The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville Visits the Museum of Contemporary Art(MOCA Jacksonville)
Member of the Cultural Council staff recently had the privilege of having a private tour of MOCA, Jacksonville with the chief curator, Ylva Rouse. The experience was nothing less than inspirational, and we came away with a much greater sense and respect for the curatorial process and the hours, experience, knowledge, and detail that goes into each and every decision.
The Atrium exhibit, per usual, is formidable. The voluminous space commands an impressive display and the current exhibit, like all before, delivers just that. The colors, patterns, sounds, and vibrancy of “PROJECT ATRIUM: CARL JOE WILLIAMS: MAKING GREAT LIVES MATTER, welcomes you to the museum and sets the stage for what to expect on the ascending floors.
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.