Sculpture Walk Jax Opens at Main Street Park

August 28, 2014 2 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Jacksonville, Florida: Sculpture Walk Jax invites the public to its grand-opening guided tour to celebrate the opening of a one-year outdoor sculpture exhibition in Downtown Jacksonville’s Main Street Park and other spots throughout the urban Spark District.

WHAT: Grand Opening Guided Tour
WHEN: Friday, Sept. 12
  6 p.m.
WHERE: Main Street Park, 325 N. Main St. – Jacksonville

The event coincides with the opening kick-off of the Connection Festival, an event offering live music, food trucks, free yoga sessions, and entertainment with a focus on art, music and technology.

Sculpture Walk Jax features thirteen large-scale sculptures and three functional street furnishings in Main Street Park created by local, national and international artists for a temporary, one-year exhibition. Three additional sculptures in the walk can be found in Hemming Park, at the corner of Laura and Forsyth Streets at Regions Bank and at the Jax Chamber of Commerce. The works will be available for purchase in the hopes that a permanent installation can be arranged for each piece. The project is funded by private dollars through a Spark Grant from the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. Sculpture Walk Jax is one of four inaugural recipients selected in 2013 to activate the Spark District, a Cultural Council initiative to spur economic development in the urban core through accessible arts and cultural experiences.

The project’s producer and curator, Jenny Hager, is an associate professor of sculpture at the University of North Florida. “My hope is to bring vibrancy to Main Street Park and the Spark District,” Hager said. “I want to bring downtown to life with culture. It would be wonderful to see people in the park doing yoga daily, having a picnic or walking their dogs, right alongside the sculptures. When the one year exhibition comes to a close, I'd like to see these works have permanent homes in the downtown area.”

Local, regional and international art will be featured in the exhibition. Listed alphabetically, the following artists’ work will be displayed in Main Street Park:

"Intersection Aluminum" by Robert Coon

Robert Coon (Vero Beach)
Jenny Hager (Jacksonville)
Sherry Hill (Jacksonville)
Hanna Jubran (Grimesville, N.C.)
Jason Lake (Orlando)
Aisling Millar (Jacksonville)
Susanne Roewer (Germany)
Melissa Russell (Jacksonville)
Andrew Smith (Oxford, Miss.)
Durant Thompson (Oxford, Miss.)
Lance Vickery (Jacksonville)
Brett Waller (Jacksonville)
Joni Younkins-Herzog (Sarasota)
The sculptural benches and bike racks were made by the following artists:

Jenny Hager – sculptural bench (Jacksonville)
David Main – sculptural bench (Jacksonville)
Lance Vickery – sculptural bike rack (Jacksonville)

“I modeled this program on Knoxville’s Art in Public Places program,” Hager said. “They have a beautiful park, great restaurants and great market days. It is in an area of their Downtown that was once blighted and is now very energetic and fun to visit. I’m hoping this will be great for Jacksonville’s Spark District, igniting the same kind of energy.”

"Opposing Forces" by Hanna Jubran

Sculpture Walk Jax will celebrate its grand opening the entire weekend of Sept. 12, kicking off with a guided tour beginning at 6 p.m. that Friday. The opening coincides with the Connection Festival, which will have live music, yoga sessions, food trucks and art.

“My hope is that Jacksonville will really embrace these sculptures,” Hager said. “I hope people will picnic in the park, do yoga alongside the sculptures, or walk their dogs at Main Street Park.”

New York artist Marsha Pels juried the Sculpture Walk Jax submissions. Pels will also hold a free lecture at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13. The lecture will be held in the museum’s auditorium. Limited seating is available.

In addition to receiving a Spark District Grant, Sculpture Walk Jax is also supported by A & K Machine and Fabrication, Atlantic Powder Coating, Auld & White, Connection Festival, Harbinger, Jax Chamber, JaxParks, Pedroni’s Cast Stone, Preston H. Haskell, Regions Bank, UNF Department of Art & Design and members of the community.

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The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville champions the appreciation, relevance and expression of art and culture. The Council stewards the City of Jacksonville’s annual appropriation to the arts, contributes to economic vitality through art and culture initiatives, and leads advocacy efforts to demonstrate the impact and significance of culture in the community. The Cultural Council is sponsored in part by the City of Jacksonville, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

About Jenny Hager
 Jenny Hager is an Associate Professor of Sculpture at the University of North Florida, where she has been teaching for eight years. She received her MFA in Sculpture and Digital Media from San Jose State University in San Jose, CA. She also holds a BA in Art Education and a BFA in Art Studio from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY. Interested in a variety of processes and materials, including steel, cast iron, post-it notes, video, wood, digital photography and found objects, she finds inspiration in dreams, objects from her childhood, gadgets, sea life and other curiosities. She is also very interested in collaboration; the spirit of community important in both her teaching practice and in her own work.

Hager’s cast iron work has been exhibited across the country and recently in the Cymru Ironstone Castle Exhibition in Wales. Flight Lab, a video installation has traveled to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans and York College, Pennsylvania. A collaborative work completed with her husband, Lance Vickery, Three Clouds, was recently on exhibit at the Knoxville, TN airport for the Art in Public Places exhibition.

Hager’s other recent projects involve large-scale parade animals inspired by the Chinese zodiac and infused with a personal narrative. The first in the series was a 20 ft. tall horse, titled “Trojan Horse,” a collaboration with colleague Emily Arthur. The second was a rat, which was featured at MOCA for the One Spark crowd-funding festival. The third piece, an ox, will be created at Josephine Sculpture Park in Frankfort, KY in July. Once all twelve characters are created, she plans to have an art parade, along with other artists and musicians, in Jacksonville. This summer, Hager will travel to Latvia to peform “Flight of the Phoenix” at the 7th International Conference for Contemporary Cast Iron.