On one hand, it’s seven rolls of blue electrical conduit, found at any building supply store, that’s been cut into pieces and mounted on plywood platforms in the park along Main Street next to the Main Library.
On the other hand, it’s the second installation of the “Art in Strange Places” program, an initiative by local artists to create vibrancy Downtown.
“BluGras” was created by sculptor Dolf James and photographer Doug Eng, who took the common materials and added imagination, then put the public art in the park.
“It’s not so much about the object, it’s about the intent,” said Amy Crane, deputy director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville.
The site was selected by James and his fellow artists with the cooperation of the City as a prime location to add color and form to the landscape.
Crane said before “Art in Strange Places” debuted, the park was easy to overlook, even though thousands of pedestrians and motorists pass by it every day.
“When an artist brings something like this into the environment, it’s provocative because it makes you look. Before it was there, you might not even notice the park. Now you can’t miss it,” she said.
“Art in Strange Places” is a series of installations that will be created by local artists and exhibited at various sites Downtown for several weeks at a time.
James is looking for new contributors who want to display their creative concepts for contemporary urban art.
More information is available at www.artinstrangeplaces.com.
While the title of the painting that’s the latest addition to the Jacksonville Maritime Heritage Center isn’t certain, the mural depicting Downtown’s waterfront when sailing ships were the norm has had quite a history.
It was a gift to the Jacksonville Port Authority on Jan. 16, 1969, from Edgar Luckenbach Jr., president of the Luckenbach Steamship Line.
Years later, it was loaned to Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Geis Marine Center on the Trout River.
When the center closed, the painting was returned to the port authority, where it was displayed in the board room.
There it remained until a few months ago when the area was redecorated in a fashion that didn’t include space for the mural.
“They called us and asked if we’d like to take custody of it,” said Paul Ghioto, curator of the heritage center.
He said it’s a “temporary permanent loan.”
The center is on the first floor of the landing near the Adams Class Ship Museum.
It’s home to a collection of artifacts that represent the extensive seafaring history of North Florida, including commercial shipping interests and the military’s influence and contributions to the region.
The maritime museum and education center is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free, and donations and memberships are welcome.
Call 355-1101 for information about group tours and volunteer opportunities.
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