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.
In addition to traditional development and fundraising efforts, JCDC creates art cards, which are available for sale through the organization's website. JCDC's art card series include Decorative Birds, Women of Wisdom, Love, Encouragement, and Holiday Cards. Art card themes are suitable for nearly any occasion and represent an easy way that you can support JCDC, and the arts.
10 Questions with Suzanne Pickett
What is the mission of your organization?
The mission of the Jacksonville Cultural Development Corporation is to foster an environment that builds creative communities by providing resources and support for arts and artists to flourish in Jacksonville, Florida and its surrounding areas.
When was your organization formed and how has it grown?
The organization was formed in 2004 as Jacksonville Consortium of African American Artist. In 2015 We changed the name to include our Creative Placemaking initiative.
What strategies are in place within your organization for you to engage your audiences?
Our strategy includes building personal relationships with long-time supporters and patrons, outreach through social media platforms, and boots-to-the-ground grassroots efforts.
Why is art and culture important?
It serves as not just A, but THE, catalyst for transformation in all aspects of improving everyone's quality of life. Arts and culture build bridges and dismantles barriers.
What’s your organization’s next major milestone and is this milestone part of a long-term plan?
Our next major milestone is the the grand opening of the Creative Learning Exchange. The Creative Learning Exchange will be located in East Jacksonville's Union Arts District. This initiative is part of our strategy for creative enterprise and community development through the arts.
What would you like to see in the arts and cultural community in Jacksonville?
I would like to see increased focus and attention for the arts in historically underserved neighborhoods.
Does your organization partner with other organization(s)?
Our major partner is the Art Center Cooperative. We are also collaborating with the Union Arts District. For community development we work with Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) Jacksonville, Operation New Hope, Eastside Community Coalition, , The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, and the Cultural Council (of course).
What is a program offered by your organization that you’d like to highlight? Additionally, what is an organization that you think more people need to know about?
I'd like to highlight our Creative Enterprise Program and our Professional Development for Artists Program.
I think more people need to know about Creative Capital. They are a great resource four artist professional development and provide affordable training workshops.
How do you stay up to date with the art and cultural happenings both nationally and in Jacksonville?
Google Alerts and hours of research, which includes traveling to other cities that have exhibit success with similar initiatives.
How can others get involved with your organization?