YoTrip Presents: Jane Turner “A Woman People Should Know”
Below is my third feature blog post in honor of Women’s History Month. It is important that we celebrate the beauty and brains of women. Please enjoy learning about these fascinating women and then make sure you support them in their passions, projects, and products.
Who are you? Please share something about yourself and your business?
I am Jane Turner, a mother, grandmother and a friend to many. I especially take pride in knowing that through my life’s work, as a social worker, I have been able to touch and be touched by many people with whom I have come into contact. Many of these experiences have been mutually life altering. The outcomes were not always what was desired, but for the most part, the best that the Universe had to offer. I am a firm believer that all things work for good.
I am a graduate of Tuskegee (Institute) University, an ongoing student at Crealde School of Art, the Maitland Art Center and batik student of Shalini Tandon. As stated beforehand, my life long career was in human services, where I worked as a social worker, supervisor and administrator for over thirty years, in several states. In 2006, I retired from the State Of Florida, since that time, my primary interest has been focused on the pursuit of artistic expression. For me, this has taken many forms that include, the visual arts as well as the written word. I perceive these mediums to be more influential and powerful than any gun, knife or fist in changing the world for the betterment of mankind.
My childhood was spent traveling with my military family, from Alabama roots, to live in many states in the U.S., Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Early in life, my mother introduced me to paint-by-numbers projects, which became the catalyst for an exciting adventure into the world of art.
I have always drawn, sketched and painted. As a child, I regarded this as a means of filling up space and time, as we traveled from place to place. Little did I know that I was soaking up a wealth of varied artistic and cultural exposures that would influence me later in life.
Currently, I am a published and exhibiting artist. I work in acrylic, oil, pastel, graphite, and charcoal. I have also branched out to include batik, sculpture and photography in my repertoire. I am the artist for a team that conduct Heritage Workshops for school age children ( tri-county public schools and private schools), at The Hannibal Square Heritage Center in Winter Park, Fl. Lastly, I am a member of the Orlando Renaissance Writers Guild. Through that association I am developing as a short story writer, published my first article and I am working on an impending book. I also work closely with Habitat for Humanity to insure housing for low-income families.
I reside in Eatonville, Florida, the oldest Black Incorporated Township in America. Most of my work has been completed in Eatonville. My work is signed, Jane Lily or Jlily to honor my ancestors.
What makes you a woman who people should know?
I strongly believe that I have a story to tell. Especially from the vantage point of history. As a woman I am proud to be a descendent of strong , determined African people who continue to carve out a place in this some time, harsh and unfriendly landscape, that we call America. First and foremost, I grew up feeling the pulse of people, in the U.S. and outside of this country. I learned that no matter the language, race or nationality, or the color of skin that we all have more in common than differences. I lived through the civil rights movement and was a student at Tuskegee Institute during that critical time, when pressure was brought to bear that called for change to American society. I am proponent of the Salad Bowl Theory, that like a salad, each ingredient is different, but brings its own unique qualities and flavors to the bowl to make it complete. As the U.S. progress, each race, each culture and ethnicity has something to contribute to make a whole. My concern is that African-American’s will have a strong presence, in present and future contributions. It is imperative that we know and respect our history, no matter the pain, shame or hardship and teach others. African American history is uniquely American, just as Jazz. Our color did not change, but our languages, nationalities and cultures were deliberately obliterated, when we reached these shores and merged into one- called African-American history. Our people had to endure much to get us to today. My proudest moments are when I am sharing this in a Heritage workshop or when I am explaining a painting, sculpture, or photo or discussing the collective memory. It is indeed an eye opener for many.
When did you find out that you had something special that you wanted to share with the world?
“Anwar’s Dream “ was my first serious painting. I call it my light bulb moment. The first spiritual recognition that I should do this, that with God’s grace, I could do this. I was about thirty-five years old. I was going through a very stressful time in my life and found my gift. However, I still did not follow the spirit until later. Several years lapsed and in 1990, I moved from Los Angeles, Ca. to Eatonville. It was there that I begin to develop, first it was a hobby. Everett Spruill was my first mentor. Once I gained the confidence to let him see my work, he gave me a show in his then, Ethnic Art Gallery in Winter park. From my first show came a publication in a local Magazine. That was again a un-huh moment. I have continued to develop my craft, exhibits and appear sporadically in publication. My short stories are also something that I love to share.
Where can people find out more about you?
My website : artbyjaneturner.50megs.com
How do you make it all happen?
Artistic expression is a very spirit filled experience. The brush strokes are given to the artist, just as the words are given to the writer. It is never something that just happens, but flows through the artist when he is at one with the creator. The artist is a conduit! One should never forget to give thanks and honor to God for his gift.