The mural is officially off the ground and in progress, y'all!!!
All these months of hard work are finally coming into fruition on the walls outside the Knopf Book Bindery at 1817 Florida Avenue in Springfield, thanks to the building owner, Cheyenne Knopf Williams, and a few other SUPER DUPER awesome folks you can read about in this post too!!!
It all started on a sunny November Saturday when I met the super helpful network master, Patrick Fischer, from the Cultural Council ( www.culturalcouncil.org/ ) who gave me Cheyenne William's contact info to ask if we could use her family's building as our JWJ mosaic canvas ...
Now, fast forward to February, when she, myself, and the incredibly talented Nadia Ramotaur ( www.freemymojo.com/ ) who has taken on the role of Creative Director for the project, are meeting in an office with a mutually ambitious vision for a real life mixed media mural!
First, we came up with a theme (space travel/ mission to mars/ DREAM BIG), and I invited a few rock star Artists from JWJ to create the design for the mural. Working together as a team with such lovely talented humans has really snow balled into something beautifully collaborative, inspiring, and so so so exciting!!! Cheyenne and her husband, Karl, are quite versed in things outer space and even belong to a telescope club through MOSH ( themosh.org/explore/planetarium/ ) She got real excited about doing a cosmic theme because they had recently heard rumors of a local Jacksonville girl, Taylor Richardson, a motivated student from the Bolles School, who is a space enthusiast with a goal to be on the first mission to mars, holy cow, right! Check this little lady out!
Nadia and I agreed on the outer space theme because, as Artists, we also made the connection between Arts and the cosmos. We are all living on this same planet together, and with the recent issues around separation that seem to be spreading throughout and dividing our country, it makes so much more sense to create a project where we can all come together as ONE whole;
As ONE teeny tiny part of an immensely vast universe.
And what better way to make that happen than by creating a collaborative, community seeped ART project that EVERYONE can see ... for FREE! (And forever!)
Things are happening.
Okay, okay, okay, so, because I don't want to ramble on too much here, I am attaching a copy of our first and second press releases down at the bottom of the post, along with a link to our gofundme page so y'all can read more about the nuts and bolts of the project there if you want to .........
(and I really think you should!)
About the LOCATION:
Springfield is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Jacksonville, and quickly becoming one of the most creative, colorful, hip, and exciting ones our city has to boast. Just to name a few of the incredible creative organizations in the neighborhood, we have the Phoenix Arts District ( www.phoenixartsdistrict.com/ ), Cork Arts District ( corkartsdistrict.com/ ), Roux Art Studios ( rouxartmosaicmixedmedia.com/ ), and that's not even mentioning Porch Fest ( www.jacksonvilleporchfest.org/ ), new breweries, restaraunts, music venues, and SOO much more.
If you guys haven't been yet, the time is NOW, go check out all the magic happening over there :) :) :)
Our first few design team meetings were at a round table tossing ideas and creative visions on poster board as rough drafts.
About the PEOPLE:
Ryan McNair- An essential part of our design and installation team. He is an innovative wood working Artist and master gardener based out of St. Augustine. He plans to incorporate environmental elements such as planters, flowers, succulents, and other earth based features into our mixed media mural!!!
Dr. Nadia Ramotaur- an all around contemporary Renaissance woman, who facilitates projects of this sort all the time, while constantly creating and exhibiting her own work on the side, and publishing books, and directing movies, and ... YEAH, you get the picture!
Mahima Kedlaya- James Weldon Johnson School Ambassador for magnet tours, Writer of the JWJ Yearbook Club, Member of the National Junior Honor Society, Ripples Volunteer for HSNEF (Hindu Society of North East Florida), Choreographer for a musical in a community fundraiser Sai Tarang (2017), Bollywood group dance performer since 2009, Group and Solo classical singer for the last nine years, former member of the JWJ swim team, black belt in Taekwondo --yeah, no big deal --- AND a most responsible, loving sister and daughter. BOOM!
Camden Pao- JWJ Soccer Team and all
conference player 2018, JWJ Lacrosse Club, National Junior Honor Society member and Magnet Tour Ambassador, recipient of the 7th grade class award for Language Arts AND Science, JAYFC ECNL Travel Soccer Team, LEGO Robotics Team, STEM summer camp counselor at Hendricks Elementary, Chets Creek Church, has climbed the Great Wall of China, fed pandas in Chengdu, rode the London Eye, been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, witnessed the solar eclipse in Charleston, realized how small and magnificent the “Mona Lisa” is in the Louvre, appreciated the eccentricity of the masterpieces of Salvador Dali, and saw Munch’s “The Scream” in NYC’s MoMa.
Ciera Frazier- A super star Artist and 6th grader at JWJ, former participant in Robotics for Kids during 4th and 5th grade, Musician in the Cathedral Arts Program performing percussion, as well as piano, and recorder, master portrait Artist, member of JWJ dance ensemble, and probable 6th grade award for Art, ha!
So ......... y'all get it by now, right??!?!
These kids are AMAZZZZZZZZZING!!!
Roosevelt Watson III- Master Artist and the portrait painter for our wall. He may the biggest deal of us all, so I don't even feel that I need to introduce him, but just for newbie purposes, Roosevelt is a cery established Jacksonville Artist who has exhibited in hundreds of shows and his work is always soaked in symbolism, meaning, passion, and his cultural roots, and you can even check some of it out until mid April at the Ritz Museum downtown ( www.ritzjacksonville.com/ ).
More on his contributions to come!!!
Scotty Briggs- Artist of all trades, and master letter painter who is gracing us with our logo!!! He has been working, creating and aesthetically ‘better-ing’ the Jacksonville area for over ten years. His work is bold, colorful, fun, and masterfully executed in a contemporary style that is all his own. Scotty is the director of The Elbow's monthly ArtWalk ( theelbowjax.com/ ) and is constantly networking with other street Artists to promote a collaborative Art scene in Jacksonville.
After finalizing our design, we laid out large rolls of paper to make a drawing to scale.
I've been collecting tiles from pool companies, flooring companies, friends who work construction jobs, flea markets, warehouse dumpsters, you name it. So, one of the crucial jobs before actually getting out to the wall site was sorting through tons and tons and TONS of different tiles.
We solicited helpers of all ages for this job ... Thank you Akhil, for being such a great organizer!
Once most of the tiles were sorted into bins and boxes of their like, a few Artists (including our very own Ms. Pierre!) laid out galactic cosmic swirly twirly designs on board so we could transfer them outside onto the wall. (And YES, "swirly twirly" is now an official term. Say it!)
Nadia and myself placed the first official tile onto the wall on Saturday, March 10th and our goal is to be completed by April 10th, which is also my birthday, and I could not ask for a better present!!!
As mentioned above, I am posting links to our press releases below. If you haven't read enough great stuff about the project YET, please take two more minutes and digest these shorts as well!
Thank you so so much to all of y'all, and if you like gettin messy and creative yourself, please come out and pitch in and play a tiny role in a monumental project. Let's get all Artsy and DREAM BIG!!!