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Jacksonville’s ‘District Of Soul’ Transforming In Part With Art

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Lindsey Kilbride
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WJCT News
In front of the North Point Town Center Thursday, Councilwoman Katrina Brown speaks, after it's announced two local artists will paint a mural on the side of the building

A community to the Northwest of downtown Jacksonville is using public art to help rebrand itself and fight negative stereotypes.

A crowd gathered in front of the North Point Town Center mall on the corner of Moncrief Road and Myrtle Avenue this week to meet the two artists who will be covering a side of the building with a mural.

Jacksonville Artist Chris Clark said it’s up to the community to help decide what they’ll be painting.

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Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News
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WJCT News
Jacksonville artists Chris Clark (left) and Tatiana Kitchen stand with the Cultural Council's Patrick Fisher and Northwest Jacksonville CDC President Paul Tutwiler.

“We want to make sure that we represent the people who live within the community and give them something they can be inspired about and proud about when they come home every day and see this great mural,” he said.

Clark will be working with artist Tatiana Kitchen on the piece.

“We mesh well together,” Clark said. “And we work together at a performance art studio here called Posh.”

They’ll gather feedback at lots of neighborhood and civic association meetings, said local nonprofit head Paul Tutwiler, who thanked the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville for linking him with the artists.

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Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News
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WJCT News
The beige side of North Point Town Center will soon be covered in a mural.

“We want to have some flavor that basically invites people to look at the character of the community as defined by the community,” Tutwiler said.

Tutwiler’s organization, the Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation, has built homes nearby and the North Point mall he was standing in front of.

He calls this area the District of Soul, a label that says something about its place in musical history, including gospel and jazz, and its tight-knit community.

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Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News
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WJCT News
The Northwest Jacksonville CDC is planning a welcome sign.

He's also planning to erect a large, colorful District of Soul sign at the intersection's entryway.  

”In our effort to reinvent ourselves or rebrand ourselves it’s necessary to look at our assets,” Tutwiler said. “We are historically known for a lot of very positive things that we’re not able to clearly just show.”

He said he hopes the mural, and more like it, will play a part in igniting community pride, and shining a positive light on northwest Jacksonville.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.