"Emergence" is an artwork by Haddad|Drugan on the south and west facades of the Water Street Garage. Creating an instant icon at a prominent gateway into downtown Jacksonville, the scale and location of this piece allow it to be experienced from various distances and vantages. A central sculpture recalling a figment of Florida’s botanical wonders crowns the southwest corner of the garage, floating above a mural of complex linework in metal and paint that encompasses the upper floors of the building. Set against a dark gray background, this gigantic, bold multi-media mural transitions at its outer edges into a tracery interpreting musical frets, staffs and notes, as an homage to the rich musical history of nearby LaVilla as well as the modern-day Jacksonville Symphony.
In the evening the artwork becomes a display of color, light and effects, dramatically changing its appearance from day to night. The central sculpture’s brightly colored petals that are prominent during the day recede behind an organic assemblage of translucent rods that come alive with dynamic colored light coursing through them. The chromatic play of these light rods coupled with washes of color-changing light across the sinuous mural lines below will result in a complex and varied performance of color and light at the corner of Water Street and Broad Street.
“Emergence”, according to Glenn Weiss, Former Director of the Public Art program for the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, “is a fusion of place-based inspirations rising out of the water lines, music lines, and rail lines etched into the history of its site. A layered composition of luminous silver lines, colored tendrils, musical notes, and a sculptural bloom evokes the splendor of Jacksonville’s diverse natural and cultural heritage at a geographical and cultural crossroads.” He goes on to explain how the art alludes to real and imagined flora and fauna, the St. Johns River, iconic musical compositions including James Weldon Johnson and Rosamond Johnson’s poetic “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and Courtney Bryan’s contemporary symphonic piece “Bridges,” connecting Jacksonville’s past, present and future.
About the Artists Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan’s collaboration began in 2001 and has fostered a wide range of innovative site-specific art commissions and plans for public places. Their Seattle-based studio, Haddad|Drugan, operates at the intersection of art, architecture, landscape and theater. Their multi-media artwork takes inspiration from an overlay of qualities of a site, conveying that presence through multi-sensory aesthetic experiences that explore qualities of light, color, magic and wonder. Past and current work includes artworks for urban plazas, parks, transportation projects, stormwater utilities, industrial facades, museums and libraries.
Tom Drugan received a Master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s degree in architecture and a minor in film studies from the University of Colorado. Laura Haddad has a Master’s degree in landscape architecture from University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor’s degree in history from Bowdoin College, and has recently completed two terms on the Seattle Design Commission. Haddad and Drugan have taught and lectured in venues across the country. Their award-winning work has been published in Sculpture, Architectural Record, Landscape Architecture, Eco-Structure, Landscape Journal and other publications.
Artist’s Team Tom Drugan and Laura Haddad (artists, Seattle, Washington), General Sign Services (sculpture installation, painting, and electrical, Jacksonville), Apple Electric (electrical, Jacksonville) Atomic Fabrications (sculpture fabrication, Seattle), Bill Savarese (mural painter, Fort Lauderdale), Yetiweurks (structural engineer, Seattle)
History of the project The project was instigated in 2016 via contract between the City of Jacksonville and the Cultural Council as project managers via the Art in Public Places program. The City appropriated $355,287.70 to enhance the garage through new public art of which 335,712.00 is contracted with the artists. After a national search, artists Haddad and Drugan won a three team design competition in 2018. Click here to learn about the competition. The work was scheduled for completion in June 2020, but Covid 19 delayed the process. The goal is completion by mid-October, 2020.
Downtown Investment Authority The DIA manages the contract with the Cultural Council for the city. CEO Lori Boyer stated, “The DIA and Office of Public Parking are excited to fund another art initiative in our Downtown core. Art is not only relevant in creating a sense of place, but it also contributes to the vitality of our Downtown. We look forward to the unveiling of the finished product – it will make the parking facility visually appealing, distinctive and welcoming to visitors and locals alike.”
OTHER SUPPORT The Cultural Council thanks JEA for fiscal support for the illumination, Landstar for transportation of the sculpture for Seattle and City Public Works for advice and coordination.
Emergence will change color from sunset to midnight and 5 AM to sunrise.
The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville is sponsored in part by the City of Jacksonville and by the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida.