Jacksonville artist wants youth to see their reflections in newest mural to color Eastside neighborhood

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new mural on A Philip Randolph Boulevard is being added to the Jacksonville artistic scene to revitalize community spaces considered art and culture deserts.

Artist Chris Clark’s latest painting of a young Black boy with locs in his hair gazing out in a field is a symbol in the Eastside community meant to represent youth and lift them up.

“I’m a firm believer that representation matters. I want the community, young people, especially, to see themselves in a positive light,” Clark said.

Residents living in the Eastside neighborhood said initiatives like this give them hope.

The mural is on the corner of Pippin Street and A Philip Randolph Blvd. People who passed by as Clark added the finishing touches to the mural called it “beautiful” and “perfect.”

One man lit up when he saw the painting, questioning if that was an image of him when he was younger.

“It makes me feel promising. It does something for this area and this spot right here,” Jimmy Mack said.

The mural is important because older men, like Mack, and younger boys can see “a reflection of themselves” in the image.

“That makes me feel good. They have to live with it. When I’m done, I’m going to leave and go back to my community, but this piece stays with them,” Clark said.

Clark said he’s been receiving nothing but good feedback since he started painting.

“Everybody in the community, they’ve been coming by giving positive feedback, so I’m starting to see what everyone else sees,” Clark said.

The feedback and conversations with the community helped develop his vision.

Clark says the most gratifying comments he receives are when someone comes up to him and says the mural looks like someone they know -- a cousin, nephew or brother.

This isn’t Clark’s first artistic mark on Jacksonville; he has other murals around the city as well -- and looks forward to painting many more.

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A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad