Saturday, November 4 was a day of art and culture in Jacksonville, Florida. There was an event to attend in practically every area of the city, whether it was an opening reception for a visual art exhibition, a mural expo in progress, a neighborhood block party featuring live music and art vendors, home tours of mid-century modern architecture, or plays and musicals performed by community theatres.
Shaun Thurston joined me for the day and we rode bicycles around the urban core. Our first stop of the day was to see the murals in progress as part of Art Republic, a mural expo now in its second year. Art Republic has been a point of controversy in Jacksonville's creative community. The conversations have specifically revolved around the organization's leadership, their business practices, and the perceived lack of diversity or representation of female artists and artists of color. Grievances aside aside, I am thrilled to see vibrant colors giving more life to Jacksonville's visual landscape.
There are at least 10 other large scale murals slated to be created as part of Art Republic's 2017 expo.
We then road bicycles to Springfield for Jacksonville Porchfest, a neighborhood block party organized by Springfield Preservation and Revitalization (SPAR) Council. As part of the event, residents of Springfield lend the porches of their historic homes to serve as makeshift stages for musical performances. The free event showcases more than 30 live acts, ranging from soul, hip-hop, bluegrass, and rock n' roll. This year's event also featured a sculpture exhibition in partnership with Jacksonville Sculpture Walk.
After Porchfest I biked home to walk my dog, Opal. After quickly changing I was back out, this time headed to the Yellow House for the public opening reception of Life Under Construction. The show features new works by Princes Simpson Rashid and Keith Doles and I attended a private preview the night before.
I've really enjoyed the three shows that Hope McMath has curated at the Yellow House. Hope is well known through Jacksonville because of her time spent as the Executive Director at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. I fully support her new endeavor, as has the community at large. Hope is proving to Jacksonville that she is so much more than just a former Director of a cultural institution. Her dedication to marginalized communities and using the arts as a medium to address issues with education and social justice resonate deeply with me.
After leaving the Yellow House, I walked across the street to Space 42 for their opening of Dream | Sueño | Rêve. The exhibition is a collaborative effort between artists John Carr and Estée Ochoa.
I spent the rest of the evening outside of Space 42 caught up in rewarding conversations with some of my favorite people in Jacksonville. It was a great day from start to finish and something I desperately needed to replenish my well.