The Looking Lab – Spark Grant recipient

The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville celebrates the opening of the third of four Spark Grant recipient exhibitions in the Downtown Urban Core on Wednesday, February 5th in conjunction with Art Walk 2014. Spark Grant recipient Joy Leverette’s “The Looking Lab: Art in Empty Storefronts” dual-window art installation is a collaborative effort between artists David Montgomery and Crystal Floyd. It will be located at 107 East Bay Street, a Petra Management property that is currently for lease.

Here, David Montgomery and Crystal Floyd will give viewers will an opportunity to see an artistic rendering of beautiful insects in their ecological settings, through the use of sculpture and digital art. This first projection-based installation will be “active” at night – look for the butterflies.

“We are very excited at the Cultural Council about visioning these public art projects,” says Mason Martin, Cultural Council Project Manager for the Spark Grants. The Spark Grant Initiative is a program of the Cultural Council funded by private donations and supported by community in-kind participation. Launched in 2013, The Spark Grant Initiative supports the Jacksonville City Council’s 2011 resolution to utilize the arts to engage people to see the possibilities of un-leased and unused spaces in the urban core, or Spark District. “This is exciting for Jacksonville to become part of a national effort to bring the arts and culture into the center of the urban core,” says Martin.

Grant recipient Leverette noticed blighted storefronts along Bay and other streets. She saw possibilities in Jacksonville, after researching Storefronts Seattle and other sites of vigorous art activities. Also, she found that art installations attract public interest and increase pedestrian traffic, a key step in economic revitalization. “We want to invigorate the streetscape,” she says. “We want people to experience public art and get excited about it. Our goal is to raise the bar for contemporary and public art by making it even more accessible, [and] our goal is to attract new tenants, to bring new buyers to the space and spur pedestrian traffic by stimulating the vitality of the city block.”

As artistic director, her idea is to develop a collaborative effort with regional and local multi-disciplinary artists to come together and advocate for performance art and public art installations in order to bring about a new synergy within the Spark District. “I enjoy partnering with artists and local business leaders and urban core property owners in the community to offer creative art installations in their empty spaces for the enjoyment of the public. [Together] we are going to electrify the void!” says Leverette.

Her plan is to launch three more storefront installations throughout the year during the grant period. This inaugural event will be available for viewing through March 12th, covering both the February and March Art Walk events. For an overview of all Spark Grants, as well as for specific developments in each grant recipient’s stories, go to www.culturalcouncil.org/index.php/grant-programs/spark-grant-program/. The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville celebrates the opening of the third of four Spark Grant recipient exhibitions in the Downtown Urban Core on Wednesday, February 5th in conjunction with Art Walk 2014. Spark Grant recipient Joy Leverette’s “The Looking Lab: Art in Empty Storefronts” dual-window art installation is a collaborative effort between artists David Montgomery and Crystal Floyd. It will be located at 107 East Bay Street, a Petra Management property that is currently for lease.

Here, David Montgomery and Crystal Floyd will give viewers will an opportunity to see an artistic rendering of beautiful insects in their ecological settings, through the use of sculpture and digital art. This first projection-based installation will be “active” at night – look for the butterflies.

“We are very excited at the Cultural Council about visioning these public art projects,” says Mason Martin, Cultural Council Project Manager for the Spark Grants. The Spark Grant Initiative is a program of the Cultural Council funded by private donations and supported by community in-kind participation. Launched in 2013, The Spark Grant Initiative supports the Jacksonville City Council’s 2011 resolution to utilize the arts to engage people to see the possibilities of un-leased and unused spaces in the urban core, or Spark District. “This is exciting for Jacksonville to become part of a national effort to bring the arts and culture into the center of the urban core,” says Martin.

Grant recipient Leverette noticed blighted storefronts along Bay and other streets. She saw possibilities in Jacksonville, after researching Storefronts Seattle and other sites of vigorous art activities. Also, she found that art installations attract public interest and increase pedestrian traffic, a key step in economic revitalization. “We want to invigorate the streetscape,” she says. “We want people to experience public art and get excited about it. Our goal is to raise the bar for contemporary and public art by making it even more accessible, [and] our goal is to attract new tenants, to bring new buyers to the space and spur pedestrian traffic by stimulating the vitality of the city block.”

As artistic director, her idea is to develop a collaborative effort with regional and local multi-disciplinary artists to come together and advocate for performance art and public art installations in order to bring about a new synergy within the Spark District. “I enjoy partnering with artists and local business leaders and urban core property owners in the community to offer creative art installations in their empty spaces for the enjoyment of the public. [Together] we are going to electrify the void!” says Leverette.

Her plan is to launch three more storefront installations throughout the year during the grant period. This inaugural event will be available for viewing through March 12th, covering both the February and March Art Walk events. For an overview of all Spark Grants, as well as for specific developments in each grant recipient’s stories, go to www.culturalcouncil.org/index.php/grant-programs/spark-grant-program/.

About Joanelle Mulrain