Attorney and artist Deborah Reid curated ‘1st Things 1st.’
Art meets the law at “1st Things 1st,” now on exhibit at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.
The same could be said for attorney and painter Deborah Reid, who put together the collection of work created for the show by 27 local artists.
Each piece represents the artist’s perception or impression of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Themes include freedom of religion, speech and the press, the right to peaceable assembly and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
“The First Amendment is very topical now. We want to direct people toward a conversation,” said Reid, who opened a law office two years ago to specialize in helping artists and people in other creative disciplines protect their work.
A self-described lifelong painter, she started college as an art major, then changed to political science when she decided to go to law school.
“I practiced law in New York City and I didn’t have a lot of time to paint,” Reid said.
As her career in law evolved, she began to have time to return to her easel.
Reid’s contribution to the exhibit is a linoleum block print depicting phrases from the 1st Amendment. After the show, it will be used as a visual aid for her educational presentations about artists’ legal rights.
Reid has lectured about copyright law at Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida.
In addition to the exhibit, Reid also organized a panel discussion of contemporary First Amendment issues at 2 p.m. Monday at the museum.
Panelists include Melissa Ross, host of WJCT-FM’s “First Coast Connect” radio talk show; JeffriAnne Wilder, associate professor of sociology at the University of North Florida; and Stephen Durden, assistant general counsel for the City of Jacksonville.
Reid anticipates topics may include the controversy over athletes kneeling during the National Anthem and trends in freedom of speech on college campuses.
“We’ll have a scholarly discussion,” she said. “I’m expecting a legal, scholarly approach instead of a political, ‘dig in your heels’ approach.”
The exhibit will be at the museum at 101 W. 1st St. near the Florida State College at Jacksonville Downtown Campus through Feb. 27.