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While sitting outside my favorite café where the owner knows exactly what I order every time I walk in the door, it made me wonder: What makes outdoor seating Downtown so popular, and why do people choose it over its climate-controlled counterpart? Could it be the feeling of freedom in escaping the office, the ability to bring our pet with us to catch a breath of fresh air, or to simply enjoy the hustle and bustle of Downtown? Whatever your reasons, outdoor seating or café seating has become a permanent part of urban culture.

Within the last few years, the City of Jacksonville has allowed restaurants to setup outside seating for those who have applied for the permit. Since early 2013, Downtown Jacksonville alone has seen an increase from 17 to 22 businesses with outdoor seating, according to DVI’s recent survey, which includes restaurants, designated smoking areas and seating outside offices.

“It’s great the city allows outdoor seating, and we’re lucky we could expand to the sidewalk,” said Ian Chase, Chomp Chomp co-owner. By allowing cafés and restaurants the opportunity to increase seating outdoors, it provides a quick and inexpensive way for businesses to expand, and it improves the pedestrian experience. For Chomp Chomp, this became a necessity as demand has grown significantly in the last year.

The current cost of a Downtown Jacksonville sidewalk café permit is only $250. Orlando’s price is double at $500, whereas Tampa ($300) and Charleston ($200) are similar to Jacksonville’s permitting cost. DVI encourages restaurants and cafes to take advantage of this opportunity to set up sidewalk seating. For information on how to obtain a permit for your business, visit coj.net.

by: Admin in Placemaking No Comments  

Finished last week, the murals on the Yates parking garage brighten up Downtown with more whimsical public art.

The first two murals, best seen by drivers entering Downtown from the Hart Bridge Expressway, are abstract designs by Felicia Asteinza and Joey Fillasre of Milagros Art Collective. The remaining two murals, featuring symbolic Origami paper cranes, were created by Sean Mahan of Neptune Beach.

If you haven’t seen the murals yet, check out the photos below but we promise you, that it will be worth your time to visit the murals and see them for yourself.

For more information on the City of Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places collection, administered by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, and other art initiatives Downtown, read our previous blog post.

 

 

 

by: Admin in Placemaking No Comments  

“I love this city, and I’m doing what I can to make it a better place.”
-Artist Shaun Thurston

It’s not a far stretch of the imagination to believe art has a positive affect on communities. In a recently released video, local artist Shaun Thurston shares through his own words – and artwork – why public art matters.

“Artwork, I hope, makes people feel inspired,” he says. “It can make them feel loved and appreciated, and that can add to a sense of community.” The video chronicles the spring installation of Thurston‘s mural above Chamblin’s Uptown & Cafe on Laura Street, as part of DVI’s Laura Street Facade Grant Program in conjunction with the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville‘s “Art in Public Places” initiative:

DVI’s Laura Street Façade Grant Program, a matching grant program established in 2011 to provide economic incentive for property and business owners to improve building facades and storefronts. – See more at: http://downtownjacksonville.org/blog/?s=facade#sthash.vuBWqYoI.dpuf
a matching grant program established in 2011 to provide economic incentive for property and business owners to improve building facades and storefronts. – See more at: http://downtownjacksonville.org/blog/?s=facade#sthash.vuBWqYoI.dpuf
a matching grant program established in 2011 to provide economic incentive for property and business owners to improve building facades and storefronts. – See more at: http://downtownjacksonville.org/blog

According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, public art fosters community appreciation and attachment:

 “The Knight Foundation’s Soul of the Community initiative surveyed some 43,000 people in 43 cities and found that “social offerings, openness and welcome-ness,” and, importantly, the “aesthetics of a place – its art, parks, and green spaces,” ranked higher than education, safety, and the local economy as a “driver of attachment.” Indeed, the same story may be playing out locally in Philly: a survey of local residents found that viewing public art was the 2nd most popular activity in the city, ranking above hiking and biking.”

With Downtown Jacksonville’s public art boom underway, we’re one step – and a few murals – closer to a more robust city center. For even more progress on North Florida’s largest art gallery, known simply as “Downtown Jacksonville,” check out the Jacksonville.com Yates parking garage photo gallery.

by: Admin in Placemaking No Comments  

The saying goes that colors brighten any room. The same can be said about public art Downtown. The recent addition of several public art installations Downtown have brightened bare exterior walls of businesses, brought life back to façades of vacant historic buildings and transformed familiar walkways’ fences, sidewalks and trees.

Yates garage mural installation underway June 7.

The latest in this public art boom on the heels of One Spark are the Yates parking garage murals, currently under installation at the corner of Market and Newnan streets. New murals will be constructed on each of the four 52-foot stair towers of the garage and are the newest addition to the City of Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places collection, administered by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville.

The first two murals, by Northeast Florida artists Felici Asteinza and Joey Fillastre of Milagros Art Collective, are abstract designs best seen by drivers from the Hart Bridge Expressway. Neptune Beach artist Sean Mahan will create figurative and symbolic images on the remaining two murals geared toward pedestrian traffic.

Sean Mahan mural concept (left), alongside Felici Asteinza and Joey Fillastre of Milagros Art Collective’s abstract mural.

According to the official press release, the murals will create a visual connection to accessible public parking and serve as an entry point into the Spark District, a new Cultural Council initiative to revitalize Downtown’s core through arts and culture projects.

The Spark District spans from the riverfront north to Duval Street and is bordered east to west from Liberty Street to Hogan Street and is meant to serve as a canvas for Spark Grant Program beneficiaries. The Spark Grant Program anticipates awarding $5,000-$25,000 to approximately eight visual arts projects from a pool of $60,000 this year. For more information, view the Spark Grant video or visit the Cultural Council’s website.

Public art is an important initiative for any Downtown working toward revitalization as it enhances the street-level experience, creates and inspires effective public place-making and improves the quality of life for Downtown workers, residents and visitors.

If you’re interested in checking out the Yates garage murals’ installations, the artists are scheduled to paint at the site 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through July 6.

by: Admin in Placemaking No Comments  

NPR photo

Thought-provoking public art and effective placemaking knows no borders. Walk the streets of Downtown Jacksonville, and you’ll see yarn-bombs, murals and sculptures. Walk the streets of Brazil’s Sao Paulo, and you’ll likely run into the same.

A recent NPR story chronicles the public art and placemaking scene of Downtown Sao Paulo, along with the artists who make it happen:

“[Crochet artist Leticia] Matos covers trees and street poles with woolen sleeves and small, colorful pompoms. Her works look like whimsical webs of rainbow yarn; the effect is surprising and oddly comforting.

‘I want people to have something familiar in the city. Here in Brazil we teach knitting from mother to daughter,’ Matos says. ‘When they see my art, they suddenly feel comfortable walking these cold streets. And you can feel better.’

Urban landscapes have always inspired art, and Brazil is no exception. A new crop of artists like Matos not only is taking inspiration from Sao Paulo’s streets but also is trying to give something back.”

Read or listen to the full NPR story: In Gritty Sao Paulo, Artists Take To The Streets. In the comment section below, share your ideas for public art and placemaking in Downtown Jacksonville.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Spotlight No Comments  

On One Spark in Downtown Jacksonville:

“Crowded cars on the Skyway. Traffic congestion downtown. Long waits at restaurants.

Isn’t it wonderful?

More than once I heard someone talking about the vibe, even the seemingly negative aspects, by saying, ‘Isn’t this great? … This feels like a real downtown.'”

Read the the full article, “Mark Woods: Downtown felt like downtown should feel” at Jacksonville.com.

Can’t get enough of One Spark? Here are a number of wrap-ups and recaps to get your fix, facts and figures:

 

When Shawn Thurston spray-painted his landscape mural on the storefront of Chamblin’s Uptown last month, the installation was an introduction of the public art to come. Using the inaugural One Spark festival as a catalyst, DVI continued its efforts in collaboration with the Cultural Council to bring art Downtown, acting as a liaison between artists and property owners and securing approval to add four temporary and permanent public art installations to Downtown’s building façades.

Doug Eng’s “Beyond the Facade”

Local photographer and fine artist, Doug Eng, installed large-scale images of nature and architecture called “Beyond the Façade,” over the boarded windows of the Laura St. Trio and Barnett Bank buildings at the intersection of Laura and Adams streets.

A familiar face in the Downtown art scene, Eng has participated in Off the Grid for a number of years, formerly with a studio space in Studio 121 and currently as a member of the artist cooperative, Southlight Gallery. Prior to “Beyond the Façade,” Eng has lead and participated in a number of installations and exhibits Downtown including “Message in a Bottle: Wall of Light” in Main Street Park last spring. The installation sculpture displayed thousands of messages from the community to raise the awareness of our military’s service to our country.

‘Currently the landscape of abandoned buildings, empty storefronts, and “Available” signage is the driver of depressed states of consciousness for the city. By creating interest, curiosity, and observer interaction, we can begin to transform the downtown experience to a positive one,’ said Eng.

“Rise from the Ashes” by Corey Kolb & Eric Hinote

Local activists Doug Coleman and Wayne Wood introduced “The Big One” project, which brought six larger-than-life sculpture and mural installations to Downtown for One Spark. Included in project is the “Rise from the Ashes” wheat paste mural spanning the width of the vacant Lerner Building, which sits across from The Carling residence at 20 W. Adams Street.

The mural was a joint collaboration by local artists and graphic designers Corey Kolb and Eric Hinote.  “We were trying to portray a positive message for the city in that it’s time to support Downtown and see it return to the epicenter it once was. We see that initiatives like Art Walk and One Spark can revitalize Jacksonville’s urban core by giving people a reason to visit and stay Downtown,” said Hinote. “We feel it’s time that Jacksonville embraces this notion and builds off the initiatives it has put in place to make Downtown more vibrant culturally.”

“Yarnbomb Downtown Jax” by Jackie Kuhn

Between the Laura Street Trio and Lerner buildings, sits an empty fenced-in lot, which came to life with whimsical knitted scenes lead by Jackie Kuhn from Neptune Beach, FL. The most temporary of the installations, “Yarnbomb Downtown Jax,” showcased this female dominated art form, which creates a dialogue between fiber artists and the public through non-permanent street art, called “yarn bombing.” In addition to the mural, yarn creations covered tree trunks, statues, poles and bike racks during the festival.

“Up-cycle” by SeeSAW

Two blocks down Adams Street, Matthew Hebermehl of Savannah, GA lead a project by SeeSAW, See Savannah Art Walls, to paint “Up-cycle.” This installation on the exterior of Burro Bar at 100 E. Adams Street, brings color to a formerly whitewashed wall highly visible from the Main Street bridge entrance into the Northbank core of Downtown. Inspired by the themes of renewal and cultural fire, the mural showcases the positive impact of community-centric public art.

If Thurston’s first mural was the introduction, the murals installed for One Spark are only the first chapter. Announced recently, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville has launched a Spark Initiative for the walking core of Downtown. Through this grant program, the Cultural Council will fund additional placement of art and culture, such as bike racks or benches; or events, performances, festivals, concerts and tours.

Have you had a chance to see the new art Downtown? What do you think? What would you like to see next?