FUND-LESS SUMMER: Art on the Cheap

Let’s face it: Enjoying visual art can be pricey. This past February, an unknown buyer paid $300 million to purchase When Will You Marry?, impressionist Paul Gauguin’s 1892 oil painting from his “Someday This Painting Will Sell for a Shitload of Money”-period.

The editorial and design teams here at Folio Weekly had collectively pooled our money to place a bid on this coveted masterpiece. Yet once the bidding for the piece ended, we immediately agreed to invest our funds into a half-dozen pizzas from Hungry Howie’s, which we furiously consumed while standing around the office’s unplugged light table where we enjoy or communal meals, share profane limericks, curse at our lottery scratch-off tickets, and mock you, our devoted readers. Oh, we kid!

Believe us, when it comes to enjoying art while making sure our cash remains in Mason jars buried in an undisclosed location (hint: It’s our Art Director, Chaz Bäck’s yard!), we’ve worked all the scams and angles.

We learned to avoid one specific caper the hard way after trying to breeze through a couple of Patrons’ Preview parties: Andy Warhol never had any children who “joined the rodeo in Holland,” and, for that matter, he apparently sired no offspring.

And take it from us, trying to corral 10-to-15 confused children into a museum with the hopes of getting a “field trip discount” rarely works, especially when those uncooperative tykes run screaming from their “teacher” in abject terror. “Well, excuse me, officer. I’m merely trying to teach those little ingrates, uh, students, about Picasso and parsimoniousness.” 

The very idea of spending money to enjoy the arts makes us anxious and sweaty, like Ned Beatty stranded at a hog-calling contest.

But the enjoyment of art need not empty one’s artisanally crafted, vegan chain wallets. Thoughtful, helpful, and generous are three adjectives we usually avoid, but for you, fellow culture lover/cheapskate, we offer a sampling of arts places to go where you don’t need much, or any, dough.

While some have compared Northeast Florida Art Walks to pub crawls, we like to think of them as more of a great way to see local art while possibly getting free drinks and filling our pockets with as many cubes of cheese as humanly possible. Art Walks might be your best bet to do a “mass inhalation” of artwork in a four-hour time frame. Naturally, we offer you a list of each week’s walks in our arts listings (see page 32.)

2689 Rosselle St., Riverside,,
The cultural phenomenon known as CoRK Arts District is an undeniable success in creating a cross-pollination of various arts disciplines in Northeast Florida. Roughly 70 artists, working in media ranging from painting and sculpture to spoken word and playwriting, have working studios throughout this monolithic 100,000-square-foot space. And while CoRK isn’t open to the general public, it regularly features gallery shows by the resident creative denizens. But it’s also not the Fortress of Solitude: If you know some of the artists working there, they invariably will give you entrance to CoRK’s productive albeit casual vibe.

829 Riverside Ave., 356-6857,
This stalwart of Jacksonville art features always-engaging current exhibits, a permanent collection that showcases thousands of works ranging from 17th-century European paintings to 18th-century Meissen porcelain, and three flower gardens on the banks of the St. Johns River. The best part? You can enjoy all of this when admission is free, 4-9 p.m. every Tuesday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month.

From Fernandina Beach to St. Augustine and all points in between, there are dozens of art galleries in Northeast Florida. So whether your tastes lean toward flamingos-flying-over-the-beach paintings (our personal fave!) or cutting-edge, contemporary works, galleries are a great — and free — way to check out local, regional and international art. For a list of some current gallery shows, check out our arts listings on page 32.

333 N. Laura St., Downtown, 366-6911,
This visual arts mecca located in the heart of Downtown always brings the “A” game for presenting exhibits that run the gamut from international group shows to their inventive Project: Atrium installation series to local artists. MOCA offers freebies on Thursday nights throughout the summer.

Here’s a radical idea: Shut down the Netflix, drop that industrial-sized bag of tempeh jerky, and make your own art! Drag a stick through the sand, offer an unwarranted performance art piece at the DMV, take selfies of yourself at the psychiatrist’s office, make a papier mâché effigy of Shad Khan — who cares? Demand that the world realize your brilliance — at least until the new episode of Moonshiners airs.

About EU Jacksonville

october, 2021