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Jacksonville has a lot of parks. Four hundred and thirty-seven to be exact, but the term park is a loose definition, as those public areas range from beloved neighborhood pocket parks to ballparks and skate parks, fishing piers and boat ramps, to magnificent, large-scale spaces that include a range of amenities or provide a selfie-worthy photo op, such as in front of the “Life” sculpture in historic Memorial Park.
The pandemic upended everything about our daily lives, from how we learn to how we shop; how we dine to how we work; and how we communicate and receive information to how we think about the world. As consumer demand inundated the supply chain, a labor force flush with stimulus cash contracted. Businesses and organizations fundamentally changed their operational models to adapt to this increasingly complex marketplace. With more consumers getting information from their digital devices than ever, many companies have been forced to make a digital transformation long embraced by larger brands.
Nestled up against the St. Johns River in Riverside, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens provides a respite for those who want to stroll through the galleries or meander through the exquisite gardens to be inspired by the beauty of the natural world. Did you know that visiting the Cummer—one of the community’s top attractions—can also positively impact your health and well-being? After the past two years of pandemic struggles, there is no better time to take advantage of the documented benefits of immersing yourself in art and nature.
Kara Walker (b. 1969) is an American contemporary artist, best known for her massive installations of cut paper silhouette tableaux. Her striking silhouette cutouts fill entire walls with imagery that is at first beautiful, then on closer inspection tell a story of deep trauma, hurt, and exploitation. She employs a medium that has traditionally been used by the white elite to depict docile, pleasant scenes and turns it on its head to depict the other side of history—a side that is less palatable, often painful, and frequently left out.
Largely ignored by ineffectual leadership, our urban center evolved into a wasteland of demolished buildings, leaving parking lots in its wake while city planners focused on haphazard suburban sprawl. Thankfully, many visionaries with unstoppable momentum believed Jacksonville to be a place on the river full of entertainment, culture, business, and green space that better reflected its citizens’ true potential. Even as city officials continually created new obstacles, these dreamers pressed on with a motto most often echoed throughout the private sector, “Jacksonville could be so great if ____.”