Jill Marlar: kindling a creative flame in Greenville

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 3, 2024

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The Greenville Advocate’s Hero of the Week shines a spotlight on Jill Marlar, a newcomer to Greenville with a mission to ignite a creative fire in the community. Marlar’s passion for music and the arts is evident as she discusses her plans to unify and empower artists of all ages in Butler County.

“My mission is simple, it’s to be a fire starter, a liaison, an advocate for creative arts in my new hometown of Greenville, the broader county, and beyond,” Marlar said. Highlighting her vision to create a network of artists and musicians, Marlar aims to make music the cornerstone of this initiative, offering music lessons and summer camps while also nurturing other creative talents in the community.

Marlar recently outlined some of her plans to support local artists and arts organizations, to the Butler County Board of Education, including efforts to start community choirs and theater programs. Her first community choir program is slated to begin this summer. 

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Marlar emphasizes the importance of bridging communities through music, using it as a tool to teach history and traditions while enriching lives.

Marlar’s dedication to the community extends beyond music. She has also started a nonprofit, Muse Alabama, which aims to support the arts in Butler County. Proceeds from her Delta Dawn Scones business will help fund projects within Muse Alabama.

“I want to support the other artists that I know are here because I know in Greenville, there’s a lot of talented people, whether they are visual artists like Stacey Edwards, whether they are ministers, whether they are musicians, whether they are actors, whether they are writers of all different ages.”

For Marlar, moving to Butler County is a homecoming of sorts, reconnecting her with her family’s roots and heritage. 

“We have come back to a place where our ancestors began when they migrated from South Carolina,” Marlar said. “Where they worked and built their homes and built their families.”

Marlar’s impact is already being felt, especially among her students. Allison Faulk, whose daughter is taking music lessons with Marlar, praises her teaching style and the opportunities she provides. “Kaylee received a solo in the recent Fort Dale Academy Patriotic Program,” Faulk shared. “Jill helped her practice for several weeks, and I was blown away by her confidence and newfound talent.” 

Faulk also expressed gratitude for the diverse opportunities Marlar offers her students.

“In just nine weeks, Kaylee has had an opportunity to try piano, guitar, banjo, electric harp, keyboard, and drums,” Faulk said. “It is very rare to find a teacher that gives kids the opportunity to learn at their own pace, is such a great encouragement, and has the artistic ability to show them so many options.”

Marlar’s dedication to fostering creativity and community spirit makes her a true hero in Greenville, and her efforts are sure to leave a lasting impact on the cultural landscape of Butler County.