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Painting reaches great lengths

Over 900 local artists contributed to MOCA’s Imagination Squared.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville will unveil a huge painting display Sept. 1 described as “a snapshot of Jacksonville’s imagination,” during ArtWalk. Hundreds of local artists and amateur artists contributed. 

Imagination Squared is a creative response project in which over 900 Jacksonville locals participated. Over a span of four months, April 1 through July 31, locals who were interested in having their artwork showcased in the massive grid were invited to pick up 5-inch-by-5-inch wooden squares which were prepared with gesso, a plaster used to prepare canvas for painting.

Dolf James, one of two founders of the project, said the unveiling at MOCA will be the first time all of the squares are hung together. The grid is eight feet long and over 50 feet tall.

Christina Foard, the other founder, is a local painter and works at Shands Jacksonville. She runs the Arts in Medicine program, an interdisciplinary service for the Shands campus, which offers music, dance and visual arts to patients and staff as a positive distraction from pain, stress, boredom and anxiety.

James is a local sculptor who works out of his Riverside studio called 3rd Box Design. Foard and Dolf thought of the idea when Foard saw squares in James’ studio in March.

“When Dolf said he was willing to make squares for the public, we knew it would start, we just weren’t sure if others would participate,” Foard said. “Calling it an experiment made it more fun, more scientific for us.”

Melissa Snowden, a UNF sculpture senior, also used this project as an experiment. She received her square while taking a sculpture class at UNF with Jenny Hager. She thought it was a really cool project and wanted to be involved.

Snowden created an abstract piece using a painting technique involving rubbing alcohol. She said although it was just an experiment, she is happy about the way her square turned out and is happy she participated in the project.

“The fact that everyone from Jacksonville can create one and it being displayed and out in the open, I thought it was a good opportunity for my work to be seen,” Snowden said. “I thought it was an interesting project.”

Dolf said the number of people who wanted to participate astounded him, and he hopes others realize just how creative Jacksonville is.

“ You really get a view of people’s idea of what art is,” Dolf said. “No one person’s concept of what art is or what it should be or what it should look like is correct. Everyone has their own view, and it is just as correct as anybody else’s.”

PULL-OUT BOX: The project will be on display at in the Atrium gallery at MOCA until Nov. 14. 

PULL-OUT BOX: For more information on Imagination Squared, visit imaginationsquared.com and mocajacksonville.org


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