The Art of Jonathan Green 2021 calendar showcases the southern culture of the painter’s Gullah heritage rooted in the inland marshes near the Sea Islands of South Carolina. Jonathan Green, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has won national awards and is recognized by curators and museums as one of the South’s most important living artists and among this country’s foremost African-American artists. His work is found in museums in Germany, Sierra Leone, and throughout the United States.
This 2021 monthly wall calendar features: Large blocks for notes | Beautiful reproduction | Quality heavy-weight paper | Deluxe 11- by 14-inch size
About the Artist as Servant-Leader
by Kim Cliett Long, Ed.D.
“My culture is in me. And my art is connected to the spiritual, mental and social concerns of the global environment.”
— Jonathan Green
Coming from an African-American community that survived because of its traditions of collectiveness, spirituality and servant-leadership, artist Jonathan Green is one of most famous representatives and preservers of the Gullah culture in America. His recognition of his responsibilities as an artist endowed with special gifts, leads him to faithfully discharge this legacy to his community, as above all, a servant-leader espousing the values of his upbringing by using his artistic talents toward building the good and advocating for a just society.
In his 1970 essay “The Servant as Leader,” Robert Greenleaf (1904–1990) defined servant-leaders as confirmatory builders of a better society. He saw the underpinning upon which a good society is built as people caring for and serving one another. Greenleaf presented his belief that everything begins with the initiative of the individual. Jonathan Green exemplifies the key characteristics of a servant-leader as identified by Greenleaf: the ability to integrate intuition and logic, the capacity to communicate a vision to others, and the courage to go out ahead, even when the path is uncertain.
Jonathan Green’s forefathers and mothers were oral historians and prophets who wove a vision of the future based on intuitive insight. They had the faith and foresight to declare Jonathan special among them because, “he was born behind the veil,” meaning he was born with a caul or membrane covering his face. Some sources assert that the purpose of the “caul bearer” is to serve mankind by guiding men and women in understanding themselves and the world and universe in which we live. Consequently, Jonathan’s elders, recognizing his “specialness,” invested great time and effort into instilling within him a sense of self and moral compass that would enable him to influence millions by imbedding messages of communal responsibility, work, justice, tolerance and respect for others in his art.
Jonathan Green’s support of community activities and organizations brings forth the voice and example of an exceptional African-American servant-leader, who is “very right for the time and place” in which he lives—a synchronicity Greenleaf identified as critical to great leadership. The publication of Jonathan Green’s yearly calendars is a perfect example of his commitment to community, since the proceeds from the calendars have benefitted a multitude of community organizations. The images presented in this year’s calendar are representative of the continued work and service of Jonathan Green. Whereas he has enjoyed appreciable commercial success due to the wide acceptance and collection of his art, he has never forgotten from whence he came or his instilled system of values. His munificence of the use of his images by community organizations for fundraising and public relations endeavors geared toward the uplifting and edification of their respective philanthropies exemplifies his spirit of giving.
His work has been used as inspiration and support for education, the arts, healthcare and reading programs among others. Green’s art is represented in some of the finest museums and collections in the world, and yet he continues to share his images with the masses by way of book covers, calendars, note cards and posters whose proceeds fund missions of communities in need. The annual calendars and collection of posters are reflective summaries of Jonathan Green’s unsung story of significant work that has resulted in uncounted cumulative funding for organizations throughout the nation.
These representations illuminate the impact and influence that Jonathan Green’s work has had on our society from a community service perspective. His founding of the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project further solidifies his role as a servant-leader. This organization has a mission to discover and revive the significance of rice cultivation and its legacies, and to use this history as a launching off point for broad discussions, activities, and events that center around race, class, art, trade, history and economics—in short, the various aspects of culture that originated on the rice plantations in the Lowcountry with long-lasting influence on life in the Lowcountry and throughout the Southeast. A servant-leader is someone who is servant first and understands his responsibility as a citizen to contribute to the well-being of people and community. A servant-leader looks to the needs of the people and strives to help them solve problems and hearten personal development. A servant-leader requires a spiritual understanding of identity, mission, vision, and environment. A servant-leader is Jonathan Green.
© 2020 Tide-mark Press