Sunday, May 6, 2007


How many different art circles are there in Jacksonville? Why can't there be one circle?


Anonymous said...

I believe that people usually start their own groups or circles because of likeness.
Like attracts like. Then afterwards there is a sense of identity associating with
that group. Not unlike gang mentality. The problem is that Jacksonville is a small
city and needs unity in it's art scene. There's more unity is larger cities I believe.
In a larger city artists don't seem to be as territorial. Not sure why?

Mark Creegan said...

I have actually observed cliques and circles in bigger citeies too. Its just that there are so many more creative types so larger circles of like minds can gather and make things happen.

I actually dont mind different groups with different interests and artistic goals. Just as long as the ones with the purse strings and influence over the cultural direction (ie Cultural Council) realize there is stregnth in diversity. In other words dont give ALL the space and ALL the avail dollars to just one group. Spread the love.

Anonymous said...

Good point Mark.

After all cities are just many villages connected, correct?

Why would the mentality change?

It is human nature to try and develop a group identity.

So in regards to funding, the ones with the money would fund thier group? That's human nature also?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Circles, or sort of, anyway -
Am I missing links to other arts blogs in this area on the main JaxCal Page? Blog from the Center does a good job linking to other resorces:

Just a thought! You may want to add links? : )

Is this blog done with the Wednesday/Friday/Friday/Wednesday ArtWalk debate? I think this city can handle 2 events downtown a month. I vote both - make Friday a MusicWalk or MuseWalk with art?

Jax CAL said...

The Art Center is great for what it is, but I don't think the work there is contemporary and don't see it developing contemporary arts and culture in Jax.

I believe there is a place for everything though. And it's hard being an artist.

I do wish there was something like the Arts Center but for contemporary work. I'm not seeing any contemporary work coming out of the Arts Center other than Brian Greys work.

I don't think P.Rashid's work is contemporary. Does anyone else have any comments on P.Rashid's work? I believe contemporary is NEW. Even if the artist isn't aware of it being new.

Not to say that contemporary work is the only type of work to make, but wish there was more of it, especially in a spot like The Arts Center.

Everyone here is a contributor though and can add links if they'd like. Just haven't had much participation yet.

Thanks for the input.

Anonymous said...

I do find it sort of sad that The Arts Center
is in the center. The location is so appropriate
for being used as a beacon for Jacksonville contemporary
arts. I would think that a lot of outside visitors seeing
that work would get the wrong idea about contemporary
arts in Jacksonville. If that space was curated as a
gallery for contemporary local artists it really could
be a catalyst for change for Jax. Instead the quality
of work showing there is not unlike what you would see
at an Arts & Crafts festival. Everything has it's place.
And they've found a great spot.

The same goes for the Laura Street gallery.
I can see why many people don't think there is real cutting
edge work here, because the majority of work that is shown
is something you could see circa 1950s Abstract Expressionism or at an arts festival.

I think all the contemporary artists seeing this are encouraged to
hide out or try and show in other cities. Not sure why real contemporary
artists can't find a space such as that?

Zac Freeman said...

Why don't we curate a show ourselves of local contemporary art? It seems we have migrated to each other as artists living in Jacksonville who are very much into contemporary art (new art in the context of the history of art).

To me, this is an area that is lacking in the Jacksonville art scene. But then again, maybe it's a narrow demographic to begin with.

There are some healthy art circles going. Groups that I admire but simply don't fit. There is more opportunity to show craft, fair, or pretty-picture art than new contemporary art in Jacksonville. Again, I like that art too, but my goals don't fit that scene. Those opportunities don't do me any good.

I always thought the Spiller Vincenty Gallery was doing a great job of satisfying that niche of contemporary cutting-edge art by emerging to mid-career artists, but then they closed. The Jane Gray Gallery has the potential to be that kind of gallery too and I believe they have started in that direction, but we will have to see if that's the type of gallery they want to be.

I say we pitch the MoCa Jax (or whoever) with the idea of a local contemporary show that we curate. If we're complaining or venting of how our peers and organizations get it wrong (sometimes), than let's show them our idea of what the Jax art scene needs more of. And I'm not saying an open to all everyones art is awesome pat-on-the-back show. I mean, we meet and review work of our local artist with high-art standards and debate their qualities. The show should represent for us where Jacksonville stands in todays art. And who knows, maybe it could be an annual thing.

Jax CAL said...

I was really proud of the mix of work at the Art Open House on Saturday. A show like that would be great at JMOCA I think. Wish more folks turned out but it was just nice having a show.

Hopefully we can have more of those. Don't think we would have to show at JMOCA? But if we have shows there needs to be more participation for there to be a scene. Bogda has something going on. They have a HUGE turnout for their openings.

We need the patrons to come to the shows. seems the art partons only know about the JMOCA scene. How do we get them to come to our shows?

Check out some photos of the Art Open House work at:

Jaime Verde said...

One main cleavage between art worlds here in JAX is caused by the real social and geographical cleavage created by the Beach/City divide.

There are some great artists and venues out at the Beaches (and, I think, an audience hungry for seeing interesting things) but there exists such a block in the collective consciousness- an idea that crossing "the ditch" is problematic and not worth it. Likewise, inner city artists tend to pass off beach art as "typical Florida pretty-pitcher art of the matantee-and-flowers variety.

Jacksonville and the Beaches communities could start by crossing the proverbial tracks and joining up instead of seeing the two areas as so culturally distinct.

Most of my art students at UNF (the contemporary artists of the near future, if I have anything to do with it) live out at the beach but have little to no idea what's going down in the city.

For example, one of my 2D Design students at UNF (a talented painter) had no idea of even how to get downtown and no idea that there was a Museum of Contemporary Art there. And she is just one example.

Regardless of what day ArtWalk is on, Beach folks just don't want to come into the city, period.

The Matthews bridge clusterfuck is certainly not helping, but this is still something worth looking into. If the artists of the Beaches and artists of the City started seeing each other in the same light, there might be a chance that the right connections could be made and more creative mobility and commerce could be fostered.

Of course, with gas prices on the rise, this bridging may be made harder. Damn you, Jacksonville with your gargantuan size and your lack of good public transport!

But still, a little more solidarity between the Beach people and the townies could help things move in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

Yes but, isn't it all 'contemporary art'?

Definitions of contemporary art on the Web:

Artistic work from the present era that uses the current practices and styles of its discipline.

Generally defined as art which was produced during the second half of the twentieth century.

The term contemporary art encompasses all art being done now. It tends to include any art made from around the 1960s to the present, or after the end of the modern art period. The use of the literal adjective "contemporary" to define this period in art history is due to the lack of any recognized or dominant form or genre of art as recognized by artists or art historians and critics. ...

Anything made today is contemporary...

I'll be half of us could fall into either category.

If I want to paint a beach scene today and a little monster tomorrow I am still a contemporary artist.. and a fine artist.

Anon at work

Anonymous said...

I believe you could definitely do a beach scene and it be contemporary but it would have to be done in a way that beach scenes have never been done before.

If the said beach scene is just a beach scene that is similar to any other beach scene then it would not be contemporary. Also, just my opinion but a contemporary artist has a full understanding of art history, and where he lies on the timeline of art history. If he is referencing artists from the past it could be contemporary as long as it is making it new.

Same with painting a monster. To tell you the truth Hieronymus borsch defined contemporary for me and his work was in the late 1400s, early 1500s. His work was revolutionary and in my opinion is more contemporary than most of the work being made in Jax.

Another anon at work.

Anonymous said...

the focus of contemporary art is making something NEW.....

It has to be new and taking art in a new and different direction for me to be classified as contemporary.

In order to know what is NEW the artist needs to have a firm grounding in art history.

Zac Freeman said...

Contemporary means the soup we're in. Add a couple of hundred years and the historians can label us properly as the time of the monsters, beaches, or maybe antlers.

Even though the definition of contemporary art probably doesn't mean this, I tend to use the word to encompass the desire for your art to be critiqued on the highest stage. So if you paint a beach scene with the intentions of selling it in a coffee shop, it is a painting, it is not contemporary art.

Anonymous said...

That's an interesting point Zac. So if an artist is wanting his work to be critiqued on that stage then he or she would also need to know what type of art has come before on that stage in order to make the work for that stage? I would think.

Art history would have to become part of the artists vernacular so that the choices the artists makes are subconsciously moving the evolution of art forward? I would think.

Byron said...

contemporary art is as much about pop culture as it is art history

Mark Creegan said...

I would like to second Zac's idea about starting an annual contemporary art exhibit!! It would be good to get an outside curator from Miami or Atlanta to choose the works.

As for getting MOCA's art crowd to attend, I think if the energy put into this is of such force it cant be ignored. The working model should be the Frieze show in London in the late 80s which introduced all the YBAers, it was organized by the ol shark-pickler himself, Damien Hirst.

This show should be seen as a watershed event. It should have the buzz of "this is the new generation of Jacksonville artists (regardless of age) who are going to put Jax on the map." I know, kinda cheezy. But at least peeps should be like "oh there really ARE cutting edge artists in Jax."

Several page spread in the Folio. Interviews on local news. Lets hype it up to Art it up! I say lets shoot for local corporate sponsorship!

Any other ideas? Obviously someone other than me who can actually organize their thoughts should write the press releases!

Mark Creegan said...

Oh, and someone other than me should solicite the corporate sponsors cuz guys in suits scare the hell outa me. But I LOVE them!! (give us money please!)

Byron said...

Lets hype it up to Art it up!

I'm down with it. Where would the venue be? Should we have a call for artists first? Design a web site for it then invite a curator? When would funding come in for something like this?

Would need a venue...

maybe we should research other type events in cities of a similar size first?

that costs nothing. Maybe we could start posting our findings here?

Jaime Verde said...

I'll write the press releases. I'll also write any kind of review that needs to be written for folio. And for anyone who isn't confident that they can get their ideas in order in word form, here's my simple rule for writing things for release or publication (although I rarely stick to it for blogs and definitely didn't stick to it for createjacksonville): CUT IT IN HALF.

Whatever you write, if it's going to go in publication, write it all out and then cut the freaking thing in half. Otherwise some copy editor will do it and you'll come off sounding even more incoherent.