Art, culture and music will be celebrated in historic style Wednesday in Hemming Park when Downtown Vision presents “Musical Masquerade,” the 11th anniversary edition of Art Walk.
Mayor Alvin Brown’s office is scheduled to proclaim Wednesday “Arts and Culture Day” and Art Walk will be the backdrop for the first public celebration of a new arts education program for Duval County Public Schools.
Wednesday evening will be highlighted by two performances by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the first time the full 53-member orchestra has performed in the park.
The orchestra will perform at 6:30 p.m. and at 8:15 p.m., conducted by Michelle Merrill, who is assistant conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
The Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra and Jump Start Strings are scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m.
“The community will get to see the symphony,” said orchestra spokesman Paul Witkowski. “Our mission is to bring music to as wide an audience as possible. Art Walk draws a young demographic, and I’m sure we’ll see a lot of new faces.”
Making its official debut on Wednesday is “Any Given Child,” a program administered by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Jacksonville is the 14th city selected for the program, which is designed to ensure that public school students have access to arts and culture education.
In 2013, Cathedral Arts Project, Duval County Public Schools and the city applied for the program, said Allison Galloway, Any Given Child Jax executive director.
The local chapter of Any Given Child is under the umbrella of Cathedral Arts Project and is working with arts organizations to coordinate the effort to bring arts into public schools in grades K-8, Galloway said.
“The mission of Cathedral Arts Project and Any Given Child almost completely overlap,” she said. “We’re not pulling resources away from anything. It’s about restructuring what already exists.”
Galloway said all local arts organizations have been invited to showcase their work in the “Cultural Fusion Alley” along Laura Street in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville.
Having Jacksonville’s symphony orchestra perform in Hemming Park has long been a goal for Downtown Vision Inc.
Marking Art Walk’s 11th anniversary with the historic concerts will expose the orchestra to a new audience and also allow people to see some of the changes in store for the park, which was taken over Sept. 30 by the Friends of Hemming Park, a private nonprofit funded with $1 million from the city.
Katherine Hardwick, DVI marketing director, said Art Walk is likely to set a new record for attendance Wednesday, breaking the mark of nearly 20,000 people who attended last month’s Oktoberfest.
“It’s going to be something else,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase what Hemming Park is going to become.”
Art Walk is from 5-9 p.m., rain or shine on the first Wednesday of each month. For information about this month’s venues and activities, visit iloveartwealk.com.