Cultural Council launches ARTSee & Shop at St. Johns Town Center

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The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville is responsible for many of the public art displays around Jacksonville and The Beaches, including the new light display on the Water Street parking garage in downtown Jacksonville, but it also assists the North Florida arts and culture scene in many other ways.

Following the belief that everyone benefits from access to arts and culture, the Cultural Council has recently launched its second annual ARTSee & Shop at a gallery located in the St. John’s Town Center.

The gallery, which opened to the public on Nov. 7, is home to artwork and installations from over 60 local artists. All artwork inside the gallery is for sale, and 65% of the proceeds go directly back to the artists themselves.

On the walls of the gallery guests will see hundreds of paintings and photography pieces. The gallery showcases dozens of unique installations, such as a collaboration with the University of North Florida’s LGBTQ Resource Center. In this particular installation guests have the opportunity to walk into “closets,” wherein they will find a mirror and informational brochures plastered to the walls detailing what it means to be a member of the LGBTQ community and allowing a moment of self-reflection.

Diana Donovan, Executive Director of the office of the president, was passionate about making art readily available for the public.

“Art needs to be accessible,” Donovan said, explaining that the ARTSee & Shop gallery is an entirely unique experience, different from touring a museum or a regular art gallery. Here, the gallery is immersive and the pieces are still available for purchase.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 22,644 people in the arts have been displaced, losing roughly $235 million.

“People do not realize that for artists, this is their livelihood,” said Donovan. “It puts food on their tables.”

The Council’s website dedicates an entire page to resources for displaced artists, helping them find ways to make ends meet in these difficult times. Another way the Council set out to help was by opening the ARTSee & Shop gallery, employing artists to both contribute art pieces and work the store.

At the gallery, masks and social distancing are required while inside, but the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville invites guests to visit and explore the multitude of beautiful artworks on display, or participate in one of their many programs/workshops offered at the gallery throughout the month of December.

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