Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Uplifting Art: Visual Touch Brightens Mission Walls

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Uplifting Art: Visual Touch Brightens Mission Walls

Article excerpt

There are sun gods and sheep and a few portraits on the walls

of the Clara White Mission in downtown Jacksonville.

And there are flowers. Laura Ashley did irises on a lavender

background and another of strong yellow lilies. Barry Wilson did

sunflowers, pink amaryllis and the magnolias that hang over

loaves of day-old bread free for the taking.

The artwork is one group's way of brightening the view in

Jacksonville. The 30 pieces were created and hung by art

students at Jacksonville University and Wilson, their professor

in the first installment of a rotating exhibit.

They line the light pink walls of the mission's dining room,

overlooking simple tables where the down-on-their-luck get

simple meals.

Food for the body and art for the spirit.

For Ju'Coby Pittman, administrator of the mission, it's another

part of the renovation that's been going on there for about two

years.

"The good thing is that you introduce the students to the

social aspects of the mission," Pittman said. "And then they

donate [the use of] their artwork."

For Wilson, who also teaches printmaking at Douglas Anderson

School of the Arts, getting involved was natural.

"I met Ju'Coby and saw the video she shows about the mission,"

Wilson said. "She's such an energetic person that she makes you

want to contribute something. What we have to offer people is

pictures. They were getting warm meals, but they were sitting in

a room with blank walls."

For artists, of course, blank walls are simply spaces demanding

to be filled.

"So we met one Saturday morning," Wilson said. "While they were

serving meals, we came down and measured and hammered nails. So

they got to watch the art being hung."

Pittman said the change was immediate. …

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