Midtown Jackson, Mississippi, does not look like much. Potholes cover the streets and many people would view it as a part of their route- not a destination. However, last weekend proved that observation wrong. The streets were flooded with artists, musicians and children running around in the hot Mississippi sun. It was a gathering of makers and vendors all trying to show the world a little piece of Jackson. It was Midfest.
After walking by each artist’s pop up tent, you run directly into a local thrift store. Following a steep set of stairs you are met by every item one could imagine. Clothes line the walls, glassware fills the shelves and artwork tumbles out onto the floor.
After walking through the warehouse, the items continue into the parking lot. To the right are woman from the local jail serving ice cream, to the left a family with their golden retriever rummaging through CDs. It is a paradox in the most perfect way.
As I walked back to the car, expecting my adventure to be over, I noticed a door propped open amidst the greenery. After taking a closer look, I realized it was a hidden gem. Pearl River Glass Studio is a beautiful art gallery showcasing glass work from local artists. They have a studio in the back and keep their production close to home.
One would assume it was brand new, but the space has been open since 1975. There is history within the walls and stories displayed through each piece of artwork.
Every town has a secret treasure, some towns have only secret treasures. The point is, it’s important to locate the beauty in your community and help it thrive. If entrepreneurs invested their efforts into these areas, they would become the destination. It may be easier to go to the shiny new chain restaurant down the street, but these hidden areas often offer food for the soul- both literally and figuratively.
Artists seem to find the beauty in the most obscure places and it would be nice if the rest of us could do the same. No matter what your profession is- you have something to offer to these areas. Maybe you can promote them on your social media, become a vendor for the next event, or simply offer a smile within the crowd. If we help polish these hidden gems, maybe they will start to shine through the dust.