For the last two years, Lemuria Books’ John Evans has been neck-deep in a personal project he’s finally ready to give to his city.
Evans, along with photographer Ken Murphy and co-editor Lisa Newman, has published Jackson, a pictorial essay on “what we value, enjoy and find beautiful about the city.”
Is the book all he wished it would be? “It’s better than I hoped for,” Evans says with a gleaming smile. “I’m proud of it.”
It’s the same sentiment he hopes others feel while leafing through the vividly brilliant 186 page coffee table book.
“Our goal is to change the cultural impression of Jackson,” he explains. “There are a whole lot of small business people, young people, trying and a lot of artists, musicians, promoters and restaurants that are, just to me, a vital youth. I feel like this book is their tool. It’s very simple.”
Feedback thus far is that Jackson is “stunning” and “beautiful,” featuring photos of local landmarks, events, restaurants and musicians. But Evans is open to critics. “I’m really curious to see what I left out,” he says, adding he’s interested in being challenged about something not in the book. “More over, I’m interested in learning about things I missed.”
Evans mentions a conversation with a local Jackson attorney who, in his youth, moved away. “He told me he left a ‘screwed up city’ in his twenties and now he’s back at 45,” he explains. “It made me realize it’s not just the young people, the 20-30 crowd. It’s the 30-40 and 40-50. Why not give them a tool to use? I feel like Jackson is fuel to the fire of the change. “It’s coming. It’s been slow. But the young people are doing it.”
Join Lemuria’s Jackson celebration Tuesday, August 5 at 5pm, at Banner Hall. The signing coincides with pop-up gallery, Art Space 86, showcasing Jackson themed art on the third floor. Other signings this week will be at The Eudora Welty house, Hal & Mal’s, Thursday’s Fondren After 5, The Iron Horse Grill and The Rouge. Multiple book cover options are available.
A blog series, “Let’s Talk Jackson,” is set to run through Christmas, with Evans encouraging submissions from others who see beauty in Mississippi’s capital city.