The Cultural Council decided to have its annual awards dinner at the Laura Trio property popularly called The Marble Bank this year. Normally the event is at the Times Union Center and it is a struggle to sell all the tickets. This year, amidst new directions, new leadership and a powerful new board coalition, the Marble Bank event sold completely out and would be attendees have been resorting to medieval threats to score tickets. MetroJacksonville was on hand to bring you inside shots before the party!
Lisa Goodrich, the chairperson of the Arts Awards Event Committee and Steve Atkins, the owner of the Laura Trio bank in which it is being hosted.
In the year following the departure of long time Cultural Council Director Bob White, the Board itself has stepped up its involvement in the events and direction of the organization. Led by the very visionary and gracious Diane Kilpatrick Brunet-Garcia and Lisa Goodrich (the extremely dynamic host of this years Arts Awards Committee) this year has taken a turn towards serious recognition of the local cultural scene and getting back to the basics of an urban based arts organization.
The decision to move the event out of the SMG managed facility in which it has been traditionally held is a pretty good indicator of the new vibe of the organization. But people were delighted and surprised to find out that the event would take place in the abandoned interior of the iconic Marble Bank Building downtown.
Steve Atkins, a longtime friend of metrojacksonville and one of the guys who managed to keep a vision for downtown alive during the disastrous market of the past five years opened the bank to Lisa and the grand old structure has been the site of a hell of a lot of cleanup and ready making in anticipation of the event.
The result was also a dramatic departure from the level of enthusiasm for the event in past years. Incredibly, it sold out within weeks leaving long time attendees astonished that there were no tickets available to be had.
But the unorthodox (and infinitely more appropriate) choice of location was only the beginning of the changes for the traditional 'take no risks' approach to the annual ceremony.
This year, instead of shying away from making substantive statements about art, the event itself will be making its own substantive statement by asking Chip Southworth to provide the massive art installation on either side of the column lined entrance to the Dinner and Ceremony. As many on MJ are aware, Chip recently fell victim to an out of control anti street art group and was arrested for his work. Tonight, it will be on display where, legitimately, it should be.
The inside is full of amazing details and to the trained historic preservationist eye will tell a lot of its own narrative, so enjoy the photos.
Here is a list of tonights winners:
Shirley Sacks Arts Educator
Cookie Davis Robert Arleigh White Award for Art Advocacy.
Dolf James Art Innovator
Dan and Cindy Edelman Art Collectors Award
Jim Winston Art Philanthropist
Special Award Lifetime Achievement Award
Helen was one of the founders of the original Arts Assembly, the organizational precursor to the Cultural Council.
This year, both the Arts Award Committee and the Event Committee were chaired by Lisa Goodrich
This year, the Arts Award Committee has chosen the work of Chip Southworth to adorn both sides of the entrance to the event. Chip made headlines when an activist riverside group hounded and arrested him for improving horrifically ugly electrical boxes installed throughout the community by the JEA. His work as 'Keith Haring's Ghost' went viral as a result.
One of Southworths giant canvasses being installed.