'Message in a Bottle' unveiled in Jacksonville

Giant exhibit to remain on display during Jacksonville Jazz Festival

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Native Jacksonville artist Doug Eng  presented his 170 feet?long public art installation titled "Message in a Bottle: Wall of Light" during Artwalk on Wednesday night downtown. 

The exhibit is a lighted wall made up of more than 15,000 water bottles that contain messages and phrases from people across Jacksonville expressing gratitude to troops serving overseas.

Eng said the project began in November when he, his wife and dozens of volunteers reached out to collect both bottles and the messages to go in them.

"We had a tremendous response from area schools and civic clubs," Eng said. "The people we came in contact with were enthusiastic about the project. Gratitude is a powerful emotion and people seemed eager to express themselves."

The lighted structure is comprised of 28 six feet by six feet free?standing panels, each featuring a distinctly different design. The wall will be displayed for about a month, and will be featured at its location in Main Street Park during the Jazz Festival.

"As citizens, our awareness of the sacrifices being made by service men and women often get forgotten as we tend to our daily routines," said Eng. "Right now there are more than 100,000 deployed military in active combat, many of whom are from Jacksonville. We hope that Jacksonville's messages can reach every person that has served our country. We truly are grateful."

All of the messages are documented on the project website www.messageinabottlejax.com.