ARTSPEAKS Features Award-Winning, Young Poet at the Historic Thomas Center


Gainesville150!, the year-long commemoration of the City of Gainesville’s 1869 incorporation, is proud to partner with ARTSPEAKS Courageous Young Voices to present the award-winning, young Baltimore poet Grim Jackson, at the Historic Thomas Center Sunday, March 8 from 4-7 p.m. as part of the talented lineup of young poets who will present at this annual event. The event is free and open to the public.

Grim Jackson (born 1997) started writing poetry in 2013 as a form of personal expression in his high school poetry club. In 2016, he became the only person in the world to win both the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam and the National Poetry Slam in the same year. He has continued to make history by winning the Southern Fried Regional slam three years in a row. He has since become a dynamic teaching artist, and leads workshops in writing and performance all over the country. He is best known for his unique perspective, and groundbreaking approach to performance poetry and hip hop.

For the past six years, ARTSPEAKS has hosted Courageous Young Voices as a way for youth to speak out through their writing, he said. In the past, students have written on a wide variety of themes from the very personal to environmental change to gun rights.

ARTSPEAKS Courageous Young Voices is one of the city-produced and co-produced events in a yearlong series of exhibitions, programs, promotions, workshops and activities commemorating the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Gainesville on April 14, 1869. Gainesville150! aims to observe this historic milestone by bringing the community together through the anniversary year to reflect on our shared heritage, engage in building stronger relationships and looking forward toward our boundless future as the “New American City.”

The Galleries at the Historic Thomas Center are located at 302 NE Sixth Ave. in Gainesville. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday from 1-4 p.m. The galleries are closed for observed holidays. For additional gallery information, please contact Russell Etling, cultural affairs manager, at 352-393-8532 or visit