With a benefit concert and art showcase tonight at Barking Legs Theater, a local musician hopes to link Chattanooga into an international network of cities using the arts to enact social change.
Singer/songwriter Josh Gilbert is the organizer of the event, named Vox Chattanooga to indicate its connection to the international parent organization Voxtropolis.
The event is just the start of what Gilbert said he hopes to develop into a monthly series to provide assistance to underfunded local organizations. The goal for tonight's inaugural show is to raise about $500 to provide art supplies to the North Chattanooga Rec Center.
"That's not a ton, but for young people and young artists and college students who don't have a lot of disposable income, anything is good," Gilbert said.
The show will feature brief performances by local musicians, including Gilbert, Amber Fults, Skylark and Patricia Isom. Artwork by mixed-media artist Matthew Dutton will be on display throughout.
During the show, a representative from the Rec Center will discuss the organization's needs, Gilbert said.
Voxtropolis was founded in Southern California in 2006 and since has spread to satellite chapters in the U.K., South Africa and Canada. Its mission is to "[inspire] creativity, [cultivate] community, [provoke] conversation and [ignite] compassion."
The Chattanooga chapter will be the fourth in America, according to Voxtropolis' website. Founding a local chapter has been Gilbert's goal since he played shows at other Vox chapters in the past.
Besides assisting organizations that could use extra financial padding, Gilbert said Vox Chattanooga will offer underexposed artists a forum through which to build their audience and give back to the community.
The event is part of Voxopolis' End of the World Tour in reference to apocalyptic prophecies surrounding the end of the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar on Dec. 21.
What better way to celebrate the end of time or the start of a new era than with a good act, Gilbert asked.
"Yes, they have the opportunity to sell their CDs, which is awesome, but it's something greater than that," Gilbert said. "It's something more than music.
"What would we do if we could never start again? If this was it?"
Contact Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.