MY REVIEW: A TALE OF MY CITY, JACKSONVILLE'S EXPO TO COMMEMORATE LOCAL ARTISTS
From August 1st to October 21st the main library is currently hosting a photo gallery titled Jacksonville: A Tale of My City. The gallery host thirteen Jacksonville artists’ work focusing on the people, neighborhoods, and history of Jacksonville. Young photographers and artists like Khalil Osborne and Tenny Rudolph; older artists like Bob Self; local legends like Malcolm Jackson, and many others have their work on display; culminating in a beautiful and insightful look at Jacksonville’s past, present, and future.
The gallery takes up portions of all four floors of the library. The first floor is where most of the artwork is located. Each wall lined with the artist’s own view of Jacksonville accompanied by artists’ write ups to give you insight to their motivations. The photos are beautiful, they all capture small nuggets of what makes Jacksonville special. The gallery has two historical sections on the third and fourth floors. One about the vanishing of Lavilla, a predominantly black neighborhood that was devastated by Jim Crow policies and the rarely talked about consequences of integration; and eventually demolished. There is also an exhibit on the Ax handle riots of August 1960. Both exhibits are powerful and provide evidence of how racial tension shaped Jacksonville’s landscape.
"The event is more of what Jacksonville needs and wants; spaces and opportunity to showcase the plethora of local talent."
A chance to uplift not just one or two special artists, but the entire arts community. Events like these should be more common and endorsed by the city. Photographers Khalil Osborne and Tenny Rudolph talked to me about how far the community has come, especially for younger artists like themselves; but the government officials and other players at the top are reluctant to give money and/or create policies that stimulate the city’s arts community. This is disheartening, but I don’t believe this will stop the community. Many artists are coming together to uplift each other by hosting events and shows just like this one. Khalil himself has curated shows featuring many local artists. Geexella recently created DuvalFolx, a safe place dance party for the youth of Jacksonville. These are just two examples, but many others are doing the same. Whether or not those at the top will embrace the arts community is yet to be seen, but until then the community will embrace themselves; and I am proud to witness and be apart of.