As Artists Without Walls celebrates its fourth anniversary this month, we’ve asked members to share a few thoughts about their experience with the group. Here’s what storyteller/seanchai Jim Hawkins wrote:
Tom Myles brought me to an Artists Without Walls’ event about eighteen months ago. I have tried not to miss their monthly events ever since. I was made to feel so welcome; It is always that way when one goes to an AWoW event. Charles Hale and Niamh Hyland do a great job making people feel welcome and at ease. The excitement and level of talented people one enjoys at an AWoW event is outstanding. Each month I know I am going to see and hear a great musician, a fine poet, an exciting dancer, a terrific piece of theater or a good storyteller.
For those of us who perform at an AWoW event there is a feeling of genuine community support. The first time I performed I was quite nervous, but I could feel this great group of people supporting and encouraging me. People want you to do well! I think all of the performers feel that way. It’s very special.
Charles and Niamh cannot be praised and thanked enough for founding this great organization. I look forward to many more great times with them. Those of you who have not experienced an Artists Without Walls’ event, check the website and come to one. You will not be disappointed.
Jim Hawkins has spent decades telling stories, with a sly, folksy understated humor, just like the seanchaís of old, whom Hawkins emulates. With a gentle, easy-going manner and warmth, Jim tells the stories of nearly vanished Irish folkways to audiences far and wide, in public libraries, pubs, churches, universities, in Ireland and here in the United States. “I wish to be a vehicle that carries the history, culture and traditions of the Irish people, and to share the stories, songs and poetry of this great culture with the world. It will be my contribution to keeping this wonderful art-form alive and well.”