In the simplest terms, Aaron Levi Garvey is an arts professional. In more detailed terms, he is a writer, lecturer, consultant, and an independent curator of museums, galleries, and non-traditional spaces. In 2015, Garvey co-founded Long Road Projects (LRP) with his wife, Stevie Covart Garvey. The artist residency program and edition publishing house serves as a platform for artistic experimentation, community engagement, and education. Since its inception, LRP has hosted five resident artists, including: Lala Abaddon, Gamaliel Rodriguez, Tameka Norris, Joshua Short, and Paul Weiner. The foundation also recently announced the fall and winter 2017 residencies of Curtis Santiago and Sheida Soleimani.
Garvey is also the newest arts professional to be appointed to the Art in Public Places Committee, which consists of 11 Mayor-appointed volunteers. The Committee is composed of two members from the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville's Board of Directors, three arts professionals, and six community representatives. The Committee is responsible for commissioning artists and artworks for the Art in Public Places Program. They oversee the selection, placement, installation, and maintenance of art on City-owned public property.
In late 2014, Garvey was an evaluator on the review panel for Creative Capital’s 2015 visual arts grant. Since then, he has served as a visiting curator at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, a guest lecturer at the University of Florida, collaborating curator at Independent Curators International, and the curator of "We Are What We Eat," the inaugural contemporary art exhibition at the United Nations headquarters in New York, amongst other things. In fall 2017, Garvey will serve as the visiting curator at the University of Iowa.
Those in Jacksonville who are interested in seeing Garvey's work in person can do so with a weekend trip to New Orleans. Garvey curated "Ephemera Obscura,"which is on exhibit at the Contemporary Art Center New Orleans until October 1, 2017. The exhibition presents the work of artists who examine the relationships of objects, which hold importance beyond their physical form, to experiences of places and cultural identities. Artists submitted work that evoke their own sense of emotionality, sacredness, and personal connection to their cultures and beliefs through objects found and made.
Crystal Floyd has started a business called Lazy Jay's Tour Company, through which she shares with others the places and activities that make Northeast Florida uniquely special. Tour packages vary based on an individual's interests and abilities, but patrons can expect to visit natural springs, lesser known beaches, and both the state and national parks that are sprinkled throughout this region.
I made a short video using a GoPro from a recent excursion with Lazy Jay's Tour Company to several springs about an hour and a half outside of Jacksonville.
Song: "No Particular Night or Morning"
Album: "We Can Create Our Own World"
Get Real, Get Committed, and Do the Work - 10 Questions with Filmmaker, Writer, and Painter Dr. Nadia Ramoutar
Our comfort zone is the behavioral space where we feel at ease due to an established degree of familiarity, security, and certainty. We have higher control of our environment when we are inside of our respective comfort zones. Our activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes anxiety and risk. Stepping outside of our comfort zones, however, has massive benefits related to performance and creativity.
We have been programed to view stress as a psychological state that should be avoided. But, in reality, there are healthy forms of stress that can actually serve as a catalyst for growth, personal development, and ultimately transformation. Directly outside of our comfort zones, but not too far outside of our comfort zones, is an area referred to as the optimal performance zone.
We expose ourselves to new challenges and tasks when we enter into this zone. As a result, we may experience increased levels of uncertainty, which is often followed by fear. Typically, what we fear most about new challenges is that we may fail. But, in retrospect, when was the last time you felt a deep sense of accomplishment that didn't result from overcoming and completing something that challenged you either emotionally, mentally, or physically?
Dr. Nadia Ramoutar spent the last 10-years teaching at The Art Institute of Jacksonville. Prior to her position at Ai, she taught at Flagler College for 9-years. This summer, Dr. Ramoutar decided to exit the world of academia and pursue a career as a full-time freelance creative. You could say that she has stepped outside of her comfort zone in a big way.
Maintaining A Connection To Your Environment - 10 Questions with Mixed Media Visual Artist Crystal Floyd
Visual artist Crystal Floyd uses found and re-purposed objects to assemble mixed-media curiosity cabinets and three-dimensional installations. Floyd approaches her work in a manner that is similar to an anthropologist. She exhibits an inquisitiveness for the natural world and how we as humans interact with it. Her creative process incorporates elements of art, history, and science, with research, collecting, and cataloging playing integral roles in the development of a piece. Floyd's curios, dioramas, and displays allow viewers to examine and mull over individual components found within the work, while the pieces themselves represent a larger narrative.
As an artist, Floyd has the ability to create scenes within her work that are completely familiar yet entirely foreign at the same time. Vintage images and items, succulents, insects, and objects found on the shorelines are elements that are present throughout her work. These materials create feelings of wonderment, nostalgia, and impermanence.
Floyd's connection to the natural world extends beyond her work as an artist. She is currently working to launch a new business venture, Lazy Jay's Tour Company. Through this endeavor, Floyd will share with others the places and activities that she believes make this region uniquely special. Tour packages will vary based on an individual's interests and abilities, but patrons can expect to visit natural springs, lesser known beaches, and both the state and national parks that are sprinkled throughout Northeast Florida.
Lily Yeh was born in southwestern China in the province of Guizhou, one of China's most diverse territories. The region is relatively undeveloped economically, but rich in natural and cultural resources. Yeh, who was raised in Taiwan and moved to the United States in the early 1960s, has dedicated more than 30 years of her life to urban alchemy. Her lifework is to use art as a vehicle and promote imagination and collaboration as tools to transform decay into vitality; and trauma and despair into hope and joy. Alongside members of the neighborhoods and villages in which she works, Yeh implements projects that foster community empowerment, improve the physical environment, promote economic development, and preserve indigenous art and culture.
Yeh studied classical Chinese painting during her formative years growing up in Taiwan. She received her Bachelor of the Arts (BA) degree from National Taiwan University in 1963. Later that same year, Yeh migrated to the United States to attend the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated from the private Ivy League university with her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in 1966.
Yeh worked as a studio artist and in academia after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. She served as an Instructor of Art History at West Chester University for two years before pivoting to an Assistant Professor role, and eventually one of a tenured Professor, at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Yeh didn't embark upon her first public art project until 1986, during which she founded The Village of Arts and Humanities, an organization rooted in artist-facilitated community building.
In 2002, Yeh founded Barefoot Artists, a non-profit organization that aims to train and empower local residents, organize communities, and take action for a more compassionate, just, and sustainable future. The organization, which is made up of a network of volunteers, travels to international destinations and uses art to advance initiatives focused on imporving health, education, and economic development. The name is derivative of the barefoot doctor system, set up by Mao Zedong in 1960s China, which gave farmers basic medical training to bring health care into rural areas.