Cultural Council installs fifth sculpture in urban core

Cultural Council installs fifth sculpture in urban core
Glenn Weiss, director of public art, Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville with artist Cecilia Lueza and San Marco sculptor David Engdahl.

It was with great excitement that downtown arts benefactor Preston Haskell of Ortega joined sculptor David Engdahl of San Marco, artist Cecilia Lueza, and Glenn Weiss, director of public art for the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville to watch the fifth sculptural masterpiece within the city’s Art in Public Places program take its place on Sept. 12.

The Cultural Council, in collaboration with VyStar Credit Union, installed the sculpture “NOVA” in the plaza on Hogan Street near the VyStar parking garage. Fifth in a series of six works of art, the metal creation was made by Lueza and is part of a more than $400,000 Downtown Sculpture Initiative that partners with private companies to enhance the city. 

A sixth and final sculpture will be placed at the corner of Laura Street and Forsyth Street on Saturday, Oct. 31. The title of the sixth sculpture is “Laura’s Flower” and it was created by Gus and Lina Ocamposilva of Oldsmar, Florida. Although the sixth sculpture will be placed on public land, its installation is in partnership with Farah and Farah Law Firm.   

“NOVA,” is the second artwork to be on display downtown by Lueza. In 2017, she painted colorful shapes on the JTA Skyway columns on Hogan Street that are in view of her latest work. Her sculpture transforms those same shapes into a 3D painted steel sculpture. The sculpture continues Lueza’s pattern along Hogan Street and complements the murals on the VyStar parking garage, which were painted by internationally renowned streetscape artist Remi Rough of London, England in 2019.  

Lueza, an Argentine American artist and sculptor, is well known for creating vibrant public art pieces in a range of mixed media. From painting and sculpture to monumental installations and street murals, she explores the visual effects of color and incorporates elements of nature and geometry.  In addition to Jacksonville, her sculptures and murals can be seen at the Facebook Data Center in Alabama, as well as in public spaces in Missouri, Arizona, Washington D.C. and many Florida cities such as Tampa, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.  

VyStar Credit Union was recently recognized as Corporate Business of the Year by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville for its commitment to promoting art and culture in the community through various initiatives such as supporting the Jacksonville Arts & Music School, ArtRepublic, the Cathedral Arts Project and more.

“At VyStar Credit Union, we believe that art and culture are important in building a vibrant community, and this sculpture installation is one more way we are working to provide the necessary resources to do just that,” said Brian Wolfburg, VyStar’s President/CEO. “We are proud to support talented local artists such as Cecilia Lueza and remain committed to supporting organizations and programs that bring creative ideas like this to life.”

“NOVA” a sculpture created by Cecilia Lueza of south Florida is placed on its pedestal near the VyStar parking garage on Hogan Street.
“NOVA” a sculpture created by Cecilia Lueza of south Florida is placed on its pedestal near the VyStar parking garage on Hogan Street.

The Downtown Sculpture Initiative was spearheaded by Haskell nearly five years ago, and the first sculpture to be placed was “Harmonious Ascent,” by Jacksonville artist Aisling Millar. It is located in a plaza on the east side of the JAXChamber building.

The second sculpture, “Opposing Forces,” by Hanna Jubran, a sculptor from North Carolina, adorns the corner of newly named James Weldon Johnson Park (formerly Hemming Park) near City Hall at the corner of Monroe and Laura Streets.

David Engdahl, a sculptor from San Marco, has facilitated, coordinated, and managed the balance of the sculpture projects in the Cultural Council’s initiative as a volunteer. He has overseen the installation of the remaining four works of art. The third sculpture, located at One Enterprise Center is entitled, “Entwined Line,” and was created by C.J. Rench, an artist from Oregon. The fourth in the series, Jubran’s “Baladee,” stands at the corner of Adams and Main Streets and was a collaboration with Farah and Farah. 

“We targeted locations where we might find landowners who are willing to participate and collaborate,” Engdahl said. “For this fifth work of art, we contacted Brian Wolfburg of VyStar, who was all for it.”

Engdahl said the Downtown Sculpture Initiative initially planned to install 10 works of art throughout Jacksonville’s urban core. “The original concept is to have 10, but we don’t have any more in the pipeline at this point,” he said.

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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