The James Memorial Art Center gives local artists the chance to take the stage and have their voices heard.

Poets, musicians and comedians take center stage this Friday for the James Memorial’s monthly community event, Out Loud! at the James. The event, intended to showcase local talent, takes place the third Friday of every month and frequently features a selection of live music and spoken word by members of the community.

“We wanted to have an event where people from the community could come and share their art,” explained Deana Novak, vice president of the James Memorial Board of Directors. “Art isn’t just a painting or a drawing, it can also be a song or a poem, and we want people to come and experience that.”

According to Novak, the event brings in not only musicians and poets interested in sharing their work, but community members looking for some live entertainment on a Friday night.

“A lot of people enjoy live entertainment,” she said, “And this gives them a chance to hear that without going out of town or having the noise of a bar. It’s very relaxed and laid back.”

The idea for Out Loud began in October during another James event, the annual Edgar Allen Poe Night, held to commemorate the late poet. Coinciding with the Halloween season, the event featured readings of Poe’s works, as well as other horror short stories and poems. As Novak explained, Poe Night received such a positive response that the board decided to create a monthly open mic event to allow the public to share their voice. Previously, the James had partnered with the owner of a local coffee shop to co-host an open mic night which was well attended, but had not held one since 2015. With renewed interest, Novak and the board moved forward to create Out Loud, with the first event taking place in November. Since then, the event has featured several local musicians and family bands, as well poets and storytellers.

“It lets people who might not otherwise be heard have a place to show their talent.” Novak explained. “We’re all about artists. We want people to come here, share their work and see that they have support in the community.”

The next Out Loud! At The James takes place Friday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., with local acts already planning to perform. The event is free to the public and no sign-up is required, interested parties need only show up at the James. The James Memorial Art Center is located at 621 1st avenue west. For any questions about Out Loud! or other upcoming events, contact the James at 701-774-3601.



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