JACKSONVILLE, FL, January 08, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Spark Grant recipient, "The Looking Lab: Art in Empty Storefronts" will be activating the Downtown urban core with storefront installations beginning February 2014, thanks to the Spark District program from the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. The initiative stems from 2011 resolution passed by the Jacksonville City Council, with support from the Cultural Council, to approach Northbank redevelopment with the arts as a means of revitalization.
"The Looking Lab" is a series of unconventional art installations featuring regional artists within empty storefronts throughout downtown Jacksonville's Spark District. Participating artists include Jim Draper, David Montgomery, Crystal Floyd, Staci BuShea, Casey James, Mark Creegan, Sister Feathertoe, the UNF Sculpture Program, and the Jacksonville University Dance Department. The first exhibition will open with the monthly Art Walk on February 5, 2014.
"Approximately 40% of downtown retail spaces are empty," said Joy Poulard, Director of the Looking Lab. "We want to use those empty storefronts and present each installation as its own 'lab' to be investigated. The talent and passion of Jacksonville's artists will expose the opportunities for growth where some only see blight."
Poulard stresses that the public element of the space will be respected, and that each installation will be accessible to all members of the family. The inaugural exhibit will be a collaborative piece between David Montgomery and Crystal Floyd at 107 East Bay Street.
"The Looking Lab: Art in Empty Storefronts" is inspired by initiatives such as "Storefronts Seattle," in Seattle, Washington, and "Artists in Storefronts: Whittier," in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which have been credited with revitalizing neighborhoods, increasing community engagement, and stimulating local economy by their respective city management.
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