Written by Charlie Patton and originally published in the Jacksonville Times-Union on February, 27, 2017.
When Ingrid Mathurin was a child she yearned for a sense of stability while living in a household that was often unstable. Mathurin's mother lived with mental illness and her personal strife left a young Mathurin to care and fend for herself. At the age of 10 Mathurin picked up comic books and found her mind preoccupied with the visual art and stories laid out within their pages. It was not long after her introduction to comic books that Mathurin herself began expressing her creative side.
Something very important happened when Mathurin was 14 years old. A women, whom Mathurin credits as a second-mother, entered into her life and encouraged Mathurin's creative habits. With the support and encouragement of this woman, Mathurin continued to create and at 18 years old she met a mentor, under whose guidance she sold her first oil painting.
Some may think that artistic abilities are a result of the connection an individual has with their medium. For a visual artist, perhaps it is assumed that their gift rests in how they manipulate paint, charcoal, graphite, and other materials and coerce them to interact with a surface. When you meet Roosevelt Watson III you realize that this assumption is at least partially incorrect. Yes, it is important for an artist to have an understanding of their materials and how to best utilize them. But true artistry begins with how an individual interacts with the world around them. It starts with perception.
Watson's work is a visual representation of how he perceives present times, past history, and the Spiritual Plane. His work is both celebratory as well as cautionary as he examines humanity's social, cultural, and racial diversity through saturated surreal and abstract imagery. There is something special that can be seen in Watson's eyes as he is either at work or discussing his work. A light beams from inside him and radiates outward to those around him. This light, which should not be under-appreciated in modern times that can sometimes appear dark, is a result of Watson's genuine interest in the subject material that influences his work, as well as inherent passion for the arts as a whole.
The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville continues the tradition of hosting its annual fundraising event with this year's 41st Annual Arts Awards on May 6th, 2017. Proceeds will benefit the Cultural Council's Artist Grant program, which activates art projects and cultural events in the greater Jacksonville area. Jacksonville's premier arts and culture gala will be held at the historic Glass Factory built in 1936 by Henry Klutho, and honor seven individuals who have demonstrated the highest impact on arts and culture in the Jacksonville Community. This year is also the debut of the new community impact award. The event's presenting sponsor, Regions Bank, honorary chair, Heather Moore, and event chair Rebecca Ryan-Gonzalez, will recognize the following:
Allison Galloway-Gonzalez serves as the Executive Director of Any Given Child Jacksonville (AGC), while simultaneously serving as the Chief Program Officer at Cathedral Arts Project (CAP). When you meet with Galloway-Gonzalez you quickly realize her passion for the arts, arts education, and arts integration. Galloway-Gonzalez advocates the fact that we now know access to high-quality arts education positively impacts a student's performance, learning potential, and communities' quality of life. It is this belief that fuels Galloway-Gonzalez's efforts as she works with the staff and administration in Duval County Public Schools, local and national arts organizations, and many other sectors in the community to ensure that the arts are not overlooked as a central component of schools' curricula and culture.
Galloway-Gonzalez served as the Director of Education for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Jacksonville prior to joining AGC and CAP. During her tenure at MOCA, Galloway-Gonzalez contributed to the improvement of educational services offered by the museum to students of all ages and abilities. Galloway-Gonzalez's career also includes a prior position at the Austin Museum of Art, where she worked for The Contemporary Austin's The Art School.
Mr. James Smith, Education Coordinator at the Young Men's Leadership Academy (YMLA), invited Tony Allegretti and Patrick Fisher of the Cultural Council into his classroom on Wednesday, February 8, 2017. YMLA, which is part of Eugene J. Butler middle school and Duval County Public Schools, implements a methodology grounded in training young men to discover their strengths and to overcome challenges. The Cultural Council extends paid summer internships to 8th grade students at YMLA through the Cultural Service Internships Program.
In Tony's hand as we entered the classroom was a well-read and dog eared book written by James Weldon Johnson. The book was Johnson's 1933 autobiography titled "Along This Way". Tony engaged the 6th and 7th grade students in a discussion on Johnson's life. The group explored Johnson's accomplishments, which include being a renowned songwriter, poet, novelist, journalist, critic, leader, and educator.
Johnson was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1871. In 1900 Johnson wrote the song "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" for a celebration of Lincoln's birthday. Johnson's words were celebrated by the black community and "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" became known as the "Negro National Anthem." In 1920 Johnson became the national organizer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Since June 14, 2016 the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens have displayed an exhibit title "Lift: Contemporary Expressions of the African American Experience." The title of the exhibit is a direct reference to Johnson's acclaimed song. The exhibit, which closes on February 12, 2017, has received a lot of attention and has been a point of discussion amongst Jacksonville's community. As part of the day's events, Mr. Smith took his class on a trip to visit the Cummer so students could experience the exhibit.
Challenge Your Expectations - 10 Questions with Courtney Lewis, Musical Director of the Jacksonville Symphony
32 year old Courtney Lewis is the Music Director of the Jacksonville Symphony. Lewis, who was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, joined the Jacksonville Symphony in 2014. Prior to joining the Jacksonville Symphony, Lewis served the roles of Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, Dudamel Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Music Director of Boston's acclaimed Discovery Ensemble, a group which Lewis co-founded. The Jacksonville Symphony's recruitment of Lewis represents the organization's dedication to bringing world class talent to Jacksonville.
Lewis's major US orchestral debut was with the Saint Louis Symphony in 2008. Since then, Lewis has appeared with ensembles from around the world, including Atlanta Symphony, Washington National Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Houston Symphony, RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, and Ulster Orchestra, among others.
As an artist there is a high probability that you've contemplated how you can gain exposure and increase your professional opportunities. Some believe that giving away your work is a necessary evil to gain exposure. It isn't. Giving away your work devalues your time, your process, and the work your create.
If you give away your work you will be operating at a loss, which isn't sustainable. No one goes to a mechanic after they have opened a new shop and expects them to do a tune-up free of charge. So why is that mentality applied to emerging and mid-career artists?
Every artist is a small business. Because of that, you have to be mindful in your approach to gaining exposure, generating interest, and attracting new customers. Below you will find step-by-step action items you can take as an emerging and mid-career artist to help develop your identity, promote your brand, and generate sales.
Jacksonville, FL - February 9, 2017 - Susan Datz Edelman, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida
David Engdahl’s devotion to his work as a sculptor, his career in architecture and his selfless contributions of talent and energy to the local arts community prompted The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida to present him with the 2nd Annual Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures Award. The award, which includes a $10,000 unrestricted grant, recognizes an artist whose work brings distinction to Northeast Florida, and is named for the late Ann McDonald Baker, whose leadership helped create and nurture such vital cultural gems such as The Community Foundation’s Art Ventures Fund, the Arts Assembly (now the Cultural Council) and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, among others. The award was presented at a private reception this week.
Engdahl has been a sculptor since 1971, and has exhibited works in over twenty states throughout the U.S., including nine solo exhibitions. His sculptures are included in numerous museums, corporate, public and private collections, including U.S. embassies abroad. In Jacksonville, countless residents and travelers have seen his signature high-flying wooden sculptures, ‘Ascent’ and ‘Descent,’ which were suspended above the escalators at Jacksonville International Airport from 1980-1989; they now reside at Florida State College at Jacksonville’s South Campus. His 2004 installation, ‘Migration of the Paper Airplanes,’ hangs over the moving sidewalks at the Jacksonville International Airport parking garage.
Suzanne Pickett is a visual artist. She attended the University of North Florida where she graduated with a Bachelor's of Fine Art Degree in Graphic Design. Pickett's passion for the arts and humanities led her to enter into the non-profit sector, where she worked to develop the Jacksonville Consortium of African American Artists, which is now known as the Jacksonville Cultural Development Corporation (JCDC). Picket and JCDC have served the Jacksonville community for more than 13 years by fostering an environment that is inclusive of all artists, regardless of their race or cultural background.
JCDC builds bridges that connect and empower communities by implementing creative placemaking. For those unfamiliar with the term, creative placemaking is an intentional effort that typically includes a number of small-scale projects. Creative peacemaking efforts develop and strengthen a neighborhood's character and identity. Such projects leverage the power of the arts, culture, and creativity to serve a community's interest while driving a broader agenda for equality, growth, and transformation.
Questions? Comments? Submit something for consideration?
Please email Jihan@CulturalCouncil.org