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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Feb. 4, 202005:20 AM EST

Public invited to help plan $600,000 to courthouse art project

The project overview presentation is Feb. 5 at Art Walk.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The public is invited to help decide how to spend more than $600,000 to install public art at the Duval County Courthouse.

In conjunction with First Wednesday Art Walk, the American Institute of Architects Jacksonville chapter and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville will host a public community engagement meeting at 5 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

“We want to find out what the public would like to see there,” said Glenn Weiss, director of the cultural council's Art in Public Places program.

In 1997, the city enacted an ordinance that requires a small percentage of the construction cost of government buildings to be set aside for selection, installation, maintenance and conservation of public art. Administered by the cultural council, the program has acquired nearly 120 public artworks and memorials in Duval County.

For the Duval County Courthouse, $619,000 is earmarked for art that will be installed on the lawn in front of the building at 501 W. Adams St.

A design charrette, a process through which volunteers from the public, working with architects and engineers, will diagram ideas for how art might be placed in the space, will be conducted 9 a.m.-noon Saturday at the Haskell Co. building at 111 Riverside Ave. in Brooklyn.

“We want the public to be there,” said Brandon Pourch, president of the AIA Jacksonville chapter and an architect at the RS&H architectural, engineering and consulting firm.

With the public’s input, the cultural council will work with the Duval County Courthouse Plaza Stakeholders Committee to establish the scope of the installation and guidelines for artists that may choose to submit proposals.

“It could be one piece or several. There could be a park and trees,” Weiss said.

The 16-member committee includes arts educators and administrators, city planning and development officials, judges and court staff.

Weiss said the committee should finish its part of the project by August, when a request for proposals from artists will be issued. The submissions will be reviewed and one will be selected.

“Then we'll want to have it blessed by the court and by the mayor’s office,” Weiss said.

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