For most people, public art is our first engagement with art. Be it sculptures, murals, monuments, and/or memorials, art in civic spaces has an impact that provides individuals and communities an opportunity to reimagine their lived, everyday experience; to carve out new forms of knowledge about place, architecture, and the body.
This past March we published an issue focused on public art murals in the downtown area created in response to a five-year plan presented by ArtRepublic.
Public art is educational and has the ability to tell the story of a neighborhood’s history and being exposed to art encourages people to talk about it and reflect through new conversations.
The Power of Public Art
• Beautification and Revitalization •
• Public Art Builds Unity •
• Street Art Helps the Local Economy •
On the heels of the downtown murals project, this past April 22 to 25 ArtRepublic created the “enLIGHTen” Art Festival dubbed “A Time for Illumination,” in Atlantic Beach. ArtRepublic Atlantic Beach, also known as ARxAB, brought dozens of international and local artists to Atlantic Beach to a section of Mayport Road to help shape what is now referred to as The Cultural Corridor. This project will almost certainly be a catalyst for future cultural and economic growth in Atlantic Beach.
In addition to the murals project, the University of North Florida (UNF) recently unveiled its new public sculptures made by students of the Art, Art History, and Design Department at the Seaside Sculpture Park and James Weldon Johnson Park.
UNF sculpture professors Jenny Hager and Lance Vickery started these sculpture parks in 2016, after observing a dearth of public art practice within the Jacksonville region. Seaside Sculpture Park, located in Jacksonville Beach, is funded by MountainStar Capital and the Lazzara Family Foundation (Chris Lazzara and Jessica Wynne).
These are the type of collaborations and community investments from donors that elevate our engagement and are the result of the arts and businesses working together.
There truly is art around every corner!
Cinda Sherman, Publisher