‘Blessed with talent’: Artist reflects on inspiration and influence

single-meta-cal February 22, 2024

When Jackie Wilson sat down for a conversation recently at the Dr. Richard Showers Sr. Recreation Center, her first words were, “I’m just an ordinary person.”

All evidence to the contrary.

She is an artist and a City recreation leader who has shared her love of art with children at the Showers Center for 23 years. She has arms for hugging and shoulders for crying and an enthusiasm for life that’s electric and contagious. Her faith guides everything she does while she describes working with children as “my passion.”

An ordinary person? No, Wilson qualifies as extraordinary.

“The Lord has blessed me, so I give back,” she said.

Jackie Wilson displays one of her abstract paintings, many of which celebrate Black history. She is wearing pink and a black jacket. The painting is very colorful.

Jackie Wilson displays one of her abstract paintings, many of which celebrate Black history.

Her artistic flair led her to design a Black History Month display at the Showers Center. It’s an exhibit that spotlights Black influencers and leaders across the country as well as in Huntsville and those with ties to the city. The display also includes some of Wilson’s paintings.

Understanding that history is important.

“Black children growing up should know their history,” Wilson said. “They should see where they belong. Some of the kids don’t know their history. They need to know they can be whoever they choose to be.”

Her childhood influences are the foundation for how she connects with children today. As she was growing up, Wilson’s mother and grandmother always stressed treating others like she would want to be treated.

And now Wilson is part of a ripple effect of those early teachings.

“I just try to be a positive influence in their lives,” she said. “And let them know I am here for them. You don’t know what they are going through at home. If they need a hug, I give them a hug. I give all the kisses and hugs I need to give.

“I was always told (as a child) that when I walked out of the house, I represented (the family). Be a good example because someone is always watching you.”

Could there be a better compliment for Wilson than for children she cared for at the Showers Center now bring their children to “Miss Jackie?” After 23 years, it happens a lot now.

“That’s a blessing for me,” she said.

Wilson is also planning to spend more time on her art. She specializes in abstract paintings and some also celebrate Black history. She will be displaying her artwork in May and June at the Huntsville/Madison County Public Library at 915 Monroe St.

“God blessed me with talent and that talent is in art,” Wilson said. “And I’ve just scraped the top of it.”