Right place, right time

Published 9:07 am Friday, March 7, 2014

Bruce’s involvement with artistic outreach programs began before the Shelby County Arts Council launched in 2005.

He’s been involved with the Alabama Blues Project, which seeks to educate the public about the state’s rich blues heritage.

He and Joy have long championed the importance of the arts – whether it’s music, painting, dance or theater – in children’s education.

“I think it’s awesome for them to develop those talents. It helps them be more outgoing,” Joy said. “It builds their confidence, their self-esteem.”

Bruce got involved with the SCAC soon after it launched. He began by teaching classes, and even helped develop a few programs, such as a musical outreach program for students at the Shelby County Juvenile Detention Center.

Bruce and George Dudley visited the center in June and taught the students, ranging in age from 13-18 years old, how to use a harmonica.

“We just started thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to get this in front of kids who are more at a crossroads, who are at a kind of place they can either turn their lives around or not?’ I was thinking, ‘Wow, these kids could really benefit from something like this,’” he said about the program in June.

Bruce believes all children should have access to arts education – and that all can benefit from it.

“I think on a really simple level every kid has an artistic spark in them,” he said.

So, when the SCAC was looking for a new executive director in the fall of 2013, it seemed like a perfect fit.