The Cows Return to Cowford

Do you find the amount of graffiti in Jacksonville to be “udderly” ridiculous?

The City of Jacksonville along with Downtown Dwellers and Downtown Vision agree. The Jacksonville City Council recently approved an agreement between the city and the Florida Department of Transportation to commission a mural on the bridge supports of the Acosta next to Corkscrew Park.

Artist rendering of cow mural
Artist rendering of cow mural

The park on the Northbank Riverwalk is a destination for exercise enthusiasts. It’s next to the winding walkway under the Acosta and above the Jacksonville Florida East Coast Railroad Truss Bridge.

It also has been a destination for graffiti vandals who are regularly tagging the bridge supports and building.

Downtown Dwellers and Downtown Vision combined forces to hire local artist David Nackashi to create a mural in hopes graffiti artists will leave them alone.

Eric Miller is president of Downtown Dwellers and Downtown Vision’s Vice-President of District Services. He said the idea of painting murals on the pillars originated from conversations between Downtown Vision, Downtown Dwellers and the city’s parks department to make some  much needed improvements to the location.

“They had access to some grant resources from the neighborhoods department and wanted to make sure everything was well aligned and integrated with the Parks Department’s general idea for the area,” Miller said. “Those pillars were seen as an opportunity to be a great canvas for public art as well as…having a wonderful effect of reducing incidences of graffiti.”   

Graffiti covered Acosta Bridge support next to Corkscrew Park on Northbank Riverwalk
Graffiti covered Acosta Bridge support next to Corkscrew Park on Northbank Riverwalk

Inspired by Jacksonville’s history at the bend in the St. Johns River, Nackashi will be painting a depiction of cows making their way across the river.

“I was put in contact with a farm in Live Oak,” he said. “I got to take some pictures of their cows.”

Nackashi has already done some work for the city.He was the artist who painted the murals near the bathrooms next to The Lone Sailor statue on the Southbank Riverwalk. He also has touched up several other older downtown murals that had been painted by non-local artists.

Nackashi said they were going to paint the walls of the small building at the park. They were discussing the project with Parks Department Director Daryl Joseph when Nackashi suggested being able to paint the mural on the bridge columns and Joseph agreed.

It’s been said there is an unwritten law among graffiti artists that you do not destroy someone else’s work including murals, although that has not always been the case. But most murals in Jacksonville have been left alone.

Nackashi said even if it does get tagged a mural can be repaired. He hopes it can inspire others to hire more local artists to paint murals on their buildings or help pay for more in publicly owned locations.

“I live in Springfield and we just did some crosswalks,” Nackashi said. “We did two and they got to be very popular and now I’m getting calls from Murray Hill and other neighborhoods around town. Not to view the murals but to find how we got them approved.”

The new murals will be on the both sides of Acosta bridge pillars closest to the park.

The north-facing side is hoped to be completed in November. The south-facing side will be finished by next September.

By Kevin Meerchaert
Resident Community News

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)