Every community has treasures, people you come face to face with every day, but you don’t realize the talent they possess. One such is twenty-year-old Jacob Profitt, who is not only talented but possesses multiple skills and gifts that make him a special treasure and a wonderful addition to the community.
Visitors to the Johnson County Center for the Arts may recognize Jacob as the Gallery Assistant that is always ready to help with an unmistakable smile. His kind, friendly, and at first glance, shy demeanor hides the fantastic talent any community could be proud to call its own.
“Jacob started regularly volunteering at the art center when he was a junior in high school,” said Johnson County Center for Arts Director Cristy Dunn. “He was hired as our first gallery assistant last summer. It has been wonderful having a front-row seat to see his artistic skill development.”
Nice compliment from Dunn, one of the country’s most talented artists herself.
While Jacob’s talents include singing, and playing the piano, perhaps what will capture visitors' eye the most is his ability to create lifelike art using oil paint, one of which is now on display at the center.
“It is the largest oil piece I have ever done,” he said while modestly adding, “I didn’t think I had the talent to do it.”
Observers of the art in question would highly disagree. “He is creating very strong work with deep meaning,” said Dunn.
Jacob gives credit for the deep meaning found in the painting to his faith. While discussing the inspiration for his newest masterpiece, Jacob quotes the Bible book of Isaiah, referring to Chapter 11.
“I got the idea in the middle of a sermon,” said Jacob, “Isaiah 11:6-9 talks about predator and prey living together in peace, and a small child will lead them. It struck me as such a dramatic painting to do.”
When visitors to the center view Jacob’s artistic interpretation of that verse, perhaps what will capture their eye first is how Jacob chose to paint the lion. The majestic beast is drawn in such detail viewers can see the powerful muscles and the strong jawline. But what is more subtle and perhaps not noticed at first glance is the calmness exuding from the king of the jungle.
“I struggled with the lion’s leash,” said Jacob, “at first, I thought it should be around his neck. But that wasn’t communicating peace. So, I put the leash in the lion’s mouth. So, the child is choosing the lion, and the lion is choosing to be led by the child.”
In addition to the creative way Jacob portrayed the lion and child, the painting shows a subtle shift in cloud formations.
“Because the painting is referencing the Millennial reign of Christ,” said Jacob, “one side is light in color, and one side very dark. The child and lion are walking toward the light.”
In addition to showing his faith through drawing and painting, Jacob has found another avenue to express spirituality. “I love to sing contemporary Christian and gospel,” he said. Jacob sings in the choir at King University, where he is enrolled in secondary math education. The degree will allow him to obtain secular work as a teacher.
While discussing his goals of becoming a teacher, Jacob expressed the hope that he can inspire others with the same encouragement he has received.
“My artwork has dramatically changed and grown, thanks to Cristy and Temple. I have learned so much,” said Jacob.
“We could not be more proud of him,” said Dunn.
To view Jacob’s painting, stop by the Johnson County Center for the Arts, 127 College Street, Mountain City, TN, open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.