After 10 years in offices at Southpoint, Cathedral Arts Project has signed a lease in the Elks Building along Laura Street Downtown. The organization plans to be in its new headquarters by Dec. 1.
“There is no shortage of space Downtown, but we wanted to be in a beautiful building that has some history,” said Cathedral Arts project Executive Director Kimberly Hyatt. “And we’ll be in the center of Jacksonville’s arts and culture.”
The organization has leased nearly 8,000 square feet of space on the third floor of the historic building that opened in 1926 as the home for the oldest Elks lodge in Florida. The Elks Club occupied the top two floors with retail space on the ground floor at one of Jacksonville’s first mixed-use locations.
Cathedral Arts Project was established in 1993 at St. John’s Cathedral. The organization provides after-school instruction in performing and visual arts to underserved students in Northeast Florida.
Supporting that effort is the main reason for the move to within walking distance of the Main Library, Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, Florida Theatre and other venues, Hyatt said. The new private management plan for Hemming Park with an emphasis on arts and entertainment also was an incentive.
“To help with our mission for every child to have access to cultural education, we needed to be closer to our partners,” she said. “There is just so much energy Downtown right now.”
The new space is more than double the size of the Southpoint location. In addition to accommodating the 12-member full-time administrative staff and space for faculty meetings, the Elks Building has a large conference room and areas that will become two art galleries.
One will exhibit art created by students in the program; the other will display work by Jacksonville-based artists on a rotating basis.
Hyatt said the balcony along Laura Street will become a stage for performances during Art Walk and other Downtown events such as One Spark, establishing another arts venue in the urban core.
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches also has leased space in the building and plans to open at Adams and Laura streets by January.