Sunday, March 21, 2010

OFF THE GRID EVENT-- Downtown Jacksonville

Downtown property owners get creative with vacant space

Abel Harding's picture

A group of downtown property owners have embraced a creative concept to temporarily fill vacant retail space. Off the Grid debuted Thursday night with tours of eight art galleries in the heart of the city.

The program is a partnership between artist, property owners, Downtown Vision, Inc. and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville in an effort to activate vacant spaces in the urban core with artistic energy.

From the looks of the crowd Thursday night, it's working. Well over 150 people packed a space in the Jacksonville Bank building on Laura Street where the festivities kicked off. The event was hosted by Betsy Lovett, Marty Lanahan, Tri Vu and Jim Draper.

I managed to pop in most of the galleries and was amazed by the depth of talent we have in Jacksonville. At the Suite 106 Gallery in the Jacksonville Landing, I had the chance to pull a piece of canvas off the wall and bring it home. (The pictures on this page are of the painted wall canvas and the piece I brought home. The quality isn't the best...they were taken with my Blackberry camera.)

For more information on the effort, visit Downtown Vision's website. You can also watch the video below of one of the galleries opening.

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