Photo by Bob Hunt
The Art Center Cooperative, the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT), the Cathedral Arts Project, St. Johns Riverkeeper, Duval County Public Schools and Comcast have developed and sponsored the River Art Mentorship Program — educationally based, maritime-themed art workshops for select Duval County Public School (DCPS) middle school students. After eligible students submitted samples of artwork, 15 finalists were chosen by a panel of professional artists. The program’s purpose is to provide creatively gifted students the opportunity to continue practicing art, while expanding their knowledge of the region's greatest asset, the St. Johns River. The program partners agree it is important to foster the growth of young artists through imagination and discovery.
Mary Atwood of The Art Center Cooperative explains the organization’s
interest in creating the
River Art Mentorship Program. “As part of The Art Center's ongoing mission to bring art opportunities to underserved children, it is our pleasure to team up with these outstanding organizations to host the River Art Mentorship program. We hope by combining academic and artistic experiences, we can help motivate the participating students to reach for success in the classroom as well as inspire them to further explore and expand their own creative abilities.”
Sessions began with a river tour Saturday, March 10 and continue with workshops focusing on painting, print making, woodturning and mixed media taught by professional artist mentors from The Art Center. The program concludes with a wrap-up session, Saturday, May 12 when all mentors attend with the students. These workshops, to be held at The Art Center downtown, are being offered at no charge to the students. The students are encouraged to produce works of art which reflect both the industrial and natural beauty of the St. Johns River. A tour of student and mentor artwork will be shown at JAXPORT Gallery, The Art Center, and other locations throughout Jacksonville.