Public Art For Brooklyn Neighborhood

February 18, 2015 4 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Artist David Nackashi commissioned to create public art in Brooklyn that lays foundation for developing a sense of place for emerging neighborhood by celebrating its cultural and historical context.

The Jacksonville Traction Company's trolley barn on Riverside Avenue (demolished for the construction of the current Acosta Bridge ramps). The power house and maintenance facility of the Skyway now reside on a portion of this site

Connectivity to Brooklyn was further enhanced by the opening of the Myrtle Avenue underpass in 1909 and the Lee Street Viaduct in 1921. The Lee Street Viaduct led to a particularly distinct change in character to Brooklyn's built environment. Designed to help relieve congestion on the Riverside Viaduct, the underpass and viaduct stimulated commercial and industrial development along Myrtle Avenue and Park Street.

The "Brooklyn Bridge" has been rebuilt several times and is now the Riverside Viaduct, courtesy Wayne Wood

The Myrtle Avenue Subway. Streetcars once traveled down the middle of this street to access the streetcar suburbs of Brooklyn, North Riverside and Lackawanna.

The Lee Street Viaduct was built to provide a connection over the railroad tracts serving Union Terminal, what is now the Prime F Osborn III Convention Center.

What Role Does Public Art Play In A Neighborhood's Redevelopment?

"Public art projects in both the public and private sector can transform neighborhoods when tied directly to physical infrastructure developments. Murals and facade enhancements, particularly in Jacksonville, are already changing the perception of the role artists can play in shaping a city," says Christie Holechek, Director of the City of Jacksonville's Art in Public Places Program.

The physical assets of Brooklyn will always exist in a state of change, which is why re-purposing the neighborhood's physical forms and constructing quality public space are crucial in maintaining Brooklyn's unique place in Jacksonville's future. Public art is most powerful when it can reinforce a community’s underlying narrative while celebrating the oftentimes conflicting nature of the neighborhood’s past, present and future.

While Brooklyn’s physical and social form has changed over the last century, there is no doubt that the neighborhood is and has always been a critical cultural, economic, and social connection between downtown, Mixon Town and Riverside. Public art can thereby play a vital roll in facilitating the type of creative dialogue that ensures Brooklyn's future does not evolve at the peril of its past.

“Brooklyn Station is such a special project for us in such a vibrant and expanding part of Jacksonville. We wanted people to literally see the history and culture that inspired so much of the center, and now they will be able to experience an aspect that makes this place so unique. This mural project is the first of a couple surprises that we have planned for the center, and we’re excited to see the community’s reaction as these additions unfold throughout the development process.” notes Eric Davidson, Communications Manager for Regency Centers.


Artist David Nackashi prepping  the surface in preparation for mural installation

Brooklyn Station on Riverside is a 50,148 square foot retail center serving the emerging Brooklyn neighborhood located in between downtown and Riverside. The shopping center is a joint venture between Jacksonville-based Regency Centers and Atlanta-based Fuqua Development. Wingard Creative serves as the creative partner with Regency Centers for the Brooklyn Station on Riverside development.

Article by Mike Field and Ennis Davis

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