Just as Downtown continues to go through a renaissance, so is the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville ’s leadership, as it is sparking the fire and turning Downtown into a hot flame of the arts and cultural activity-–the phoenix is rising. The evolution of Downtown is intertwined with that of the Cultural Council, both integral and symbiotic parts of the economic engine focused on re-defining Downtown Jacksonville as a vital place to live, work, and play.
The iconic Marble Bank, the nexus of the now infamous Laura Street Trio, will soon come alive inside and out with, respectively, the ticketed Council’s 38th Annual Arts Celebration dinner inside, followed by a free street celebration outside, both branded as the “Night of Fire”.
This year, these two events are attracting people who care viscerally about patronage of the arts and who want to be a part of ensuring and sustaining the vitality and vigor of the arts and culture in this region, especially since the art community is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds. Both of this year’s events are designed to please the eye, give pleasure to the palate and tune-up the ear; prepare your senses to witness incredible performances inside and outside during the Night of Fire.
FREE “STREET INFERNO” PARTY
Everyone is invited to the Street Inferno Party, which is located in the Cultural Council’s defined SPARK DISTRICT. Come Downtown on May Day, Thursday, May 1st from 7 to 11 pm, to celebrate our local artists. Listen to DJ Nick Fresh, watch the Molotov Cocktail fire dancers, enjoy the hot-hot-hot video projection and partake in the local brews in the wine and beer garden. Rub shoulders with the arts and cultural crowd, and help make a scene Downtown.
The food trucks will be cooking up a wonderful selection of delicious food, too. Go to www.culturalcouncil.org to find the list of participating truckies, so you can plan your dinner accordingly. Although there is plenty of parking in the public garages, you can take Uber or a regular taxi, or ride the Metro to Hemming and walk a few blocks.
This cool event will be located “on the street” between Forsyth and Adams (Laura is closed), where exciting venues will be presenting in all corners to welcome partygoers. Look for the Sparksters, or volunteers, who represent our universities and colleges by hosting this event night.
You will have an opportunity to win a cool door prize, too, which is one of Regions Bank’s branded “green” beach cruisers. Details are on the Cultural Council’s website, where you can pre-pay for door prize ticket(s). Yes, you can buy as many of the $1 tickets as you want. The winner will be chosen electronically and announced later that evening.
Another fun opportunity is the “50/50”, which means all door prize tickets purchased through EventBrite or during this street party will be “split,” as half will go to the Cultural Council Spark Grant Program and half to the lucky winner, again drawn by computer.
The third, and exquisitely beautiful, door prize will be a fascinating glass art piece specifically designed and blown by the students at JU, a one-of-a-kind, special memento of the evening and a decorative object to last a lifetime.
Your involvement is unlimited. You can be a sponsor of this great event and get your name and what you do “out there” by simply checking out the culturalcouncil.org website for more information. It’s never too late to show your support for the arts. First-time donors are welcome. Whether you want to donate a dollar or a million dollars-–any amount is appreciated-–you or your company can become part of the vibrant Downtown scene by stroking a check and, at the same time, supporting local artists.
THE CULTURAL COUNCIL’S SPARK DISTRICT & ONE SPARK
The Cultural Council’s Spark Initiative is an important place-making endeavor focused on revitalizing the urban core through the arts. The Spark Initiative’s leadership and patrons are dedicated to working alongside the City of Jacksonville to make our city known for art and culture. In short, what One Spark is for five days each year, the Spark Initiative aims to be the other 360 days-–a walkable urban core that is alive with temporary and permanent pedestrian-level works of art!
The Cultural Council is pleased to announce that by virtue of sharing a “spark of creativity” with One Spark, it is sponsoring the funding of this year’s One Spark Art Award with a check for $10,000, which will be given to the artist with the most votes received during the five-day event. The winning artist will be announced by a member of the Cultural Council and a representative of One Spark on Sunday, April 13, at the One Spark Closing Ceremonies. The Council is excited and proud to be able to fund a working artist in this year’s event. This effort directly ties into to their mission to bring about awareness of the importance of donor sponsorship of the arts. Undoubtedly, this philanthropy comes back to the community in so many ways. It begins to build and sustain a foundation for the arts in the future.
BOTH HOT EVENTS ARE COOL
A very special thank you goes to Regions Bank for signing on as the title sponsor for this fabulous evening event! It’s a fantastic way to start this year’s Spring, and honor the patrons who have given their time, talent and cold, hard cash to put the arts first in this community. Regions generously committed to be the Arts Awards’ Presenting Sponsor for the past two years.
“At Regions, our mission is to make life better for our customers, our associates, and our communities,” says Franklin Danley, City President of Regions Bank. “This is also why we are so passionate about supporting the arts in our community. Art makes life better for all of us. There has never been a more important time to support the arts, and I want to encourage all of you to become involved in the quest to make Jacksonville a premier destination for those seeking arts and culture.”
Joining in the celebration will be Steve Atkins of Southeast Development Group, progressive owner of what we know as the Laura Street Trio. The Marble Bank, centerpiece of the Trio, and the epicenter of the Spark District, serves as a springboard launching Jacksonville forward with this debut event as the focal point.
“The Cultural Council’s Night of Fire is a fantastic opportunity to allow the community to experience the Trio first-hand and up close, just before we begin the transformation of these iconic properties. The Trio will serve as an example of how the thoughtful and adaptive reuse of historic properties enriches the fabric of our community through art, architecture, entertainment and living spaces,” says Steve Atkins. “The Cultural Council is our city’s leader in promoting art in public places. What better place to celebrate their efforts than in a place that is art in itself? I am extremely pleased to offer the Marble Bank as the venue for their 38th Annual Arts Awards.”
Organizers are pleased to confirm the awards dinner of the evening inside the bank has sold out, but you won’t miss the announcement of the winners of the Arts Awards, or the announcement of the second round of Spark District grantees if you don’t have a dinner reservation, because it will be announced to the crowd at the free street party, or you can read all about it on culturalcouncil.org later that evening.
Leading the dual-event committee is visionary board member and fundraiser Lisa Goodrich, who has dedicated months to ensure the financial success of this year’s event. “This is an exciting time at the Cultural Council and both of the parties this evening provide a platform for us to showcase our organization and the arts to a new and larger audience,” Goodrich says. “To be able to present our award winners in such a special space is incredible, and to offer a free street party for everyone is so important; art is for everyone and should be celebrated by all. This evening would not be possible without the amazing support of so many volunteers, including Artivores, which is producing the event, and PB&J, which is helping to promote it.” Goodrich continues, “Further, the Cultural Council is so excited to be a sponsor of the One Spark Art Award, as this is a natural partnership and evidence of our sustainable support for the Downtown core and all of Jacksonville’s art scene-–supporting the arts is our business!”