Jacksonville is a HUGE city - in fact, it’s the largest city by area in the US. We’re typically known for our football team and vast stretches of beautiful beaches and beautiful waterfront property, but if you take a closer look, you’ll find Jax has a LOT more to offer, especially when it comes to Art and Entertainment.
The Urban Core of Downtown Jax has been developing like crazy over the past few years and is undoubtedly the seat of Arts and Culture in our massive city. The U.C. is home to the monthly held First Wednesday Art Walk, the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA Jax), the annual Jacksonville Jazz Festival (dubbed one of the 20 best in the nation), and is host to One Spark, an annual crowdfunding festival in which “creators” showcase their projects in an effort to crowdfund from attendees and private investors.
However, the most visible and rapidly growing initiative in the Urban Core is the development and installation of large and small-scale public art.
While there are many murals, mosaics, sculptures and paste-ups to experience in the Urban Core, we’ve compiled a short list of “must see” murals as well as a map of a walking path you can take to experience these pieces on your own!
There are 20 murals featured on this path, and the entire walk totals about 2 miles from start to finish. There’s plenty to see along the way between murals, so put on some comfy walking shoes and enjoy the stroll.
1. The Dance of the Seven Sins Muses by Okuda
927 W Forsyth St
2. Untitled by Bik Ismo
115 N Davis St
Another mural included in Art Republic 2017, Untitled was painted by Puerto Rican Street Artist, Bik Ismo, self-proclaimed “Chrome Master” (www.instagram.com/bikismo). This mural is one of our favorites because it’s just insanely cool to look at.
3. Cubic Ring by Astro
745 W Forsyth St
Part of Art Republic 2017 also, Cubic Ring is the work of French Artist, Astro (astrograff.com) Hailing from the Northern Parisian suburbs, he began doing graffiti ten years ago. His work translates successfully from canvas to walls and also cellophane thanks to his own technique "CelloGraff” which he created in 2006 with the artist Kanos.
After taking a brief trek down Forsyth, making a right on North Pearl, and a left on Water Street, you’ll soon find yourself faced with this massive mural:
4. Flora + Fauna by James Reka
245 Water Street
Located in the city center, Flora + Fauna was inspired by the natural environment in and around the city of Jacksonville. It took 3 weeks with an assistant to complete and measures nine stories high and at least 100m wide. While you’re in this area, check out The Jacksonville Landing and surrounding blocks. It’s not uncommon to stumble upon a musical performance or event at the waterfront marketplace, and a bite can be grabbed at The Landing or from one of the many food trucks known to gather and line the streets nearby.
#FrayLife Tip:We HIGHLY recommend Coastal Cookies if you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth. They’re seriously the best cookies in the universe. We’re not kidding.
At this point, you can cut across the Omni parking lot (or find your way to) West Bay Street where you’ll encounter a series of pillars painted by Andrew Reid aka SHEd.
5. Pillars by Andrew Reid aka SHEd
These are strategically placed for the purpose of promoting foot traffic in an area of downtown that most pedestrians previously overlooked. So not only will going to see them let you see some cool art, you’ll be helping the art achieve its functional purpose.
6. A Timeless Journey by Cecilia Lueza
Once you get to the corner of Bay and Hogan, continue up Hogan toward Forsyth and enjoy more beautiful pillars. These nine beautiful were by Cecilia Lueza for Phase One of the DIA Urban Arts Project in April 2017.
#FrayLife Tip: The Forsyth/Hogan/West Adams St. area is a GREAT place to catch some nightlife vibes. De Real Ting Cafe on the corner of Hogan and Adams is the premier spot for Reggae and Island culture from the upstairs Jamaican restaurant and lounge to the downstairs basement club. Also on this end of Adams you’ll find Zodiac Bar and Grill (eat here for Mediterranean food - GREAT lunch buffet!), Breezy’s Jazz Club (the most recent addition to the nightlife on this strip), and The Volstead - one of the coolest bars in Jax with a speakeasy vibe and hands down the BEST drinks in town. Bartenders work elsewhere. Mixologists create here.
7. The Function of Education by Case Maclaim
25 W Forsyth St
Inspired by the history of the city and the local businesses (the local bookstores in particular), German Street Artist Maclaim used his signature photorealistic style in this breathtaking mural.
#FrayLife Tip: When you get to Forsyth and Ocean, you have some great food, drink, and chill spot options available. Azucena Corner Deli has yummy and healthy nosh and offers the very first 10-tap PourMyBeer system in Northern Florida. Next door you’ll find 1904 Music Hall and Spliff’s Gastropub - an awesome music and event venue with extensive liquor, wine, & craft beer selections that can be enjoyed either inside the hall or in the outdoor courtyard shared by the adjoining restaurant Splliff's Gastropub
8. Girl and Origami by Sean Mahan
200 E Adams St
Mahan's piece is meant to express the harmonious interaction between an individual and her surroundings. Much like Andrew Reid SHEd's pillars, Mahan’s mural is designed to engage pedestrians and passerby at the street level, and serve as a visual connector to accessible public parking.
#FrayLife Tip: Hipster Hangout Alert! Check out Dos Gatos at 123 East Forsyth for handmade cocktails & martinis along with game, music & other theme nights.
9. Pigeon Feathers by Adele Renault
100 E Adams St
Also going by the title "Gutter Paradise", Renault's mural incorporates her well-known affinity for pigeons.
10. Earth Gods by Shaun Thurston
100 E Adams St
One of Jacksonville’s most prominent muralists, Shaun Thurston illustrates a surrealist commentary on the relationship between man and nature in Earth Gods. This striking piece gives you a lot to look at leaves you with a lot to think about.
11. Midnight City by Mac Truque
21 E Adams St
One of the first large-scale murals in downtown Jacksonville, Midnight City was meant to be a representation of the artist's vision of the city at the time.
#FrayLife Tip: Stop into Burrito Gallery (pictured beneath the SugarSkull signage) for some yummy tacos, burritos or filling salads. They have great vegan options as well!
12. Untitled by Shaun Thurston
21 E Adams St
Aside from his large-scale murals around town, Shaun is known to add smaller murals in tucked away places as a sort of artistic Easter egg bonus. This one resides just a few steps away from Mac Truque's Midnight City, hidden around a corner, behind Burrito Gallery.
13. Floating Land by Shaun Thurston
215 N Laura St
Another Shaun Thurston gem, Floating Land resides peacefully above Chamblin's Uptown - a beloved downtown staple. The super chill bookstore also boasts a unique Cafe with a variety of food and drink options. Vegan choices are available as well.
14. Untitled by Phlegm
140 W Monroe St.
Known for his signature style that incorporates an incredible amount of detail, Phlegm chooses to leave the interpretation of the meaning of his art to the observer.
“…like all my wall work the imagery comes from comics I storyboard in my sketchbooks. I then paint the wall with a single frame. That way walls become moments from my untold stories.” Quote Reference
15. Untitled by David Petroni
123 N Julia St
At 90 feet high, "La Verdad No Tiene Forma" translates to " the truth doesn't have a shape"
16. A Sleeping Buddha by Cal Oglesby
118 N Julia St
17. Danger of Extinction by Waone Interesni Kazki
325 West Forsyth Street
Kazki, known for his vintage-feel ink illustrations translates his technique into a large format for “Danger of Extinction”. The piece aims to raise awareness about the North Atlantic whales, which are one of the most endangered of all large whales and are on the verge of extinction. Since females migrate to coastal waters of Jacksonville during winter to birth their young, the artist chose them as the subject matter for this piece.
18. Detroit Moves by Kenor
325 West Forsyth Street
Kenor, a Barcelona DJ, and Artist is often inspired by music. Detroit Moves mirrors the energetic and somewhat fragmented nature of Detroit techno.
19. Untitled by Martin Ron
810 W Adams St
20. Water Lines by Bisco Smith / “Rainbow Unicorn” (Artist/Title Unknown)
142 Madison St
You’re done! Now head home, get freshened up and come back to the city center to check out all the cool non-mural things to do in the area.
Do you know of any more amazing street art in the Urban Core that belongs on this list? Let us know what else to add by tagging a pic of your favorite murals with #FrayLife #JaxFray on social!
Want to take in a movie instead of spending the day walking around town? Check out our favorite theaters in Jax!
View More Articles By Jihan Grant
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