It’s not everyday that someone new arrives to the Bold New City of the South to move and shake the local arts. Last year, Patrick Fisher entered the scene with a fresh perspective and a heap of motivation.
After completing a cross-country road trip with his dog in 2016, Fisher was hired as the Office Manager at the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville (CCGJ), the arts agency for the City of Jacksonville. He immediately noticed room for growth in the organization when he started work. “When I go into a new job,” he says, “it’s always with the objective of creating more value than I consume.”
Over the past year and a half, 32-year-old Fisher has worked his way up to Community and Collaboration Manager, a title he developed for himself. His early achievements have included optimizing the organization’s website, producing fresh promotional content, and creating more outreach opportunities, including the monthly networking event Every Single Artist Lounge. He’s also focused on expanding the arts scene beyond the Urban Core. He notes his intention “to make art as accessible as it ought to be to all communities in Jacksonville.”
Fisher also assists regional artists with setting goals for themselves and marketing their work. He encourages them to break their goals down into creative and professional objectives. “Identify what’s truly motivating you to go after those goals,” Fisher tells the artists he assists. In his communication strategy for the organization, he strives to shine light on the artists he serves. He also aims to cast a wide net. “I really strive for diverse, inclusive representation,” he says, ensuring that the CCGJ supports individuals of all age groups, races, and genders.
Growing up near rural Pennsylvania, Fisher first developed an interest in the arts through punk rock music. “I didn’t have access to the arts,” he says. “I had to have a natural curiosity to seek it out. I tried to continuously step outside myself and expose myself to more.” While employed in the airline industry, Fisher took advantage of his flight benefits, traveling to new places around the globe whenever he had a long weekend. Today, he feels that he not only utilizes the skills he obtained while working within the private sector, like thinking big picture and time/resource management, but also gained knowledge of international arts and culture from his travels.
Fisher finds that his administrative juices flow most rapidly in his office in the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. His walls includes over a dozen pieces by regional visual artists—the art of those he serves. Still, Fisher admits to feeling most creative and productive when he’s among the various communities of Jacksonville. Fisher attends at least three arts-related events each week to seek out artistic achievements and opportunities within the Greater Jacksonville area. He also works outside the office as much as he can to engage with the artists and individuals the Cultural Council ultimately assists. “If I am creating things in these four walls,” he says, “it’s only based on my input. But an effective program meets people where they are and addresses the true needs of your audience. If I’m just working in my office, I’m kind of neglecting to fully realize that.”