We cannot build up Downtown without building up our arts and culture scene. And the push to revitalize Jacksonville’s art spaces has never been clearer than right now.
Jacksonville has a rich history of music, art, film, and innovation that often does not get the recognition it deserves. As the former “Winter Film Capital of the World”, we were on the front lines of the pre-Hollywood film industry. Major motion pictures of the early twentieth century were produced right here in Jacksonville.
Right in the heart of our downtown, the LaVilla district was known as the “Harlem of the South” and some of the biggest names in Jazz and the Blues made their names here.
When we talk about our vision for a revitalized, vibrant Downtown, we cannot gloss over the role that public art has to play. Public art is a driver of culture and community. It not only brightens our space but draws people into Downtown from the suburbs and beyond.
That is why my administration, and our partners are so invested in building up Jacksonville’s art scene.
Just yesterday, I helped cut the ribbon at the new Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience exhibit, right here in Downtown. This internationally renowned exhibit offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to our residents to experience over 300 of Van Gogh’s works.
Today, the Cummer opens their new traveling exhibit, Deborah Roberts: I’m, showcasing an artist whose works hang in the homes of the Obamas and Jay Z and Beyonce. We are the only east coast stop on this tour. I am grateful to the Cummer Museum and its leadership for being such staunch advocates for Jacksonville’s cultural development.
Last week, VyStar Credit Union unveiled their new mural honoring Jacksonville’s skyline, its history, and the vision for the future.
The Jaguars and the Cultural Council are partnering to integrate public art into the construction of the new Miller Electric Center. The Call-to-artists opened last week and will allow for local artists to play an active role in building up Downtown’s art scene.
It is no secret that art, specifically public art, is crucial to the culture of a city. It is an honor to be a part of the push to inject this art back into Jacksonville and our Downtown.