The neighborhood of Murray Hill is located south of Lackawanna and west of Riverside and Avondale. It is bordered by Interstate 10, Cassat Avenue, Park Street, and Roosevelt Boulevard. Murray Hill was originally platted in 1906 as Murray Hill Heights suburb. In 1916 the town of Murray Hill was incorporated with a Mayor, Town Clerk, and Council Member.
Murray Hill Avenue was the main commercial corridor in Murray Hill. The north/south running street, now modern day Edgewood Avenue, was designed as a landscaped boulevard and modeled after Springfield’s Main Street. Fast forward to modern day Murray Hill. As you drive along Edgewood Avenue, perhaps on your way to Dreamette, recently named by MSN as one of twenty “Best Soft Serve Ice Cream Spots in America to Fuel Your Summer Roadtrips,” you’ll notice several new murals along the exterior walls of local businesses.
The Murray Hill Preservation Association (MHPA) is hosting a Centennial Celebration on Saturday, September 17, 2016 from 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM. The murals, which serve to revitalize Murray Hill, will officially be unveiled during Saturday’s event. The mural project is a public art initiative and partnership between MHPA and local businesses to beautify the neighborhood and promote art in public places. The murals were commissioned and calls-to-artists were posted on MHPA’s website.
Local businesses have shown their support for the mural project. Sunbelt Rentals, a tool and equipment rental company, has provided all the scaffolding for the project. Paint Craft Store, an art supplies store that has been operating in Murray Hill since 1977, donated much of the paint and supplies necessary to complete the murals.
“The mural project is a dynamic way to draw people’s attention to all of the wonderful things happening in Murray Hill, from the great new restaurants that are going in, to the many neighborhood meet-ups and events that are going on,”
Jason Tetlak, a Jacksonville based graphic designer, has also played an integral role in the project. He has helped raise funds, solicit artists, and secure wall spaces. Jason even donated his time to help during the painting process. “The mural project is a dynamic way to draw people’s attention to all of the wonderful things happening in Murray Hill, from the great new restaurants that are going in, to the many neighborhood meet-ups and events that are going on,” says Jason.
At present, the project plan outlines six murals throughout the Murray Hill area. Three walls have been selected as preliminary sites and painting has already commenced. The mural project is in need of three additional sites. Any business/building owners interested in lending their exterior walls as a mural space should contact Jason at [email protected]
The project is also in need of financial support. Each mural is estimated to cost $1,000. To further advance Murray Hill’s public art collection, MHPA is looking for local businesses or individuals who are interested in sponsoring a mural. Individuals that are unable to sponsor an entire mural but are still interested in making a financial contribution to the project can do so through the Mural Project’s page on MHPA’s website.
The revitalization of Murray Hill doesn’t need to be limited to these specific murals. It can grow to include multiple forms of visual art such as painting of other surfaces, mosaics, and three dimensional sculptures. But further growth and development will require more community support and funding.
The murals vary in size, with the longest being 120′ x 15′. Britt Spencer, an illustrator from Savannah, GA who is also a professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), is the ambitious artist tackling the 120′ long wall. If the size of the mural wasn’t enough to deem Britt ambitious, this is also Britt’s first time to ever paint a mural.
“I’ve never done a mural before, so I had a lot of questions that were primarily resolved through watching Youtube videos, reading articles/blog posts, and consulting with my friend, Jose Ray, a seasoned vet in mural painting. I used the grid method to translate my design from paper to wall. It was surprisingly easy, no big hiccups for its execution except for extremely hot days and sporadic rain.”
MURRAY HILL MURAL PROJECT, AS OF 09/06/2016:
Business(es): Esquire Barber Shop/Murray Hill Theatre/Vagabond Coffee (928 Edgewood Ave South, Jacksonville, FL 32205)
Artist(s): Designed by Jon Burgerman (New York, NY), Painted by Anne Jaques and her former students from Robert E Lee High School (Jacksonville, FL)
Business(es): Tradewinds (955 Edgewood Ave South, Jacksonville, FL 32205)
In their proposal to MHPA, Ronoco Collective had this to say about the simple four letter word “grow.”
“Grow. A single word that can embody every aspect of life. The goal is to create art that speaks to: growth in our community, growth in our families, growth in our natural environment, and personal and individual growth.”
Business(es): Grater Goods (1080 Edgewood Avenue South, Jacksonville, FL 32205)
Artist(s): Britt Spencer (Savannah, GA)