In March, 2020, the world changed. Here in the United States, along with elsewhere across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses, schools, and even natural spaces like beaches and parks. With the exception of healthcare and other essential workers, most of us hunkered down and lived our lives moving very little and in small orbits. But, traumatic events were still unfolding as spring turned to summer, and new tragedies of racial injustice took place that sparked a surge in protests for equity. Within this swirl of inaction meeting action, artists everywhere were commenting on the times just as they have historically done.
Art museums are community anchors. They bring people together, help the community address challenges in times of crisis, and serve as beacons of light and hope that provide connection and conversation.
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens began with one woman who firmly believed that art, in all forms, provides a lasting and positive impact on society. Nearly 60 years later, the museum continues to promote Ninah Cummer’s legacy by connecting Jacksonville’s diverse community to the arts and each other.
A conversation with Cultural Council Executive Director Joy Young
In life there are certain times of mastery, when elements, people, and events conspire together to create magical intersectionality. It happened, ironically, during the COVID-19 quarantine, when people were more physically apart than together, more disconnected than connected, and with more time on their idle hands and seemingly nothing to do with it.
An artist is defined by Merriam-Webster as “one who professes and practices an imaginative art.” YourDictionary adds that an artist produces a creative product. “There are few companies as art-driven as we are in Jacksonville,” says John Wood, founder and CEO of Sally Industries, now known as Sally Dark Rides.
Since the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed systemic changes to our behavior and how we interact with one other. These new norms present challenges in how we approach the design of spaces. All the places we take for granted today, such as restaurants, shops, malls, offices, churches, hotels, and bars may look differently in the future.