JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Affectionately known as the “Frog Man,” Donald Bowden is in the Positively Jax spotlight -- nominated for his support and going above and beyond for the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society.
You may be wondering how he got that “Frog Man” nickname. Well, in 2015 this talented artist offered to donate a few hand-made painted concrete frogs to sell at a yard sale. That sale was meant to help raise funds to restore the 1898 St. Joseph’s Mission Schoolhouse.
Those simple green and black frogs were a hit and sold very quickly. Turns out more of those ceramic pieces of art started popping up around the Mandarin area. And they were known to make people smile.
Bowden asked the people who run the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society if they’d like more frogs to sell to raise money for mission operations and a proposed expansion project. After getting a hearty “yes,” Bowden started making more frogs and added to the menagerie.
Not only were there concrete frogs, but now sea turtles and squirrels that each took about 30 days to be molded, cured and painted.
Like with those first few frogs, these works of art sold quickly and this overnight folk artist sensation helped the museum with its cause. Though he accepts no payment for the supplies or his time, he generates a wonderful community spirit through his work.
“Mr. Bowden’s philanthropy and time, talent and love for the community in which his family settled in the late 1700s is immeasurable ,” said Sandy Arpen, president of the museum board directors. “His philanthropy also generated a gift to the museum and the capital projects of the last six years to the tune of over $100,000!”
Bowden makes a Positively Jax difference because he says he wants to give back from his entire family to the community he has always loved.