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Jax Arts Leaders Confident Funding Won't Fall Victim To Politics

Cyd Hoskinson

Leaders of Jacksonville’s arts community Wednesday acknowledged the support that’s been pouring in for the Museum of Contemporary Art.

MOCA came under fire from City Council President Clay Yarborough over a photography exhibit that includes the image of a nude pregnant woman reclining on a couch. Yarborough demanded that the photograph be removed and that the $233,000 MOCA got this year from the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville be returned.The Mayor has said the money’s staying put and

The Mayor has said the money’s staying put and MOCA Director and Chief Curator Marcelle Polednik said the photo’s not going anywhere either.

“The photograph in question is part of a larger installation which encompasses fourteen images that are really meant to be seen as one integral unit. So that informed our decision greatly as well as the expression of artistic freedom that’s at stake here.”

Polednik said MOCA has received $20,000 from two local sponsors as well as letters of support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

She said arrangements are being made to meet with Council President Clay Yarborough but nothing’s been finalized.

Yarborough’s demand that the Cultural Council take back money it gave to MOCA this year has raised concern over the role politics plays in arts funding. The city council gives money to the Cultural Council which then distributes it to various arts organizations in the form of grants.

Abel Harding, Chair of the Cultural Council’s Board of Directors, said the fact that the economic impact from the arts was $58 million last year proves how important they are to our lives. “We know arts and culture makes a difference in Jacksonville. And, if anything, we hope that, out of this, the city council will see the need to boost funding to have a greater impact in this community.”

Harding said applications for the Council’s Cultural Service Grants are reviewed by a panel of professionals...making the process as free from politics as possible.

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson @cydwjctnews.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.