City Of Jacksonville, MOCA Win Millions From Christie's Auction of Huge Painting

May 18, 2018

The city of Jacksonville and the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA) surpassed their expected $2.7 million earning with the sale of Joan Mitchell’s “Iva” piece at the well-known Christie's Auction House in New York City.

Leaders in the arts community now have $2.8 million in their pockets thank to the auction's sellers fees being waved by Christie’s grant of an 104 percent return, according to Nan Kavanaugh, Director of Marketing and Communications for  MOCA.

Half of the money will go back to the MOCA while the city of Jacksonville takes the other half to maintain and support art in public places.

LaVilla Braid (829 N Davis St)
Credit The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville

The city will receive about $1.35 million in total from the auction, according to our Florida Times-Union partner

Initially the city said they needed at least $700,000 to revitalize current art pieces around town.

The LaVilla Braid light art piece located on the side of the Ritz Theatre and Museum is a top priority, the Cultural Council has said. 

Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville’s Director of Art in Public Places Christie Holechek said in an earlier interview with WJCT News that the monies will promote long —term support of public arts in the community.

The funds will be used for current and future maintenance needs in artistic endeavors of the city’s creative community.

MOCA will spend its share to primarily promote the acquisition of new collections lining the halls of the museum.

Kavanaugh talked about the museum's strategy that was revealed last fall, for adopting new acquisitions to the permanent collection.

“The Call & Response exhibition gave the public the opportunity to explore the themes ‘Art as Social Commentary,’ ‘The Evolution of Mark-making,’ Material as Meaning,’ ‘New Media’, ‘Project and Object Relationship,’ and ‘(Re) presentation.’ Any new acquisitions would fall into one of those themes,” Kavanaugh said.

New works are expected to start with a new Project Atrium installation opening in July. It will feature Claire Ashley, an up-and-coming artist who experiments with inflatable sculpting and painting. “Her work is bright, fun, and engaging,” said Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh expressed excitement for what’s to come at MOCA. “We are delighted that the work sold at $2.7 million with an enhanced hammer sale that resulted in just over $2.8 million in proceeds being invested to support the arts in the area.”

Alexandra Blackwell can be reached at or 904-358-6316.