Bette Shornick is an artist of many talents. She creates jewelry, plays the piano and because of her appreciation of music education, she is determined to see every child pursue their passion.
Shornick is on a mission to collect musical instruments for under-served students in area public schools through Mississippi Music N Motion, a newly formed organization that repairs and refurbishes musical instruments for children who cannot afford them.
Her project started when she saw many schools lacking instruments and funds to provide students with arts education.
"If we could get instruments in the hands of school kids, then there can be all kinds of benefits. It helps their science and math scores, their testing performance ... something as simple as giving an instrument to a kid in a school band will probably reflect in effective reduction in our drop-out rate for the state of Mississippi," Shornick says.
Shornick, 52, grew up in Jackson. In 1978 she moved to Atlanta, Ga., to attend Oglethorpe University and stayed for 20 years. She came back to Jackson 11 years ago. "I really recognized over the course of time that it is home," she says.
Shornick graduated from Murrah High School and has great pride in the Jackson Public Schools system. Although she majored in psychology and minored in business, she grew up with an appreciation of the artsher dad is a photographer and her mom a pianist.
Currently, Shornick is collaborating with the Greater Jackson Arts Council to host "The World Through Lou's Lens," an exhibit at the Mississippi Arts Center Jan. 7 through 24.
The exhibit will showcase photographs from her 91-year-old father Lou Shornick and other local artists including Anthony DiFatta, Tony Davenport, Bill Wilson and students from Jackson State University. Shornick will also showcase salvaged musical instruments from a fire that occurred at Richard's Music Store in Maywood Mart a few years ago. Proceeds from the event will fund the launch of Mississippi Music N Motion.
Shornick says she would like to see Music N Motion expand to provide after-school music-education programs taught by contemporary Jackson musicians. The program would differ from the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra strings program, by allowing children to explore music genres such as R&B, hip-hop, and blues.
"The arts and music are my heart, and I want to do community outreach to get people involved to celebrate our community," she says. "In all honesty, no one loves children more than me, and maybe (coming back to Jackson) meant I can effectively make a difference in a lot of children's lives."
How can we reach Shornick to donate instruments?
- Deirdra Harris Glover
I know money donations can be made through the KIDS funds at the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson and they might be able to refer you to the best way to donate instruments. cfgreaterjackson.org. Since they have just started Mississippi Music N Motion they are just setting up.
- Lacey McLaughlin