34 Public Art Pieces Kick off Public Art Week In Downtown Jacksonville

Apr 3, 2017

The Downtown Investment Authority is starting off Public Art Week with a tour Tuesday of the 34 public art pieces recently added downtown.

Tony Allegretti, executive director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, said Jacksonville is in an era of art investment.

“We have a really thriving arts and cultural community and this is just a big 3D manifestation of that,” said Allegretti about the installations.

The tour takes guests to the artworks, starting at city hall. The pieces join more than 90 existing public art installations in the downtown area. They  include vinyl-wrapped traffic signal cabinets on Pearl, Hogan and Laura streets; bike racks on Hogan, Laura, Adams and Forsyth streets; and painted skyway columns from Hemming Park station to the Central station.

Traffic signal cabinet. Artist: Michelle Weinberg
Credit Patrick Fisher / Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville

They’re all part of the first phase of the DIA’s Urban Art Project to “further enhance and shape the city’s overall design, functionality, and visual aesthetic.” Six artists were selected to create and install the 34 pieces. Green, circular “APP” decals on sidewalks identify the projects from Duval to Bay Street.

Allegretti said public art benefits the whole community.

“Where there’s more public art, there’s better grades and there’s better revenue. It’s really the quality of life. Having art in your daily experiences is known to make you happier and more at peace,” Allegretti said.

According to the Cultural Council web site, easily accessible art gives the community an identity and can be a driving economic force.

Two more phases will roll out later this year, along with information on other projects like the Water Street Parking Garage and a piece for the Duval County Courthouse — which will be the most expensive public art installation in the city’s history. Three finalists are working on proposals for the parking garage. According to the Cultural Council site, one artist will be selected later this month.

“It’s a great gateway project. If you’re coming from Riverside it’s one of the first things you see so it’ll be a pretty impactful project,” Allegretti said.

He said the next call to artists for Phase Two will happen around summer.

Skyway pillar downtown. Artist: Andrew Reid Shed
Credit Patrick Fisher / Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville

“Buckle up. We’re about to see a bunch more art in what is already a really artful and culturally vibrant city,” Allegretti said.

Intern Serena Summerfield can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org, 904.358.6317, or Twitter @sumserfield.