Local Jacksonville artist Jeff Whipple won a national competition for a commission to paint a 9-foot by 75-foot mural for the new 140 million dollar Ballou High School in Washington, DC. The mural is oil paint and acrylic on canvas and will be displayed in the entrance lobby. Whipple designed the mural to work with the school’s motto, “Bold Leaders, Courageous Citizens, Outstanding Scholars.” It features 18 monochromatic portraits of historical figures with their inspirational quotes. There are also three full color portraits of current, high-achieving Ballou students on panels suspended above the canvas. They represent how students will develop their potential with the help and inspiration of the historical figures. The design is also meant to reflect the scalloping elements of the exterior architecture.
The mural is currently in progress and scheduled for delivery in early December. The new high school will be dedicated on December 15. Jeff is painting the mural in his Jacksonville studio and will roll it up to take it to Washington DC.
Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to travel in space. Her quote says, “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.”
Frederick Douglas is quoted on the mural with, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
About Jeff WhippleJeff Whipple has had 82 solo exhibitions. He has participated in dozens of group exhibitions across the country and won numerous top awards in art competitions.
He has had solo exhibits at the Tampa Museum of Art, the Gulf Coast Museum of Art, the Museum of Florida Art, the Eustis Museum of Art and the Boca Raton Museum of Art. His art has been in group shows at the Jacksonville Museum of Art, the Ringling Museum, the Cummer Museum of Art, the Naples Museum of Art, the Orlando Museum, the Danforth Museum of Art, the Polk Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
He has also worked as a playwright and his plays have been in 19 productions. He’s won several playwriting awards including five Florida statewide playwriting competitions.
He has received five individual artist fellowships: Two from Illinois in 1985 and 1990 and three from Florida in 1982, 1996 and 2006. He achieved Florida fellowship eligibility in 2010 and 2011 but funding was unavailable due to state cutbacks. The 1996 Florida fellowship was for Playwriting and Whipple remains the only Florida artist awarded fellowships in two different disciplines. In 2001, he was the first recipient of the Fulton Ross Award, a $10,000 grant based on career achievements.
Whipple’s public art commissions include an 80-foot long video on the façade of the Tampa Museum of Art, a 300-foot long hand-painted mural for the City of Tampa and a 150-foot long oil painting mural for the Johnson Library in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Tampa Museum of Art commissioned Whipple to create a large-scale video and art installation on a Miami Beach hotel façade during the week of Art Basel Miami in 2006. In 2011, he created eleven paintings for the East New Orleans Library featuring portraits of local residents. The new library replaced one that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. This project was selected as one of the 50 best public art projects in 2012 by the Public Art Network.
Whipple has taught at several colleges including Arizona State University, Florida State University and Northern Illinois University. He currently teaches at the University of North Florida.
There is a detailed resume on the website: www.jeffwhipple.com