A sculpture park is expected to liven up Downtown Jacksonville in early September. The exhibit includes 16 works, 13 of which to be displayed in Main Street park.
Sculpture Walk Jax, the official name of the program, will feature 14 artists including 6 from Jacksonville and others from places like Missouri, North Carolina, and Germany.
Public art in Knoxville, Tenn. inspired University of North Florida sculpture professor Jenny Hager to create the Sculpture Walk Jax program. She said the sculpture park resembles one affiliated with the Dogwood Arts Festival.
“It creates a sense a place in an area that was once divided,” Hager said.
Sculpture parks, Hager mentioned, creates safety by attracting people to previously desolate areas.
Hager chose Main Street Park for her project for this reason. The park is, what she calls, a “no-place” space.
Although the park is situated in front of the Jacksonville Main Library, it does not get as much attention as Hemming Plaza, the Artwalk’s main hub.
“The idea is to create a place that is culturally interesting and that brings people out to a space that is underutilized,” Hager said.
Hager funded the project with a grant from the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville's Spark Grant Program. The grant program awards funding to projects that would liven Jacksonville’s Spark District, a specific area in the urban core aimed to rejuvenate the arts.
As a sculptor, Hager said the Sculpture Walk exhibit is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the artists in the Jacksonville area. "Dance of the Jellyfish," sculpted by Hager, will be featured in the park as well.
“We don’t have anything like this right now in Jacksonville,” she said.
The grand opening for the year-long exhibition will commence the weekend of September 12 with a guided tour. The exhibition will coincide with the
inaugural Connection Festival, which will have music, food, and art.
"I think it will be exactly the right mix of what I was looking for: Sculpture in the park, plus, people doing things that people do in parks,” she said.
The project is waiting for the city’s permission for the three additional sculpture locations outside Main Street Park.
The locations would be in Hemming Plaza, Regis Inc., and near the Chamber of Commerce building.
The sculptures are expected to be installed before September 5.