Jacksonville, Fla. – The Art in Public Places Committee (APPC) and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville (CCGJ) are proud to celebrate the passing of bill 2014-730 through City Council on Tuesday evening, allowing the solicitation and management of artistic projects on “unoccupied structures” in the Jacksonville urban core.
“This has been a true example of collaboration between so many within the arts community, the redevelopment community and city government,” said Abel Harding, chairman of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville’s board. “It’s a significant step towards our goal of leveraging arts and culture to make downtown the dynamic core a great city deserves.”
The change to the Art in Public Places ordinance will make way for artistic conversions of the traffic signal boxes, as well as Skyway infrastructure, and vacant and underused business facades in the Downtown area and surrounding historic districts. The APPC created the Urban Façade and Streetscape Program in order to work through amendments in the legislation and create a process for which these surfaces could be transformed through art.
“It’s an exciting moment,” said Christie Holechek, Director of Art in Public Places. “The passage of the bill through City Council chambers is a vote of confidence in the Jacksonville artistic community. We are now literally entrusted with the task of giving the urban core an exciting and authentic facelift.”
The bill passed through City Council unanimously, after the addition of a friendly amendment from Councilmembers Boyer and Crescimbeni to ensure maintenance funding is set aside at the initiation of every project.
“This is a huge win for Jacksonville, not just for arts & culture but also for improving our core neighborhoods’ aesthetic with local art,” said Tony Allegretti, Executive Director of The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. “I’m so proud of the Art in Public Places Committee for their work on this, and Kerri Stewart, whose efforts with the City were absolutely critical for the bill’s passage.”
The passage of 2014-730 is the first step of the Urban Façade and Streetscape Program becoming a reality. The second and even more important step is to pass funding for the projects through the Downtown Investment Authority budget, currently under Council review. That funding is expected to go up for vote later this month.
In the meantime, local artists are being asked to prepare their work. “We need artists to be ready with their portfolios in order and design concepts ready to roll,” said Daniel Austin, Communications Manager for The Cultural Council. “When these calls do start to come in later this year, they will be fast and furious. The Cultural Council is currently planning an Artist Development series to help artists prepare for these calls and other projects- more details on that are coming soon.”
About The Art in Public Places Program
The City of Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places Program, founded in 1997, has been administered by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville since 2006. Together with the Council, the Art in Public Places Committee strives to acquire, maintain, and perform responsible stewardship of public art throughout the City to enhance the stature of the City through the commitment to artists and their disciplines as vital elements of urban dynamics and economic development.
About the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville
The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville champions the appreciation, relevance and expression of art and culture. The Council stewards the City of Jacksonville’s annual appropriation to the arts, contributes to economic vitality through art and culture initiatives, and leads advocacy efforts to demonstrate the impact and significance of culture in the community. The Cultural Council is sponsored in part by the City of Jacksonville, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.
BIG THANKS to Kerri Stewart, the Art in Public Places Committee, Public Works, and the City of Jacksonville for making this possible. We are excited to hit the next step and getting funding for these projects in place so we can make our Urban Core the vibrant center we know Jacksonville can be!
Also thanks to Chip Southworth, who has been working on behalf of artists to stress the importance that streetscape art and facade improvements can bring to a city. For more, watch his talk on the subject from TEDxJacksonville in the video above.