Artist, Change Agent, Pastor, Communitarian
Helms is an interdisciplinary artist who weaves stories together using mixed media, ceramics, needlework, and jewelry making techniques intermixed with community engagement, place making, and Christian ministry practices. Her work exists at the intersection of art, community, justice, and place.
Helms Jarrell is a member of the QC Family Tree community in Charlotte, NC. QC Family Tree is a neighborhood based community development organization that practices cultural organizing to cultivate community for the common good. Helms says, “My work intentionally integrates art, faith, and culture into organizing strategies to build people power and social change. Using the language of culture- art, story, ritual,- I aim to cultivate folks’ sense of belonging, connection, and interdependence. through visual art, engaging community, and facilitating workshops around community and justice issue. My life’s work of art culminates around the neighborhood based lifestyle ministry of QC Family Tree. A shared life and the practices of hospitality, creativity, and prayer are what keep me rooted and they spark holy imagination. The work I do and the art I create expresses my deep and genuine love for this place and these people.”
For the past 15 years, a shared life and the practices of hospitality, creativity, and prayer are what have kept me rooted and they spark holy imagination. The art I create expresses my deep and genuine love for this place and these people. I find that when I am able to embody what I believe, I am at my best. Sometimes that embodiment takes the form of color, shape, and design aesthetic and other times, that embodiment takes shape in movement, organizing, spiritual disciplines, and relationships.
Helms graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia and was ordained to ministry by First Baptist Church; Raleigh, NC in August of 2003.
Helms serves on the Executive Committee of Alternate Roots, Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in community, place, tradition or spirit. Alternate ROOTS is a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression – everywhere.
Since 2016, Helms has steadily expanded her connections to colleagues and community collaborators to build programming that brings together community groups to promote personal/professional growth and goal setting for social change.
Her most recent work includes her published work, A Communitarian's Almanac & Apothecary Guide, Communitarian Greeting Cards, a Rental Equity workshop as a part of a Resident Residency at the McColl Center for Art and Innovation and an Artist Theologian in Residence at Myers Park Baptist Church.
"The best thing to do with the best things in life is give them away."