Big changes in the works for Duval County Courthouse plaza

How you can have a say in what plaza becomes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville wants to transform it into a more artistic space. The citizens of Jacksonville will be able to help decide what it will look like.

Downtown Jacksonville is full of artistic expression. Murals and bright colors can be found on several buildings.

Linda Gunn loves the art.

“Oh, they’re beautiful. You want to spend time and look at them, see who painted them,” Gunn said.

At the Duval County Courthouse plaza, it’s a different story. At least for now. With some time and the public’s vision, that all could change.

From now through April 1, those who want to weigh in can submit their ideas on how they’d like the courthouse plaza space to be used. The best bet is to take the survey online.

Survey takers will be asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 their thoughts about things like whether places to sit down should be added, or if backdrops for pictures should be brought in. People will also weigh in on what kind of art they'd most want to see.

The Duval County Courthouse plaza is a project of the city of Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places (APP) program that is managed by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. The $619,000 in art funding results from the city’s APP ordinance that required 0.75% of the original Courthouse construction budget to be set aside for public art. The Cultural Council is the local art agency supporting arts organizations and artists in Duval County for the benefit of Northeast Florida.

Glenn Weiss, the director of the Public Art Program for the Cultural Council said the possibilities are endless

"So that it possibly has benches, or fountains or trees," Weiss said. "Or places to walk, hang out. It could also have small stages where people perform on a regular basis. It could actually have a park-like downtown atmosphere."

Gunn added it’s a good opportunity for families and children.

“You have this grass out here. You need somewhere where kids can play when they come here with their parents. Instead of standing around here being bored,” Gunn said.

Jacquelyn Lovett has her ideas as well.

“It’s a beautiful lot for adults. Pictures, old pictures, history pictures. It’d be great,” Lovett said.

The council is holding a series of public meetings to get in-person feedback as well.

Two are upcoming:

  • Saturday from 9 a.m. - noon at Haskell Headquarters located at 111 Riverside Avenue
  • Wednesday, April 1 from 5 p.m - 6 p.m. at MOCA Jacksonville located at N Laura St adjacent to City Hall/ Hemming Plaza

Once it is decided what designs will come to the plaza, artists and designers will be hired. Weiss says it’ll be 2022 or 2023 before this is complete.

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