The Jacksonville Art Collective gives art education a fresh coat

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Duval organization whips up plan to provide art, music classes to underprivileged kids

Some of Jacksonville’s finest artists and musicians who have come together to form the Jacksonville Art Collective, a fresh organization dedicated to promoting the arts in Duval County schools and communities, get kids pulling out those paint brushes and tapping out tunes on their tubas.

Jacksonville resident and musician Jessica Pounds founded the Jacksonville Art Collective only two months ago with the dream of offering art and music classes to underprivileged children.

The idea of an organization supporting the arts came to Pounds, a music lover who starting making music at 14 years old, through a desire to provide the same creative opportunities to all children as well as promote the importance of art in our culture.

The ultimate goal for the program is to one day open a center in the downtown Springfield area for art classes and music, said Pounds.

After only two months, Pounds said she’s feeling out waters with events to raise money for art classes as well as supplement brand new art scholarships, a large hurdle to conquer to get on track.

By combining efforts with the North Florida Music Academy, a music scholarship is in the works to provide a full year of free music lessons. A visual arts scholarship is next on the list, Pounds said.

The collective consists of seven board members and several artists who volunteer by teaching art classes and assist in planning events to raise money.

Nicole Defeo, a UNF art education senior, donates her artwork to the collective for display. Defeo specializes in printmaking, as well as painting and collages.

She currently interns teaching art classes at Wolfson High School.

“I would love for it to become a well-known organization,” said Defeo. “Schools should have art classes because it’s been proven to help SAT scores, creativity and a higher order of thinking.”

Lauren Gessner, also a UNF art education senior, servers as a contributing artist. Like Defeo, Gessner specializes in printmaking. Gessner donated three framed pieces, which the collective will display at The Sinclair downtown in their premier event.

The premier, which starts at 7 p.m. Nov. 6, will feature the art work of local artists and provide live music by local musicians. The cover charge is $10 at the door and $6 for students. All the proceeds will go toward the collective.

The collective also raises money through live performances by talented Jacksonville musicians at Walkers Bar every Tuesday night. All proceeds go toward art and music classes for children.

“The community needs to be more open to the fact that everyone should be able to have art and music in their lives,” Gessner said. “People think that art is only for those who can afford it. We want to say that’s not true.”