Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center Opening
On September 12th, 2018, the new Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center opened it’s doors for it’s first reception - and with Ryan Ali having something to do with it, you know opera singers, ballerinas, jazz musicians, and yoga were just the smallest touches seen throughout the night. This is the first time I’ve seen a medical center that resembled more of an upscale gallery than anything else. There is exquisite art work found across every floor of the building, and most produced by our very own Jacksonville talent. To top it off, the event was of course catered by Moxie - headed by the incomparable Chef Tom Gray.
Bravo to the team behind the night!
State of the Arts - 2018
The annual State of the Arts held by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville took place on September 13th, 2018 at The Cathedral District in Downtown Jacksonville. Hundreds of thought provoking conversations happened throughout a full day of events, with a multitude of breakout sessions discussing everything from tourism in the city, to gentrification and how public art can be used to engage a community, and not overwrite it.
The keynote speaker this year was Barbara Goldstein. Not just her own art work that engages with a community, but even mentioning examples I have never heard of like the Conflict Kitchen in Pittsburgh, that only serves food from countries the United States is in conflict with. Where community members can come and sit and talk to local people (ex. from Palestine) and break bread and actually listen to their stories.
This was also Patrick Fisher and Tony Allegretti’s last State of the Arts events, and will surely be missed in the future ones to come.
Niki Dawson Album Release
Hosted by Yhang Quintero in Riverside, Niki Dawson's album, Janus Killed Hera, finally came out and we had the absolute pleasure of hearing her perform it live! INCREDIBLY dope voice and stage presence, and just an overall energy when she steps into a room. If you're an r&b / soul fan, I couldn't recommend it enough. As she started her second song, I already pulled out my phone and saved the album.
Not to mention, one of my favorite bands, Stank Sauce, opened up and DJ Mas Appeal was spinning all night throughout the sets. Dos Vatos Tacos was set up and serving tacos all night (the jackfruit with the guava hot sauce was the winner for me). Manifest Distilling and Marlyn & Barrel kept the thirst quenched as well.
Overall - an incredibly dope party that brought some of my favorite Jacksonville creatives together for a night - many who were just now being introduced to Niki Dawson. Bravo!
To hear the album on Spotify >> link
Duvalfolx - Vol 1
Duvalfolx : First party of it's kind brought to you by Geexella. Directly from the DJ herself :: "I want to have a dance party. NO CHECK IT A REAL DANCE PARTY. I want you to be free. I want you to have fun. I want NO TRANSPHOBIA. NO HOMOPHOBIA. Ask people for pronouns. Don’t bother or TOUCH folx that wanna be left alone. Let’s JUST DANCE!"
I STRONGLY suggest you follow them for volume 2 - because this was like entering into a movie scene. BRAVO!
The annual 4th of July cookout that takes place at Restaurant Orsay was the perfect Independence Day afternoon preluding to the fireworks show in downtown. Hundreds of people, live music, unlimited food and signature cocktails and beer by Intuition! Good vibes and diverse crowds!
The 42nd Annual Arts Awards by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville happened on 5/5/18 at the Everbank Field! We saluted artists / patrons / and admirers from the city and really showcased how much value the arts bring to the community.
Absolutely beautiful event with The Chris Thomas band playing on the inside (for the after party) and Geexella and Willie Evans Jr. DJing on the outside! Light projections, food, dancing, positive energy flowed throughout the night!
The annual Jacksonville Public Art Week happened on April 1st - 7th!
The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville brought me along to document as many events as I could and these are the highlights of my favorite images throughout the week!
From walking public art tours throughout downtown, Phoenix Arts District and with Art Republic, to kids/community mural and mosaic projects all across the eastside & northside, Downtown Jacksonville Art Walk and wrapping it up with a celebration in Hemming Park.
We have such a long way to go, but I am incredibly proud of the different people and organizations in the Jacksonville creative / cultural scene are doing to improve and beautify the city!
Always remember "Only the boring get bored"! Get out and get involved!
On Saturday (24th), the main two attractions were the Bobby K fashion show and a dance party following immediately after! (which - both were full of energy and just a badass impression on the city!). Bobby has a shop in Murray Hill (Bobbyk Boutique) that has the FRESHEST take on a boutique in the city.
Dozens of muralists (mainly from Northeast Florida) have been working on these INCREDIBLE murals surrounding the warehouses and many of them were there on Sunday (25th) working on the walls! Sunday was a community block party and invited out families and their pets to enjoy watching the process of the artists, while also shopping with local vendors that were set up in the main alley in between the two main warehouses.
Funds collected are being used to continue developing a community event space, cafe, restaurant, gallery, live/work artist studios, workshops, and classes for all ages in varying art forms. I've posted about it several times over the past 1-2 years, and the amount of progress that has happened so far is REMARKABLE! For more information, the link to Phoenix is in the second paragraph above!
"Color Me Kona : The World's Largest Coloring Book Party" took place on Nov 18th, 2017 at Kona Skatepark (the world's oldest operating skatepark) . The event is exactly what it sounds like - a MASSIVE coloring party at Kona Skatepark. The founder of the organization, Nicole Holderbraum, uses this event as a fundraiser to the Jax Kid's Mural Project so that the program can continue to serve Title 1 schools and underprivileged youth in Jacksonville. The admission was "pay what you can" or donating 2 or more children's books, which would be given as gifts to the children who work with the organization.
Of all the events I've been to this year, this is EASILY in the top 3 things to do in Jacksonville. I hope that next year when you see it come up again, that you strongly consider going. It's colorful, energetic, diverse, inclusive, and just an absolute place of happiness. The entire park had a Neverland effect and allowed you to escape reality, even for just a few hours.
For ways to get involved with the organization or to volunteer at future events, please join this Facebook >> page <<
Art Republic was back for their second year in Jacksonville and I had a chance to document the two weeks of activities with them! Most people learned about AR over the past year because of the dozen or so murals that came up around the urban core. This year continued, not just with mural installations, but with a techism piece, a fashion show, and a lecture series.
The most fascinating part was really the interactions between the artists and the residents of Jacksonville. Learning their background stories as artists, as well as how they drew conclusions on what they would leave as a permanent impression on Jacksonville and how much thought went into choosing everything from the colors to the placement. Many of the artists, that had time left over, explored Jacksonville and dove into the history of Northeast Florida vowing to make this an annual trip.
A huge thank you goes to Jessica Santiago and the AR team for making this happen, as well as the artists I personally had a chance to talk to from the techism piece : Krista Kim, Miguel Chevalier, Fabian Forban, and REO, and the fashion show : Alex Vinash (designer)
* To note - These are not all the images, but a narrowed down version of a few per event. These are also not images not of the murals, which are finishing up now. There will be a separate post with pictures / addresses of those *
I'm just here to remind you that the theory that being in Jacksonville equates to boredom is absolutely false. "Only the boring get bored"
Just one Saturday night 10/21/17 consisted of :
- Bobby K opened his new boutique in Murray Hill - which is EXQUISITE! The pieces he chose to carry in the store are local or directly from designers in the country. It's literally the store that I've been waiting for to hit Jacksonville. If Urban Outfitters was authentic - THIS would be it.
- Malcolm Jackson + team closed off their show at Space 42, "Candy : Land of Donks" and the turnout was amazing! It's always refreshing seeing mixtures of generations under the same roof with the common denominator being art! If you missed the opening, there were two new donks in the space and the energy and music was ON all night!
- Dustin Harewood + Hiromi Moneyhun 's show was at Bold Bean on Hendricks and seemed to be the meeting place and the start of everyone's night. Dustin + Hiromi are easily one of the favorites in Jacksonville, across the board, and the turnout was proof.
All images by Toni Smailagic
Bellwether's soft opening was nothing short of spectacular! In the gorgeous 100 N Laura building in downtown (which some of you may remember from the Jacksonville Magazine party that was held there last year). From the same group of people that brought us Black Sheep, Orsay, and BLK SHP at Intuition Ale - the consistency in quality was expected, and delivered. The happy hour is bound to be one of the best in downtown, and having an outside patio area, it's a guarantee that you'll be catching us here on the regular this summer.
An amendment to extend Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance to include the lesbian, gay, bi and transgender community passed City Council by a vote of 12 - 6 at its Tuesday night meeting. Mayor Lenny Curry returned the bill without signing it or vetoing it, making it law.