August is American Artist Appreciation Month

By Marie Myers, Art Educator/Library Associate
Marie Myers

Jacksonville Public Library is many things to many people: a repository of information in a variety of printed and digital formats, a center of the community and a showplace for art—yes, art. Our library locations, if you didn’t already know, showcase a wealth of art created by a variety of artists.

Art Education in the Library
If you have ever joined me at the Main Library for one of the many art programs I teach, you have been able to witness children eager to create. The art project usually follows the weekly story time theme. Children are given the opportunity to make their own creation following loose guidelines and exploring art techniques. For example, this weekend, children are invited to make a resist by drawing with oil pastels and painting over it with watercolors. Projects and techniques vary, but always foster children’s creativity, thinking skills and problem solving. As artist Bob Ross would have said, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

In addition to the Main Library, a few “artists in residence” host art programs at different library locations. You can join Ms. Delon at Pablo Creek Regional Library, Ms. Allison at the Mandarin Branch Library or Ms. Elizabeth at the Webb Wesconnett Branch Library, just to name a few. They offer creative art programs that focus on art techniques and art exploration, which foster and develop children’s early literacy skills, including fine motor skills and print awareness.

Created by New York artist Tony Robbin

Art in the Library
Thanks to donors and the program Art in Public Places, local and national artists have contributed to the beauty of our libraries. At Southeast Regional Library a work of art inspired by the Florida sunshine was created by Arizona artist BJ Katz. The glass piece is hung under a glass ceiling to be illuminated by natural daylight. At Pablo Creek Regional Library New York artist Tony Robbin used aluminum and acrylic to create a four-dimensional geometry of shapes. At West Regional Branch Library, Jacksonville artist Dana Chapman created larger-than-life-size ceramic sculptures that resemble natural objects found in the woods.

These are just a few artists showcased at the library. The Main Library second- and third-floor landings also showcase local artists as part of the monthly Downtown Art Walk event. Take a moment this August and beyond to appreciate our American artists—of all varieties. Visit your neighborhood library or click here to see the many locations of art at the JPL.

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