For ten years the art of healing has been on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA). Each year young patients at area hospitals have seen their artwork on museum walls, thanks to the partnership between MOCA and the extraordinary nonprofit Art With a Heart in Healthcare (AWAHIH).
Local artist, gallery owner, and arts advocate Shawana Brooks, who is behind the 6 Ft. Away Gallery and the Color Jax Blue mural project, joined Art+Action and recruited local artists to create artwork for billboards that would help disseminate information on and incite inspiration for filling out the 2020 census. For Come To Your Census, Jacksonville, painter Marsha Hatcher and photographer Toni Smailagic were chosen to create pieces that are now on billboards, visible from Interstate 295.
Canceling The PLAYERS started a chain reaction that would keep many local workers employed while feeding thousands of needy Northeast Florida residents. When golfer and Ponte Vedra Beach resident Billy Horschel heard the tournament was canceled, he asked The PLAYERS if the food could be donated to Feeding Northeast Florida. The PGA Tour then called Susan King, president and CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida, to see if the regional food bank would accept the food. The hand off event took place on March 13th, and the next day trucks began transporting the goods. That’s when Jon Insetta, owner of Orsay, Black Sheep, and Bellwether restaurants, reached out to King and asked how he and his staff could be of service.
It’s been called a flying emergency room or an air ambulance. Carrying one patient, one pilot, one flight nurse, and one flight paramedic, the Life Flight helicopter transports critically injured and ill patients to all five Baptist Health hospitals and three of its four Baptist/Wolfson Children’s Hospital satellite emergency departments. This cutting-edge service has transported regional patients for 40 years.
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.
A conversation with Cultural Council Executive Director Joy Young