As the new chair of the Ponte Vedra Beaches Coalition, Lisa Johnson Cook works with representatives from the community’s homeowners’ associations to address issues of local concern. An artist who also represents the works of others through her company, Cook Fine Art, she lives in Ponte Vedra Beach with her husband, Dan, and their two sons.
Tell us about Cook Fine Art.
I established Cook Fine Art over 15 years ago and it has been an evolving business model ever since then. The website has provided me with various platforms, depending on what project I was working on at the time. When I was working for an art publishing company, I would use the site to assist with sales on the secondary market. Locally, I have represented various artists, and Cook Fine Art was a good way to showcase and market their talents. I have also posted my pottery and jewelry, with the hopes of a possible sale!
How did you first develop an interest in art?
I grew up enjoying art and it has always been a part of my life. I attended Scripps College in Claremont, California and majored in fabric design. After college, I worked at an art gallery in Santa Monica and later moved to Houston to work for an art publishing house. I then had the amazing opportunity to open an art gallery in Manhattan. The majority of my focus was sales, marketing and management, so I really learned both the wholesale and retail sides of the art business. Since my last position with art publishing, I have been more focused on supporting local artists, volunteering and wanting to create my own art. I have been making jewelry, working on clothing design and enjoying my pottery wheel and kiln. I am very excited to start an online Masters of Art program this fall and would love to eventually teach.
What brought you to the First Coast?
My husband grew up in Jacksonville and his immediate family is still local, so it was a very easy decision for us to move down here from Manhattan. We love the lifestyle that this beach community offers for a family.
What is your favorite part of living in Ponte Vedra Beach?
I love the year-round weather and the relaxed, beach lifestyle. Our beach community is comprised of locals and people from all over the U.S., and I believe this makes for a great blend. I love the beauty of the landscape and having both the ocean and the Intracoastal in our backyard.
You were recently elected chair of the Ponte Vedra Beaches Coalition. What are some of the key issues you anticipate the coalition exploring or addressing in the coming year?
I am very excited to be part of the Ponte Vedra Beaches Coalition. It was first established in 1993, and for 24 years, has been a valuable asset to our community. Founding members are still heavily involved and provide the vital foundation to build upon. I started working with the coalition when we were battling the billboard industry and their inclusion of LED digital billboards to our sign ordinance. I learned then what a wonderful group of people we had volunteering their time on our behalf. Currently, we are striving to keep our members informed of the various projects slated in our community. We are following issues such as the PV traffic study, the Oak Bridge development, the TPC development on County Road 210, the Gate/Outpost development, etc. We have also been discussing the county’s 2018 budget and the possibility of raising our sales tax for an additional revenue source. We are also considering following in Flagler’s footsteps to raise the bed tax to the 5th cent for assistance with beach/dune restoration.
How do you enjoy spending your free time?
I mostly enjoy spending time with my kids! They are growing up entirely too quickly. Free time is limited, but I do enjoy making jewelry and pottery. I volunteer at the children’s schools and various organizations in our community. And I love beach walks, but wish I was better at spotting shark’s teeth! Also on my list, I want to take my violin out of the closet and re-learn how to play!