Private Grant-Funded Public Art Placemaking in Jacksonville

Our chapter recently refocused our chapter goals to start with a laser-like focus on North Florida, since that is where our chapter co-chairs live and have the most influence. Our plan is to build up the presence and voice of the experiential design community in this area to start a groundswell of interest that we hope to see ripple out through the rest of Florida. (pictured: Spirit of '76 by Brett Waller)


SEGD Florida Chapter Meeting

At our initial July 31st chapter meeting on the Southbank of downtown Jacksonville, we convened members from Orlando to Jacksonville to discuss a number of things, including the logistics of how and where we would like to see SEGD really make a mark in our community in 2014. The consensus was that our first mission needs to be to establish our presence and seek out peers committed to better design in the community.

Where better to look for peers than to celebrate some of the city’s better programs and rally behind what it appears to be doing right? On August 28th, downtown Jacksonville’s Main Street Park was transformed with a large-scale art exhibition called Sculpture Walk Jax. We love this place-making exhibition so much that we decided we should start by celebrating Jacksonville’s public art collection.


Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places Collection

We reached out to Christie Holechek, the Director of the Art in Public Places Program for the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. She manages the Art in Public Places collection for Jacksonville and we asked her for the low-down on what Jacksonville has for public art, what are some of it’s plans, and where does it need the most help.


Sculpture Walk Jacksonville

Featuring 13 large-scale sculptures and 3 functional street furnishings created by local, national and international artists, this 1-year exhibition includes pieces in Main Street Park, Hemming Park, at the corner of Laura and Forsyth Streets, and at the Jax Chamber of Commerce. The project was curated by Jenny Hager, an associate professor of sculpture at the University of North Florida, and juried by Brooklyn, NY artist Marsha Pels.

“Public art has the ability to breathe new life into an underutilized environment,” Hager said. “It creates a sense of place and serves as a visual landmark. The sculptures attract people, and the people make the place more friendly,” said Jenny Hager of the project on

 Artists included in this project:

  • 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)

Also included in this program are sculptural benches by Jacksonville artists Jenny Hager and David Main and bike racks by Lance Vickery. 

Other Public Art Projects in the Works

Sculpture Walk Jax is one of four private grant-funded projects planned to spur economic development in the urban core through accessible arts and cultural experiences. The others include a mural project, a street-level art project, and a utility box beautification project. In addition to these, the Art in Public Places program has a couple larger projects still accepting submissions.

For more information, visit


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