The first annual Franklin Avenue Mission Jam (FAM Jam) took place over Labor Day weekend. The hip hop festival’s inaugural theme FEAR LOVE TRUST invited dancers, MC’s, DJ’s, and street artists—Christians and non-Christians alike—to engage and create unique material based on any aspect of Luther’s Small Catechism.
Headlined by Grammy-nominated Lutheran FLAME, most performing artists were Flint natives excited to share the stage with one of the premier Gospel rappers today. Street artists also came from Flint, Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Port Huron, Ann Arbor, and even as far away as Cincinnati.
Lutheran volunteers from across Michigan poured into Flint to serve the community and build relationships with the artists, neighbors, and families who came to enjoy the two-day event. An Eagle Scout candidate from St. Lorenz, Frankenmuth hand-refurbished nearly 50 bicycles and brought them to be free-raffled off for the community.
Volunteers from Light of Christ, Marysville organized the Kidz Zone, which had many games and activities to engage families. Pastor Christian Jones, Director of Franklin Avenue Mission, had also requested one activity in particular: making t-shirts that taught the colors of the Church year. He explained the request: “While we should always be aware of our surroundings, I want kids growing up first recognizing what colors signify for the Church instead of the street. The color wheel is a First Article [of the Apostles’ Creed] expression of God’s creative beauty.”
FAM Jam was embraced by the entire Flint community. The Flint Public Art Project donated much of the paint necessary for artists to transform Franklin Avenue Mission’s campus. Kady Yellow, director of PlaceMaking, helped network Franklin Avenue Mission with many of the street artists that came, and held a storytime event for kids on Friday, where she told the story of street art.
Flint’s highly respected Vertical Ambition Dance Company performed on Friday and hosted a workshop on FAM’s basketball court. Youth and adults alike were excited to participate.
Gabrielle Davis, director of Dream League Music Mentoring Program, who was the very first artist to reach out to Franklin Avenue Mission after FAM Jam was announced, performed on Saturday both as a solo performer and later as the DJ for Mars Davis. She also hosted a youth DJ workshop on the mainstage. After the event, her social media post read, “Today was definitely one for the books! Got to teach a DJ workshop LIVE on stage, all of the local artists did amazing, hung out with FLAME and Mike Real, but most importantly, evangelism & serving the community. Thank you Franklin Avenue Mission for all that you do to make events like this happen for our city! Until next year, salute!”
“And she is not the only artist who is already excited for FAM Jam 2022. I hope you’re ready too!” said Pastor Jones.
The Flint Beat just posted an article about the event as well. You can read it here.
Franklin Avenue Mission is part of the A2E initiative supported by the Michigan District’s Here We Stand Campaign.
Photos by Elisa Schulz/Michigan District,LCMS