Through Murals and Events, Virtually and In-Person
There's an impressive array of murals and mosaics that focus on well-known events and Black residents of Jax, both past and present, visible all over town. This year, Art Republic’s Lift Every Voice project created murals that almost exclusively represented Jacksonville’s African American heritage. And, the addition of the Black Mural Map website is a wonderful guide to all the incredible murals that can be seen on the sides of buildings, towers, and fences downtown and in the surrounding areas of the community.
The word is getting out about ARTSee & Shop, The Cultural Council’s second annual art and cultural engagement gallery, located at the Markets at Town Center. What most people may not know is how ARTSee & Shop started and the extent of the sponsorship from Hines, the parent company of The Markets at Town Center.
If you’ve been to the gallery, you were probably surprised to see such an impressive display of local artists and creatives in a place like the Town Center, where national chain stores are the expected retail experience. It’s a wonderful option for shoppers looking for something unique and the opportunity to shop local. And, it’s a fantastic opportunity for the Jacksonville arts community to have their work for sale in such a visible location on the Southside where local artwork can sometimes be elusive.
The word’s getting out. Jacksonville is a city full of art and culture, and publications all over town are writing about it.
In the last year, there has been an explosion of public art in Jacksonville and its finally starting to get the attention it deserves. Beyond our wonderful arts and business magazine, ARBUS, and publications such as EU Magazine and Folio Weekly, who are known for highlighting events going on in the city, there’s been a lot of buzz going on, lately, in other newspapers.
The City of Jacksonville placed a picture of the The Florida Theatre and Jaxoscope, the 2019 public art installation by Shasti O'Leary-Soudant, on the front cover of their recent Capital Improvement Plan. Some may questions the choice of the image, donning the cover of such an important financial document. Some may just see it as a picture of an iconic location that represents downtown Jacksonville. Or, some may see it as a perfect representation of the link between the arts in Jacksonville and the future success of our city. I don’t know why the Mayor’s office chose this image, but I do know some things about the impact arts and culture has on community.
"The sign of a... great city is the strength of its cultural life," said J. Clayton Hering, president of Northwest Business for Culture and the Arts. "Our non-profit arts groups are a powerful economic force, and act as a magnet for tourism. Even more important, they help educate and inspire our citizens and stimulate creativity in the workplace and in our schools."
The new mural at Don’t Miss a Beat is a bright and beautiful declaration of the transformative power of the arts. It’s beautifully set against the backdrop of trees at Woodstock Park and surrounded by neighborhoods where exposure to the arts is not easily accessible, to say the least.
Juneteenth memorializes an incredible day for African Americans. It is also emblematic of two ideas we take for granted today - freedom and immediate access to information.
The last few blogs seem to all be about murals. There’s a few reasons for this. First of all, there are a lot of great murals going up all around Jacksonville! Another reason is they are a perfect way to explore, experience and discover beautiful art when museums and galleries are closed during a pandemic. They’re free to look at. You can meet and interact with the artists. You can even watch the transformation from blank wall to colorful masterpiece. It’s an amazing art form that has the ability to completely transform a city’s image and lift the spirits of a neighborhood.
How can we, as a community, document this unprecedented time in history?
Two local organizations are giving us a gift that we will be able to give to generations to come.
“A little more than a century ago, Jacksonville citizens faced loss in many ways from a series of events that were documented, for the most part, by news reporters and photographers, along with diaries and journals by citizens. The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1888 (in which St. Luke’s Hospital played a healing role)… the Great Fire of 1901 (which stopped short of St. Luke’s Hospital) … the Great War (which came to be known as World War I) … and the Spanish Flu (also called the 1918 Flu Pandemic) all were dramatic events that could have brought our great city to its knees. Today we face a similar life-as-we-know-it-altering situation. How will we tell this story for future generations?” Quoted from Jacksonville Historical Society.
If you’ve driven down Arlington Expressway, recently, you probably noticed the expansive mural that now sits on the far end of the old Town and Country shopping center.
The shopping center, renamed College Park, was purchased by JWB Real Estate Capital and is part of their inspiring culture of giving back, by investing in areas that others have forgotten.
When we started our Artist Relief Fund, we expected contributions from individual donations, corporations, and local businesses. What we didn't anticipate were artists coming forward to help the cause by using their talents to support fellow artists.
Artist Nicole Holderbaum (Nico), has once again stepped up, offering to raffle an original painting that she is creating specifically for the fund. Nicole is well-known for spearheading such community impact projects as the Kid’s Mural Project and most recently the mural at the entrance of the Arlington area, now known as The Wall at College Park.
Raffle tickets can be purchased through:
1 for $5 and 5 for $20
Another artist, Jeremy Convery, of Jacksonville Beach, has personally felt the impact of the virus and wanted to do something to help the arts community.
In his unique pointillism style, made up of millions of tiny dots, he has created beach scenes that he's made into fun stickers. He is generously donating all proceeds from the stickers to the The Cultural Council of Jacksonville to be donated to local artists that have been impacted by the COVID-19 situation.
You can purchase stickers directly through the artist's venmo account:
Shark - Large $7
Shark Tooth - Large $7
Fin Design - Small $4
Beach Buggy- Small $4