For Emmalyne Vickery, it all started with a black eye.
Vickery had wanted to be a makeup artist, but had struggled with getting things off the ground. She had done some shows at the Averitt Center as a cast member. In fact, as a cast member for “Little Shop of Horrors,” she found herself doing makeup for herself and other cast members — they all needed to look like bums.
The makeup was a hit, and when she was approached by the female lead in the show, who wasn’t happy with the makeup job she was getting, Vickery was happy to help. After the pro did the actress’ makeup, Vickery would re-do the black eye, and the show would go on. The rave reviews by the cast members about the makeup gave her the confidence she needed to pursue her passion.
So Vickery took on a few gigs, and did some makeup lessons, but when her health took a turn, her newfound career took a nose dive. But she never lost her passion for doing what she loved.
In 2016, Vickery was cast as Janet in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in Savannah. She had been a part of shadow casts, but had not had a lead role, and was thrilled at the opportunity. The cast was photographed by Adriana Iris Photography for a story, and Adriana and Vickery struck up a friendship that continues today.
After the Rocky shoot, Adriana reached out to Vickery about working with her as a model. Vickery agreed, and it led her back to doing what she loved. She began to look around Statesboro to connect on social media with photographers or models, but found nothing. She did find a page that featured artists, photographers and models in Savannah, and she was able to connect there.
“That’s what got me started building an actual portfolio. I went back and forth to Savannah, and it grew and grew,” she said. The opportunities led to her doing the makeup for some Savannah publications with a wide audience.
It was through those opportunities that she met a model working in Savannah who was from Statesboro, and the two began to discuss that there was nothing on social media to help local artists connect in the Boro. This, Vickery said, was the impetus to starting her own page.
Statesboro Creative Folks is the Facebook page she created, and it is a group page designed to foster collaboration between artists of all kinds. This includes photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, models, videographers, musicians, actors, stylists, boutiques, visual artists and crafters.
“There is no group on Facebook that I could find where people could come together and do collaborative things. Here we’re just contributing our time and energy and talent,” she said.
Vickery says it is also important to note that the page is a safe space for all creative types, and is a “diverse community” that is LGBTQ+ friendly. The page has a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment, hate speech, racial slurs, etc.
“Be kind. Be respectful,” she says.
Initially, she was hesitant to create the page, and was worried she wouldn’t have the time or energy to be the administrator of a Facebook page like that.
“It just seemed like a lot of emotional energy and organization. I didn’t know if I was ready for it. But I was like, you know what? I’m tired of going back and forth to Savannah for everything,” she said.
Once the page was established, Vickery became its biggest advocate, speaking about it to anyone she met who was creative. She was working part-time at the Averitt Center, and connected with a lot of creative people there, as well as in her own circle. She found there was a common thread in that community — a feeling of being on the outside and not really being connected.
Vickery says she and her husband have lived in the Boro for more than 10 years, and that this is their home. The couple has bought a home and is putting down roots. But still, she says she felt like an outsider.
“I did all these collaborative projects in Savannah, and I really wanted to connect in Statesboro,” she said. The page, she believes, will help her and others like her.
So far, the page has about 80 to 90 people. Vickery says it is not only for established artists, but for the “newbies” as well — those who might be seeking guidance or a mentor.
Vickery also says it is important for there to be a place where artists can get visibility in their own community for themselves and their work. Statesboro Creative Folks can be that platform for them. It’s provided not only a safe space for her, but also for other artists.
Vickery says she was inspired by a quote from Amanda Palmer, from “The Art of Asking.”
“She said, ‘When you’re an artist, nobody ever tells you or hits you with the magic wand of legitimacy. You have to hit your own head with your own handmade wand, and you feel stupid doing it.’ I just wanted a place where we could find a connection, essentially. Connection has been a core value for me. It’s been sort of a driving motivation behind everything I’ve been trying to do this year,” she said. “I need, and I think a lot of other people need, we need connection. True connection with the people we live around.”