Artistic Façade Improvements: Promoting civic pride and creating a sense of place

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The installation of Jacksonville Children’s Chorus window shades on Duval Street. Photos by DVI.

Downtown Jacksonville has experienced an explosion of art on buildings over the past 18 months. Beginning with Shaun Thurston’s “Floating Islands” on Chamblin’s Uptown, property owners, decision makers and the general public have come to realize that art need not be limited to museums and gallery walls – buildings can be a canvas in their own right.

The latest public art installment took place today at the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus headquarters at the historic 1922 Education Building, owned by Downtown’s First United Methodist Church. The Chorus received a donation for window shades depicting chorus members, as photographed by Laird Myer. The shades are intended to beautify building, keep the interior offices cool from the afternoon sun and increase Chorus brand exposure.

“These photo screens will bring the building to life,” said Darren Dailey, artistic and executive director of the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus, in a press release. “The images of singers will truly enhance this stretch of Duval Street.”

Screen shot 2014-10-16 at 2.26.26 PMDailey said the Chorus intentionally made the decision five years ago to move its headquarters Downtown, and he believes this window-shade installment will be only the beginning of their exterior beautification efforts.

“As international musical ambassadors for our city, it is important for singers to have a physical presence in the heart of Jacksonville,” he said. “We take great pride in our block of Downtown. It is our hope to secure funding to add night lighting to display the photo screens in the evenings as well as making improvements to the landscaping around the parking lot of East Duval Street.”

Screen shot 2014-10-16 at 2.25.45 PMFor general information on Downtown beautification efforts, contact DVI’s director of district services, Jennifer Hewett-Apperson, at The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville’s “Art in Public Places” is also a great resource for information on art-based beautification projects. Visit the program’s website to learn more.