Still life with blue sneakers drying in the sun framed by metal screening and shadows. Clarksdal, MS has some of the most devastating poverty and violence I have seen in the U.S., and also the fiercest arts community, reflecting a tenacity and a power that is difficult to comprehend. In the midst of it, the blues announce: "We are still standing." I was reminded of the way sneakers in Baltimore are hung over telephone lines to symbolize early death. These declare life. We are still standing. Digital photograph by American abstract realist Jo Brown, taken in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 2011.