Jax Artist Studios in Jeopardy
- June 12, 2023
On Tuesday, May 16th, nineteen local artists who rented studio spaces at 800 W. Monroe Street were given their 30-Day Notice to Vacate. This came with no warning or at no fault of the artists themselves. They have until June 16th to find new studio spaces to continue working.
Many of the artists who were evicted depend on their studio spaces to make a living. They are now scrambling to find new spaces that are affordable and that will allow them to continue creating art.
The rising costs of renting retail and industrial spaces across the city have made it difficult for local artists to find affordable studio space. Out-of-town hedge funds and large conglomerates are often able to outbid local artists for these spaces.
The nineteen artists who were evicted are now turning to their community for help. They have started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $25,000 for a deposit and expenses towards relocation.
If the $25,000 goal is not met, or if property cannot be secured at this time, any raised money will be divided equally among the Jax Art Studio artists to help them with the costs of this unexpected move.
The Art Center Cooperative, Inc. has also put a deposit on space for studios, but it has to be upgraded before it is ready. The artists of Monroe need immediate studio space and want to rent their own property with a longer lease.
Duval Has A Culture Deficit
When speaking to the evicted artists the consensus was that half of the artists work regular 8 hour jobs and then whatever is left is spent ideally going to a dedicated space to work on commissioned art. Finding spaces that are affordable and with good air conditioning that preserves the art is very difficult in Jacksonville.
There’s an issue with the demand to accommodate the need. Unfortunately some artists have parted ways and are choosing cities that have more non profit organizations that anchor their artists to earn a living.
The Art Center Cooperative, Inc. has been struggling to find studio space for all of its artists since the eviction from Union Street Terminal Warehouse because of development. The Art Center had a plan for a large facility in liaison with a large company in Jacksonville, but the costs associated with developing the space became too substantial.
The Art Center has since found a new location on Market Street, but the landlords are bringing the property up to code. The Art Center was devastated by the eviction from Monroe Street and hopes that the community will help the artists find a new home.
There is such a need for affordable creative spaces in this city. If you love art, believe in community, or are tired of the little guy getting beat up, please donate to the GoFundMe campaign to help these artists find a new place to create.
Local artists help define the culture to define the city by its visual, architectural, and often social commentary that can inspire a multitude of future generations of Duval artists. Let’s continue to do our utmost to keep the talent in the Bold City of the South.