Plenty of public art Downtown

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  • | 12:00 p.m. October 13, 2009
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by Max Marbut

Staff Writer

Since 1997 when the City Council enacted Jacksonville’s “Art in Public Places” ordinance, three-quarters of one percent of the construction budget of every new public, municipally-funded building has been set aside to commission, install and maintain art for the public to enjoy. Since then, 27 additions have been made to the City’s public collection with installations in all parts of Duval County at public parks, branch libraries and other sites. The largest concentration of APP installations is Downtown, with 11 Art in Public Places acquisitions located in the urban core.

The program is administered by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville through an advisory committee that selects the site for an installation as well as the artist who will create the work. Cultural Council Deputy Director Amy Crane said while Jacksonville was the last major Florida city to implement a government-mandated and funded public art program, the Better Jacksonville Plan got APP off to a rousing start.

“Since 2003, Art in Public Places has resulted in $2.4 million invested in art for all of the people to enjoy,” she said.

The most recent installation was dedicated in April on the Northbank Riverwalk near The Haskell Company campus. The sculpture by Brower Hatcher is titled “Showing the Way” and is a tribute to the late Tillie Fowler, who was an attorney, a City Council president and a U.S. Representative. The project was a partnership between the City, the Cultural Council, The Haskell Company and Holland & Knight, where Fowler practiced law.

Crane said partnerships between the public and private sectors are a big part of the Art in Public Places story. A mural by abstract expressionist painter Al Held that’s exhibited on the 4th floor of the Main Library was funded by a gift from the Jacksonville Public Library Foundation. The glass sculpture “Lyrical Light” at the Times-Union Center was created by students and faculty from Jacksonville University’s College of Fine Arts and was funded by Brumos Motor Cars, Inc.

One of the most well-known pieces of public art wasn’t part of the Art in Public Places program, but a gift from the Jacksonville Track Club and the Gate River Run. “The Runner,” a life-size bronze statue of a race competitor, was dedicated on the Northbank Riverwalk near the Hyatt in 2002 to

commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Gate River Run. The statue will be getting some company next year, said Gate River Run Race Director Doug Alred.

“We always planned to commission a female companion for ‘The Runner’ and we plan to install the new statue next June,” he added.

To view all of Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places, visit To find out how your club or organization can see a presentation on the program conducted by Cultural Council staff or an Art in Public Places committee member, call 358-3600.

This glass sculpture, “Lyrical Light,” is at the Times-Union Center. It was a partnership between the City’s Art in Public Places program and Jacksonville University’s art department.

This sculpture by Larry Kirkland is titled, “Wisdom.” It’s installed on the southwest corner of the Main Library and symbolizes the building’s purpose as a place of information, knowledge and learning.

This bronze sculpture on the Northbank Riverwalk near the Hyatt was done by Derby Olloa.

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