Expat Artist: Janice Harrington, jazz, blues and gospel singer
Janice Harrington, living in Scharnebeck, brings jazz, blues and gospel to villages across Germany.
Name: Janice Harrington
City of residence: Scharnebeck, Germany
Reason for moving to Germany: First for work and then marriage.
Can you describe what you wish to communicate through your art work?
My goal is to introduce children around the world to "authentic American music and its global impact". Our project begins in an African village with a history of the people's enslavement, their ocean crossing and their arrival at the auction block in America. The musical history then moves on from there, ending with Hip Hop today.
Which medium do you work in?
I am a jazz, blues and gospel singer. As a music educator, I teach children from ten to seventeen years old and lead adult gospel workshops.
How has living abroad influenced your work as an artist?
I have had the opportunity to develop my projects and see them bloom in new ways. For instance, I am the mother of gospel workshops in Germany. I began Gospel seminars in 1993 (no one was doing this at the time), bringing in Charles May from Los Angeles every year until 1999. Please see my video below for the first Gospel seminar which was held in Lueneburg and which I ran every year until 1999. People from all over Germany came and were encouraged to form their own choirs. Now almost every village in Germany has a Gospel Choir. That is another story!
Which famous local artists inspire you?
Nina Hagen--I like the way she reinvents herself.
How easy or difficult is it to mix with the local artistic community?
I am a loner but normally I create concepts that people like to come to. So, I don't find it difficult to mix with local artistic communities.
Can you offer some advice to people wishing to break into the local art scene?
Maybe it's because of my age (I’m 68) and the fact that I’m an Aries, but I just find that when I want to do something I organize it and take the risk. I don't advise this for everyone but there are not too many people out there who are going to invest the time and energy to promote someone of my age, in this day and age. I am a throwback to the glorious days of jazz and blues and am determined to work as an educator; I will never let this part of Black American History die. Lady Gaga, Britney and Madonna did not invent this music!
What kind of financial support is available for artists working in your country of residence?
This is where I drop the ball. I have only asked the Sparkasse bank in the local communities to finance my projects with schools. I do understand there is money out there for the type of programs that I do--especially those for children. I run the adult workshops without outside funding.
How would you describe the art scene in your current country of residence; for instance is it thriving or not in good shape?
Germany's art culture is not thriving but it is rich and diverse.
Would you like to add anything that we haven’t addressed in the questionnaire?
My new project is "The Roots Of Gospel And Spirituals"
You will find the brochure on my homepage www.janice-harrington.com and click "News" and follow the links.
Plus,from time to time I am organizing Workshops with Grundschulen and Lebenshilfe the next workshop is in Lüneburg,
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