Voting is a fundamental responsibility, privilege, and duty for all citizens. Voting is a direct method to impact policy change. I am reminded that voting establishes hope, which can effect change and affect the future. The power of the vote lies with the citizen.
The We Count project provided the opportunity to engage in conversations with four members of the Nashville community: Jake Lee, Vesna Pavlović, Sophia Stevenson, and John Warren. They come from different backgrounds and are engaged voting citizens in local and national politics.
Their motivations for maintaining an active voter status range from participating in public demonstrations to the process of naturalizing of citizens, their attendance of past presidential inaugurations, observing the changing face of the city and its neighborhoods, local economics, race, and the city’s infrastructure, as well as advocating for better community services, such as pedestrian/cyclist safety and public transportation. The commonalities of their experiences are their concern for the future and how they can help shape it.
In the We Count: Four Voices series of drawings, I grouped images that resonate with the stories I heard and depict sincere moments from them. The work is not a definitive view of their respective experiences but of compelling highlights that led to or occurred before their first voting experiences.
Jerry Bedor Phillips is an artist living and creating in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the building manager, studio assistant, and gallery coordinator for the Vanderbilt University Department of Art and for Space 204, the contemporary gallery space located in the E. Bronson Ingram Studio Arts Center. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking and drawing from Murray State University in 2007 and his Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking and drawing from Bradley University in 2010.
His work has appeared in exhibitions across the United States, with group shows at the Frist Art Museum, OZ Arts Nashville, and Red Arrow Gallery. Recent venues include Space 204 at Vanderbilt University; Red Garage Studios in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Gallery 336B at Illinois Central College–East Peoria Campus; Catapult Creative House at Southeastern Missouri State University; The Art Gallery (TAG) at Fayetteville Technical Community College, North Carolina; and the Yeiser Art Center in Paducah, Kentucky. He has also exhibited internationally in Melbourne, Australia, and Turin, Italy.