Community Building Through Public Art - 10 Questions with Art Educator Amanda Holloway and Students of James Weldon Johnson College Preparatory Middle School
Earlier this month, a dynamic collective of local businesses, artists, educators, and community leaders teamed up to facilitate a community driven public art project on the exterior façade of Knopf & Sons Bindery, located at 1817 Florida Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32206. The 150’ mixed-media mural, appropriately named Dream Big, is on an exterior wall along E 8th Street, which receives heavy foot traffic due to its proximity to a JTA bus stop and heavy vehicle traffic due to its proximity to on-and-off ramps for the Martin Luther King Jr Parkway.
The mural, which was designed by students from James Weldon Johnson College Preparatory Middle School and their art teacher, Amanda Holloway, was inspired by Taylor Richardson, a 7th grade student at The Boles School who has aspirations of becoming a scientist, engineer, and an astronaut. Richardson recently raised over $100,000 through a crowdsourcing campaign to sponsor 1,000 young girls to see Disney's “A Wrinkle in Time” in theaters at no expense.
Engaging With and Learning From My Community - 10 Questions with Multimedia Designer, Animator, Illustrator, and Professor of Digital Media Marq Mervin
Marq Mervin is a multimedia designer, animator, illustrator, and Professor of Digital Media at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ). Mervin's work and advocacy centers around providing marginalized and underrepresented groups with multiple points of access to education and professional development opportunities in the field of art and design. He is a member of Jacksonville's chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), a professional association for design. Mervin also serves on AIGA's national Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, which is composed of 21 members from 16 different cities. Within this task force, Mervin chairs the Education and Community Committee. He and his fellow committee members explore partnerships with educational institutions and community and minority-based organizations interested in design education, diversity, and inclusion.
In 2016, Mervin led a TEDxFSCJ talk titled "Represent! Diversity and Equity in Arts Education." During this talk, Mervin recalled his own experiences as a young black men pursuing a degree in the arts and recounts how limited diversity amongst teaching faculty impacted his self confidence. It took Donivan Howard, a black animator with esteemed professional credits, to interview for a position at Jacksonville University for Mervin to see himself represented in his desired field of work. It was this representation that reinforced Mervin's belief that he could pursue a career as an artist and succeed.
I Want to Challenge Myself and Go as Big as the World Will Let Me - 10 Questions with Photographer and Curator Khalil Osborne
At only the age of 20, emerging photographer Khalil Osborne exhibits a high level of ambition. When he was 15, Osborne was given his first camera from a friend. It was a Sony Cyber Shot. He started taking pictures and posting them online through social media. Soon he became known by others in his school as the kid with the camera.
Aspiring for more than a retail or food industry job when he was a teenager, Osborne harnessed his passion for photography and in 2015 he secured a job at Cady Studios. With more than two years of professional experience behind him, Osborne works as a portrait photographer through the family owned school photography business. In his free time he continues with camera in hand, setting up shoots with his peers to add to his growing body of work as a visual artist.
Retro Futurism - 10 Questions with Graffiti/Contemporary Artist and Graphic Designer Mark "CENT" Ferreira
Mark "CENT" Ferreira is a graffiti/contemporary artist and graphic designer who lives and works in Jacksonville, Florida. His body of work has a strong orientation towards typography and geometric shapes, incorporating traditional graffiti letter forms and characters but often with a fresh take. CENT's color palette includes a signature teal that serves as a continuous thread woven throughout his portfolio of work. This signature color is reflective of the ’80s, but also feels evocative of Jacksonville. Working predominantly in aerosol, CENT's work exhibits influences of mid-century modern design and comic books.
CENT was born in Connecticut. As a child, his family traveled to Southwest Florida every summer to vacation. Eventually summers weren't enough for the family and they relocated to the Sunshine State in 1989. CENT's father built their family home in the Naples area. CENT remembers the area feeling too pristine and he often romanticized about living in a gritty metropolitan area.
I filmed and edited a video in connection with "First Things First," an art exhibition that examined the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The show opened on January 13, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. Artists from the First Coast presented pieces that represented their interpretations of the First Amendment. I titled the video "Freedom of Assembly."
Sara Nahid was born in Ahvav, Iran. Nahid was exposed to the arts at an early age and she recalls her mother providing her with a paint set when she was about 10 years old. After completing secondary education in Ahvaz, Nahid enrolled in the prestigious Tehran University of Art, Iran's largest art university. There, Nahid pursued her passion for art by studying painting and sculpture. While enrolled as a student, Nahid shared her passion with a younger generation by teaching painting and ceramics to pre-school children.
Unfortunately, Nahid's education only lasted two years. She unenrolled from university after her father-in-law was imprisoned in an Iranian jail, and later died. Fearing for their safety, she and her husband fled from Iran to Turkey. Once settled, Nahid worked in a restaurant but continued to paint, although obtaining supplies was difficult. She and her husband lived in Turkey for five years and it was during this time that she converted to the Bahá'í faith, a religion teaching the essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people. Nahid, her husband, and their young son came to the United States in 2016.
Nahid both loves and is critical of her culture. Her work deals with her experiences as a woman in Iran and her transition to the US. Now living in Northeast Florida, she has a deep desire to move from a place of isolation into a community of belonging.