Sculptures washed ashore: New art at UNF’s Seaside Sculpture Park

Lili Weinstein

Matt Stanford, “Crouching Skeletal Figure”, 2017, fiberglass, wood. Photo by Lili Weinstein.

Every city needs a protector, and now Jacksonville Beach has UNF student Matt Stanford’s “Crouching Skeletal Figure” to watch over it. Stanford, along with four other UNF sculpture students, has installed the second round of sculptures at UNF’s Seaside Sculpture Park, a partnership between the University, the Lazzara family, the City of Jacksonville Beach, and Mountain Star Capital. Chris Lazzara called it “a perfect private public partnership”.

UNF sculpture professors Jenny Hager and Lance Vickery are the teaching forces behind the two semester project. Students go through a rigorous decision process that ends with presenting a miniature model to a large panel in hopes of bringing them to a larger scale, like the park.

“The students compete for the spots and we have a competition where they present in front of a selection committee, and then we choose the best ones and display them for a year,” Hager said.

Hager and Vickery work together in their individual sculpture classes. The first semester of the project is completed in Hager’s class where students create mockettes of sculptures, come up with a  budget, and work through the proposal process of creating a work of art. Vickery’s class is where the sculptures come to life.

“Each project is a little bit different, so the first thing we usually do is try to figure out what materials we’ll need and we come up with their course of action trying to account for everything that they’re going to need,” Vickery said. “But then, they take the responsibility of putting together the quotes just like they would out in the real world.”

Students enrolled in the Advanced Sculpture class are all doing different things, and not everyone works on large scale projects. The students who do, gain an opportunity unique to UNF’s undergraduate program.

Jen Broadbent, one of the artists featured in the park, said, “[It feels] empowering, it’s great [to have it displayed here]. Just knowing that people know that I made something large and that I can make something large is really crazy to me.”

The sculptures are displayed at 480 1st Street South in Jacksonville Beach.