“You don’t take a photograph. You ask quietly to borrow it.”
- Unknown -
It's been a little while since I first walked into Ana Kamiar's studio as a fresh and super green college student at Ai MIUAD in Miami, Florida, but I still remember the feeling I had - immediately knowing that this class was going to be different. I knew that Black and White Photography was going to be a welcome challenge and learning experience for me. I had developed a love for photography early on - a hobby I picked up from my father, who is not a professional photographer, but is one of those rare individuals that just "gets it". He has "the eye" and he passed that passion on to me. I was excited at the prospect of truly getting to learn about film photography - to get a grasp and understanding of the origins of capturing imagery and developing those images from start to finish. What I could not anticipate were the depths of artistic abstraction that I was in for.
It's difficult for me to write an intro about Ana Kamiar without getting personal, so I decided to stop trying. On the surface, Ana is a brilliant artist, photographer, and a phenomenal arts educator. It's just beneath the surface that you experience the profundity of the way she sees and thinks - particularly about photography. A simple assignment for the week: "photograph light". Next week - "capture shadow". The week after - "photograph mass". It's not too long before you realize that your simple assignment is challenging you to see in ways you might not have bothered to try seeing before. Anyone can take a picture of a shadow. But to thoughtfully consider a shadow? That's a different conversation. That's the beauty of Ana.
I also didn't know those years ago that I would find myself in a position to reconnect with and interview one of my favorite college educators about her art, her journey, and her inspiration. I'm honored to share my conversation with Ana Kamiar here today. I do hope you will go beyond reading these words between us and thoughtfully consider them instead.
You can meet Ana and appreciate her work at A Vision For Art opening on April 26th.
“Art expresses man”
- Shinichi Suzuki -
What happens when you mix a unique, exceptionally executed, and relatively rare artform with observational social commentary? You get Hiromi Moneyhun's upcoming exhibition Inside Out, opening on March 28th. The exhibition, running until June 27th of this year, is a commentary on the emergence of women's individuality in the face of the historically enduring struggle towards emancipation from and within overarchingly male dominated societies.
When we first spoke to Hiromi Moneyhun in December of 2016, she was rounding out a very busy year of exhibitions highlighting her extraordinary Kirie (the Japanese art of paper cutting) masterpieces. We spoke with her this week to catch up on what has changed for her since then and to learn more about this amazing new exhibition.
Tomorrow, on Saturday, March 9th, The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens will be hosting a Garden Concert featuring HEAR in NOW - a collaborative trio performing mostly original, jazz-laden, avant-classical compositions. The group consists of Mazz Swift on violin and vocals, Silvia Bolognesi on double bass and Tomeka Reid on cello. These three women, each wildly accomplished in their own right, come together to create and perform rule-breaking and genre-bending musical art. This is a show you won't want to miss! (find details about the event at the end of the article)
In anticipation of the concert, we chatted with Mazz Swift (also known as MazzMuse or MizMazz) and learned about her personal musical journey, what motivates her as an improvisational artist, the origins and development of HEAR in NOW, and why it's important to her to take on the responsibility of "shifting the focus" in classical music as a person of African descent.
"Light Up The Darkness..."
- Bob Marley -
I'm quite certain that Robert Nesta Marley was not talking about a Lantern Parade when he uttered those words. But he was most certainly using light and darkness as metaphors to say - we can all do better and promote positivity. When Harry Dixon Loes wrote "This Little Light of Mine", the sentiments were the same. Whatever light or positivity or goodness you have within you - let it shine, shine, shine... let it shine.
Perhaps, then, it's no surprise that light had the same inspirational impression on Joseph White - Publisher and Editor in Chief of Jacksonville Magazine when he visited the Atlanta Lantern Parade in 2017. Looking to bring something new, different, and unprecedented to Jacksonville, he decided to see what the appeal of the parade was all about. Once he saw it, you could say a lightbulb went off, and he decided to produce a similar event here in the River City. Pair that with the initiative of raising money for art supplies and equipment and he had the blueprints for a delightful occasion.
Despite a few seemingly disastrous setbacks, 2018's Lantern Parade was a huge success, and this year is anticipated to be even better. In the weeks leading up to the parade - which is set for Saturday, February 16 - there have been multiple lantern making workshops held at various venues around town. People are encouraged to use their creativity to design their own lanterns or light-giving apparatuses and then join in the parade instead of merely watching from the sidelines. The parade route runs from the Riverside Artist Square under the Fuller Warren Bridge and continues down the St. Johns River to the Jacksonville Landing. The Parade itself begins at 7 PM and concludes with a Downtown fireworks show at 9 PM.
This week we got the chance to speak with Joe and learn about the history of the parade, the motivations behind it, and where we can expect to see its light spread next.
“Love Our Locals” by “Laughing Out Loud” - 10 Questions with Monique and Adam Madrid of LOL JAX Film Festival
"When you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."
- Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist -
Monique and Adam Madrid are the kind of visionaries every community needs.
What started as an idea in passing soon developed into the foundation for what has become the LOL JAX Film Festival - a local Short Film Festival with a mixing in of Stand Up Comedy. The project launched two and a half years ago and has already gained a huge amount of notoriety, recognition, and community support in a relatively short amount of time.
The idea was to create a platform to showcase short films and talent by local community filmmakers, actors/actresses, and comedians while promoting positivity within that same community. Perhaps it was fortuitous that the idea came to Monique while they were attending the 2016 Jacksonville Horror Showcase hosted at Sun-Ray Cinema in Historic Five Points. A little over a year later that very same venue would be the flagship site for their own film festival.
Pairing their love of cinema and filmmaking with a dash of comedy between the lines has proven to be just the right recipe for success for the pair. They have big plans on the horizon as they approach their third year in operation and we're happy they made the time to discuss the past, present, and future of LOL JAX with us.
On Thursday, July 19, the public had an opportunity to engage with the artists and artist groups that have been commissioned for Phase II of the DIA Urban Arts Project. A meeting was held at the Jax Makerspace inside the Jacksonville Public Library's Main Branch. A LOT of valuable input was garnered during this meeting. One attendee described Jacksonville as a kaleidoscope because of the city's wealth of diversity. Many in the audience communicated the need for better representation for people of color and the need for properly sharing Jacksonville's history and authentic identity. At the close of the meeting, all artists thanked the audience for their input and expressed that they see themselves as civil servants and will do their best to honor Jacksonville's residents through the work that they create.
Four artists/artist teams have been awarded commissions in connection to Phase II of the Downtown Investment Authority's Urban Arts Project. Phase II is slated for installation in 2019 in the entertainment district of downtown Jacksonville, known as The Elbow. A total of 114 applicants applied and a nine-member panel of community representatives reviewed applications for the demonstrated ability to address streetscape aesthetics with innovative, functional, and artistically appealing 2-D and 3-D public art. The four commissions were awarded to:
All artists arrived in Jacksonville this week to inform their artist design through a range of community engagement opportunities. On Wednesday, July 18, the group met at Jax Chamber for an in-depth information session about Jacksonville and The Elbow. Artists and stakeholders were then led on a walking tour of The Elbow to identify possible locations for public art.
On Thursday, July 19, the public is invited to engage directly with the artists at the Jax Makerspace inside the Jacksonville Public Library's main branch. It's a great opportunity to be a part of the public art process by sharing your opinions of, and aspirations for, Jacksonville with the artists. The event starts at 6:00 PM.
You are also invited to take a Phase II Stakeholder Survey.
What Do You Think Of When You Think Of Community, And What's One Thing That You Can Do To Build A Better Community?
During Public Art Week 2018 - Building a Better Community, we went out into communities and asked two specific questions:
What do you think about when you think of community?
What's one thing that you can do to build a better community?
We compiled some of the answers into the following videos.
Public Art Week (PAW) is an annual, week-long initiative that celebrates Jacksonville’s public art and highlights the benefits that are created when investments are made in art that is accessible by all. It is led by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville to encourage residents and visitors to explore and engage with works of art that comprise Jacksonville’s rapidly developing artistic and creative landscape. In addition to advancing the community’s awareness of, and engagement with, the City of Jacksonville’s official public art collection, PAW also showcases public art initiatives led by private entities and individuals.
PAW supports the Cultural Council’s role of ensuring broad accessibility and public engagement with the arts culturally, socially, educationally, and economically. It also supports the Cultural Council’s role of advocating for public and private financial support for Jacksonville’s arts and cultural sector.
This year PAW was presented by JEA and the theme was Building a Better Community. We partnered with 25 different organizations to present programming throughout Jacksonville's diverse neighborhoods. Our partners included:
Toni Smailagic of Cre8Jax was our event photographer for State of the Arts 2017. As always, Toni exceeded expectations. He did an excellent job capturing moments from throughout the day. Again, thank you to all of our sponsors, event partners, and everyone who attended State of the Arts 2017.
Questions? Comments? Submit something for consideration?
Please email ellen@CulturalCouncil.org