JU student dancers will add some electricity to the opening of this year’s One Spark festival April 9, joining with UNF, FSCJ and the Looking Lab in “Spaceshifts,” a collaborative art installation.
“The Looking Lab: Art in Empty Storefronts” began activating the Downtown urban core with storefront art projects in February, thanks to the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville’s Spark Grant initiative. The latest, “Exhibit B: Spaceshifts” at City Hall in Hemming Plaza, is curated by UNF Sculpture Prof. Jenny Hager, JU Dance Prof. Lana Heylock, FSCJ Art Prof. Mark Creegan and Looking Lab Director Joy Leverette.
The professors are not the only contributions from the schools, however. University of North Florida sculpture students will install art in nine City Hall windows with a theme related to “place,” Deep Sea, Coral Reef, Swamps, Forest, Mountains, Cities, Clouds, Deep Space, and Other World. Each window will be carefully curated to transform the “place” from day to night and will be fully built with foreground, middle ground and background spaces.
The middle ground spaces are of particular interest: the Jacksonville University Dance Department will perform in the ongoing “Spaceshifts” installation within the middle ground of the UNF installations. The JU performances are scheduled for the opening of the exhibit at 7 p.m. March 28 and three performances starting at 5 p.m. April 9. They will also present a dance for city officials at 4:30 p.m. March 25, prior to the City Council meeting.
“The JU Dance Department embraces the collaborative experience and is thrilled to be a part of this exciting project,” Heylock said. “Each year, Choreography III dance students embark upon site-specific assignments. The very nature of site-specific involves taking dance off of the traditional proscenium stage and putting it into the environment. This produces a closer audience encounter and a vibrantly engaged experience for the performer, as well as the viewer. The Spaceshifts Project between JU Dance choreographers, UNF and FSCJ visual artists, The Looking Lab and the Cultural Council has epitomized the spirit of artistic synthesis in Northeast Florida. It is an exciting prospect to truly ‘Enliven Space’ with dance and art.”
“I’m so honored and excited to be a part of this renaissance in Jacksonville,” said Leverette. “Here we are, transforming the old department store windows of City Hall with cutting-edge installation art. Our partnerships with City Hall, Petra and Prime Realty are proof that Northeast Florida city and business leaders are realizing how this storefront art initiative can revive dead space and restore vibrancy to our urban landscape.”
“The Looking Lab” is a series of unconventional pop-up exhibits featuring regional artists within empty storefronts throughout downtown Jacksonville. 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.
For more information, please visit www.lookinglabjax.com.