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Art Slam Returns
by Audrey Hanes, Photography submitted, photo of Scott Hoke by Melissa Donner

After taking a year off due to COVID-19 concerns, the NEA Baptist Charitable Foundation’s Art Slam fundraiser is back on and better than ever. The 2021 event will feature local physician and artist Scott Hoke as the nonprofit organization celebrates 20 years of enhancing the health care and lives of the people of Northeast Arkansas.

Art Slam 2021 will take place on July 22 at The Glass Factory in Downtown Jonesboro. According to NEA Baptist Charitable Foundation (NEA Foundation) Director of Fundraising Events Kim Provost, the change of venue will allow the event to be spread out both indoors and out, which will allow more room for guests to social distance and enjoy the event. Event organizers say Art Slam will be summer casual and will serve dinner to guests via local food trucks.

Another new aspect to Art Slam is a special 20th anniversary raffle for a Gucci handbag and a Tag Heuer watch, which is sponsored by Encore Bank and Sissy’s Log Cabin. Tickets are available for $25 per ticket or five tickets for $100 prior to the event, and while the drawing will take place at Art Slam, those who purchase tickets do not have to be present to win.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Provost of the annual event. “It’s a great way to partner with our local art community to raise funds to support programs of the NEA Baptist Foundation. We are grateful for their support and are looking forward to a fun event.

“One-hundred percent of the money raised will go to fund the six different programs of the foundation. Due to COVID, we have seen an increase in need in our community, so it’s important that we get back to holding events and fundraise like we have in the past so we can continue to help those in our community who are in need.”

The NEA Foundation was formed in 2001 by the NEA Clinic physician leaders as a way to give back to the community. All of the foundation’s programs and services are free of charge, thanks in large part to Art Slam and the NEA Foundation’s other fundraising events. The Center for Good Grief provides grief counseling, seminars and support for those who have lost a loved one; the Center for Healthy Children helps children who struggle with obesity learn how to live active, healthy lives; HopeCircle provides a community of hope and support for families living with a life-changing illness; the Medicine Assistance Program, the foundation’s first program, helps patients access life-saving medications that they need, free of charge; ShareHope helps those dealing with the grief of losing a baby find support; and Wellness Works! is a 12-week program for individuals living with chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cancer and COPD.

One artist who has supported Art Slam and the foundation’s charitable programs for many years is Dr. Scott Hoke, who will be featured as the 2021 signature artist.

“He has participated and donated art for years, and this year, our committee was thrilled to select him to be our signature artist,” said Provost. “He is creating a piece that will be highlighted in our live auction at the event.”

Hoke, a local family medicine physician at NEA Baptist Clinic who has been practicing in Jonesboro since 1990, has been painting for more than a decade and has his own commission art business called Second Movement Art.

“I am very excited; to be included in that list of other artists that have been recognized previously is an honor,” said Hoke. “I like to see the art of the local artists, of course, but what I enjoy more is the art of the non-artists. So many have contributed beautiful artwork through the years, though their vocation was something completely different. Events like this one give them a chance to show their talent. I was included in that list of non-artists, but after 10 years of oil painting instruction from Gussi Causey, I have hopefully graduated to the artists list.”

Hoke says that he enjoys painting landscapes and wanted to paint an Arkansas landscape, since Art Slam is a local event.

“Recently, I was asked to paint the Memphis bridge, which takes on a new meaning now, but I never started the piece, so I had this 6-by-4-foot canvas sitting around,” said Hoke “I have not painted a piece that big before, and this being the Art Slam, I was inspired to put Arkansas on that canvas and leave the Memphis bridge and its crack to the engineers.”

For more information about the NEA Baptist Charitable Foundation or to purchase tickets to Art Slam ($25 each), which will take place at 6:30 p.m. on July 22 at The Glass Factory, 313 W. Huntington Ave., please visit neabaptistfoundation.org.