Jacqueline Holmes passed away on Monday, January 30, 2017. Mrs. Holmes, originally from Baltimore, Maryland, settled in Jacksonville in the early 1970s with her first husband, who was a Jacksonville native.
Mrs. Holmes was many things to many people. To us, she was one of our three founding members. Mrs. Holmes, along with Helen Lane and the late Ann Baker, co-founded the Arts Assembly of Jacksonville, which was incorporated in 1973 and is now known as the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville.
Mrs. Holmes was regarded as an art expert and her opinions on the topic were highly respected. She served as a fine art consultant for Fortune 500 companies and advised private collectors wishing to grow their personal collections. Mrs. Holmes advised Preston Haskell III, Founder and Chairperson of The Haskell Company, when he sought to initially develop an art collection. When asked to comment on Mrs. Holme's passing, Mr. Haskell said the following, "Jacque was both a very good friend and a great resource to me in my early days of collecting. She had a keen eye and good taste, deep knowledge, and wide contacts in the contemporary art field. She was also a great teacher to me. My collection is stronger today because of her valuable input and the knowledge which she imparted to me. I shall always treasure her advice and friendship."
In 2014, the Anne Neilson Fine Art Gallery in North Carolina featured a show titled Jacqueline: Art Advisor and Collector - 50 Years of Contemporary Fine Art. On display during the exhibit were 100 pieces from Mrs. Holmes's personal collection, which included more than 300 pieces in total. Included in the exhibit were works by Josef Albers, Damien Hirst, Karl Gerstner, Frank Stella, Robert Swain, and a portrait of Mrs. Holmes done by Comer Jennings.
Throughout her life Mrs. Holmes exhibited an unwavering dedication to the arts and humanities. Her long list of contributions to her community include co-founding The Group Gallery, Jacksonville's first contemporary art gallery; co-founding Art Sources, Inc., a national fine art advisory and consulting firm; serving as Chair of The Ringling Museum of Art, Florida's state art museum; and serving on the boards of Jacksonville Art Museum and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.
During her tenure at the Arts Assembly of Jacksonville/Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Mrs. Holmes took part in the renovation project at The Florida Theatre. She also contributed to the City's Art in Public Places Program (APP). Jeffrey Dunn, the former Chair of the Public Art Commission, who wrote the APP city ordinance, said the following about Mrs. Holmes, "When putting together the Public Art Commission I realized we had a budget of over $2.5 million to spend on public art, through the Better Jacksonville Program. I knew we needed professional help. I asked Jacque Holmes to be our art consultant, and she, of course, agreed. She was integral to the whole process of selection and follow-through. The impact Jacque had can be seen in the art in the Downtown Library, the Arena, the Baseball Park, the Equestrian Center, Police Athletic League sites, and branch libraries. Without her assistance and expertise, we would not have had the international artists we do have and the quality of work now available to the citizens of Jacksonville at these sites."
Mrs. Holmes had a vast network of internationally renowned artists. APP directly benefited from Mrs. Holmes' relationships and the credibility her name carried. Larry Kirkland, a prominent public artist, had the following to say about his extensive experience working with Mrs. Holmes. "Jacque Holmes was a smart and savvy business woman who had a finely honed appreciation for art and design. Walking through a gallery or design store she would gravitate to the unusual and the beautiful and speak knowingly about it. She joined me on a trip to a sculpture studio in Carrara, Italy many years ago. She loved the history of the place, the dusty studio brimming with activity of sculptures being carved from stone. She enjoyed the shops filled with fine Italian craftsmanship. But her most favorite was lunch at the working man's Osteria Nerina's. Tables filled with the truckers and carvers, mostly men. Heavenly bowls of pasta were served quickly. Jacque sat in the middle, quite radiant and smiling. " Bella Donna" the men said coming and going. She was the center of attention and their admiration. How glad I am to have had her in my life for so many years." Kirkland created the piece titled "Wisdom" located on the Jacksonville Public Library Main Branch.
Mrs. Holmes knew that the public directly benefited from access to the arts and worked to ensure that art was spread all around the City of Jacksonville. Amy Crane of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida and former Deputy Director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, had this to say about Mrs. Holmes, “Jacque offered the Art in Public Places Program a level of expertise that simply could not have been achieved otherwise. She was able to see the entire scope of work and provide counsel in each necessary area from working with the architects and developing the calls to artists through installation and planning for future maintenance. Moreover, she was managing many projects concurrently which was the nature of Art in Public Places during the time of the Better Jacksonville Plan. Jacque did it with grace and the best interests of the community in mind.”
In 2016 the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville honored Mrs. Holmes as one of 40 icons of arts and culture at its Annual Arts Awards. Mrs. Holmes was a remarkable woman and she will be missed.
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