Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Next Step for Jacksonville

I'll say this again, Jacksonville needs and deserves to have a spectacular and iconic building on our beautiful river. The opportunities are there. We have the redesign of the Jacksonville Landing in the heart of our downtown riverfront, the Shipyards, a new convention center, the District and the old Courthouse/City Hall property currently sinking into the river. When we start the design process, let's not pay too much homage to the automobile. Much of Jacksonville has been designed to make it easy to get through places as quickly as possible. One of the recent ill-fated redesigns of the Landing placed a street along the riverfront between the river and the green-space that they were showcasing.

The American Institute of Architects has an ad campaign in which they say, "We look up because we know the world is counting on us to look ahead." Leaders and people of Jacksonville, we too, must look up to look ahead. Great cities are not known for their sprawling, stuccoed, suburbs. They are known for their cultural treasures—their art, their museums, their music and the buildings that house them. Think of a great destination place for a vacation. If it isn't the natural beauty of a place like the Everglades or Yosemite, it is what makes up its cultural heart. New York? Broadway, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, MoMA, the Met, the great high rises. Chicago? The Navy Pier, Millennium Park, the ART Institute. Paris? The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame. London? Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, The Eye. Jacksonville? the Main Street Bridge? EverBank Field? We can and must use this pivotal point in our history to look forward.

We deserve better.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Tuesday was one of those days…one of those days where you are slammed at work but you get things done and you feel good about it…one of those days where you run into or have lunch with old friends from MOCA Jacksonville…one of those days where you meet up with kindred souls and plot out how you plan on changing at least one little piece of the world…one of those days when your MOCA friends just keep turning up and you realize how incredible everyone was (and still is)…one of those days when you get home exhausted, you have an amazing life partner there for you who loves you and supports you though all of those days…one of those days when you get a late dinner and your amazing daughter calls from her first year of college and you realize that she's on speaker phone at her regular seat at the table and while she is away, she's not gone. Tuesday was one of those days where you can't believe how fortunate you are. Thank you to all of those people who made Tuesday one of those days.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Art of Asking

Almost six months ago I responded to a tweet from someone that I really didn't know—someone, as it turns out, was half a world away. Ramon de la Fuente (@f_u_e_n_t_e) got Amanda Palmer's book The Art of Asking as a gift and was so moved that he felt that he had to share it. Fittingly, he gave it away on Twitter and asked me to pass it along when I was through with it. It took me a little longer than I had planned to read it but I, too, read the book and couldn't help myself. It's my turn to share and all you have to do is ask. The thing is, if you are the lucky one, I hope that you will do as Ramon and I have and add a little something to the book before you pass it along. I added a small sketch. It was something that I originally did for my wife for an Illustration Friday topic. One day, I will get back to that.

If you aren't yet familiar with Amanda Palmer, do yourself a favor and listen to her music. From her stint in the Dresden Dolls to her solo efforts, she is, if nothing else very memorable. I have always been somewhat partial to Coin-Operated Boy. I couldn't say exactly why but it got under my skin when I first heard it. From her music, move on to her TED talk. Powerful stuff that. To say that I am partial to TED Talks would be somewhat of an understatement. I am one of the founding members of TEDxJacksonville. We are going on our 4th year. Someday, I would hope that we might coax her to come and tell us a story, here in Jacksonville. Read her blog. I remember the shit storm that she endured after a poem she wrote and posted to that blog. You can Google it or you can read about it in her book. Follow her on Twitter. She might say hello even though she has well over a million followers.

Even if you aren't the one who gets Ramon's copy of Amanda's book this time, perhaps it will come your way down the road. If you can't wait, go out and buy a copy for yourself. Then, share it with the world. That's all I am asking.