Incoming Cultural Council Leader Aims To Create ‘Buzz’ Around Jacksonville

Dec 20, 2018

The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville introduced its next Executive Director to the public on Thursday.

The Cultural Council’s search committee unanimously selected Joy Young to be the council’s new leader earlier this month.

Young, a 14-year veteran of the South Carolina Arts Commission, will be leaving her position there as the Director of Administration, Human Resources and Operations to join the CCGJ in early February.

The Cultural Council aims to promote arts and cultural events, projects and initiatives in Northeast Florida. Among other things, the organization runs Jacksonville's Art in Public Places program and it awards Cultural Service Grants to support arts and cultural organizations, including WJCT.

“The work that I’ve been able to do at the Arts Commission around arts entrepreneurship, around cultural tourism, around community development, are all pieces of work that will suit what the vision and ideas for Jacksonville are,” she said, addressing a crowd gathered to meet her at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.

Incoming Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville Executive Director Joy Young speaking at the Times-Union Center.
Credit Jihan Grant / Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville

“The work I’ve done around organizational development I think translates quite well into the work that we do with our Cultural Services Grant program. And I would also say that the work in human resources. Just working with this fabulous team that has carried the organization for as long as it has translates," Young added.

“The work of just administration and operations, I think, is also work that translates quite well to this work,” she went on to say. “And finally, being in the community, engaging with arts organizations, engaging with individual artists, and let’s face it, just getting on the stage and performing, are all ways that I think my experience translates to this work here in Jacksonville.”

Young is herself a performing artist as well as a vocal and piano instructor.

She said the ultimate goal of organizations like the South Carolina Arts Commission and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville is to boost local economies.

“Every time a person spends money as it relates to buying a ticket, going out to eat, putting gas in their car, when they’ve attended an event addresses economic development,” she said. “Community development is, ‘how do we see our grants work in the community?’ That we are actually investing in the arts. So we take tax dollars, but we turn those into revenue that comes back to the community.”

Young said the most important thing for her, at this point, is to learn about Jacksonville and the people who call it home.

“Community identity is so important, and it is not for me, as an individual, to tell the community who they are or what they are, but in fact let them bring, and surface and create opportunity and develop resources for them to express themselves,” she said.

Incoming Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville Executive Director Joy Young with board chair Ann Carey.
Credit Jihan Grant / Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville

“Jacksonville is positioned to become a cultural destination, become an arts destination, become a destination for people to connect with history,” said Young. “I see opportunity for Jacksonville to really hone in on those opportunities. To really hone in on on the essence of how the arts, how the culture, how the heritage of this community can give people a story, an idea, of what Jacksonville is, and could potentially create more opportunities for tourist engagement.”

“When I speak to arts, history, heritage, culture, the public art program, those can become products to help Jacksonville be the place where there’s buzz, be the place where people want to be,” she said. “I think it’s important for us to tell the story of Jacksonville outside of Jacksonville and to invite people from outside of Jacksonville into Jacksonville. One of the great benefits of being with a state agency was to interact regionally, nationally and internationally. Jacksonville can, and should do the same things to help create, again, that buzz.”

Brendan Rivers can be reached at, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.