Friday, August 10, 2007

Art in Public Places--Public Art Workshop

A free workshop describing the public art process will be held at the Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum on September 8 from 1-3pm. The workshop is for artists as well as those interested in learning more about the public art field. The artist Susan Cooper will specifically address the unique concerns of public art.

Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum Braided with PUBLIC Art

A new public artwork entitled LaVilla Braid has been installed at the Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum at 829 North Davis Street, as part of Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places Program. LaVilla Braid will be dedicated on Saturday, September 8 at 7pm. The Colorado-based artist, Susan Cooper will lead a nighttime tour showcasing the complete installation.

LaVilla Braid is Cooper’s visual interpretation of LaVilla’s history and culture in a multi-media art installation. The work is composed of three separate “braids” named for their locations at the site: the pedestrian braid, the motorist braid, and the community braid. Eight colorful, aluminum, wall-mounted sculptures, are the “pedestrian braids” (pictured). They represent film, music, art, the St. John’s River (from left to right), and will flank the entrance at the northwest corner of the facility.

The motorist braid, a sculpture made from woven, colored LED light tubes, will wrap around the southwest corner of the building (pictured). The community braid, an installation of crisscrossed lights, will be projected onto the top level of the building, displaying a braided pattern of lights viewable from a considerable distance (pictured).

Cooper writes, “My work is strongly site specific ranging from murals to freestanding sculpture.” The artist has installed public works throughout Colorado, including the Regional Transportation District, City and County Building, Denver Public Library, and the Kaiser Permanente Rocky Creek Building in Lafayette, Colorado. Steel, concrete, wood, oil and acrylic paints, ceramics, glass, and light are some of the materials Cooper uses in her work. Regardless of location or materials, Cooper creates work to enhance the community and to, “stimulate the mind, attract the eye, and uplift life in Jacksonville.”

Susan Cooper integrates history and culture in her work. For example, her piece entitled “Recollection” is a 100-foot-long wall sculpture representing the Polish synagogues destroyed during World War II. For LaVilla Braid, Cooper was inspired by MaVynee Betsch, better known as the “Beach Lady,” who worked for over 30 years to preserve American Beach, the community founded by her great-grandfather, A.L. Lewis. Like Betsch’s complex braided hairstyle, Cooper weaves metal, color, and light to reflect the Beach Lady’s intertwining of history, culture, and philosophy.

To learn more about Susan Cooper’s work, visit

Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places Program (APPP) uses designated funds from city construction and renovation projects to purchase works of public art to display in the community. The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville administers the APPP on behalf of the City of Jacksonville. For more information, contact Allison Graff at 904.358.3600.


Jaime Verde said...

Thanks for passing this along!

Byron said...


Glad to have you posting.

I really think public works are the best way to reach the public and educate them about new art.

If it's in their space and the see and live with it everyday it can't help but make them think. I think.

Or not.

Sounds like fun though. Please post about this again when it gets closer so I don't miss it.


Pedestrian Projects said...

allison, sorry i missed you when you came to my company (quality sign)...............i hear the project was very fun!!

looks great in these pictures........can i get some copies of those? everyone was so excited to work with you and susan. looking forward to meeting you!!

steve williams