces that can make a positive difference in the world.” 

Lift Every Voice: Singing & Living With Purpose

Photos are also available on Facebook.

Editors note: This post was originally published on Oct. 3, 2022, and has been updated for accuracy.

October 3, 2022