LaVilla, the neighborhood that birthed the musical heritage of Jacksonville’s African Americans has opened an outdoor exhibition honoring that 120 year legacy through portraits by contemporary artists. The nine portraits included the likes or J. Rosamond Johnson, and MyVynne Betsch to Ray Charles among others.
The exhibition, on plywood panels will be in the window openings at 905 West Forsyth Street location near the old Lee & Cates building in the heart of LaVilla. Each painter picked a musician to paint and honor.
The Downtown Investment Authority owns the property which will soon be converted into downtown’s first independent grocery. The future operators promise a grocery store with a purpose: improve people’s lives and health. After renovation, the portraits will grace the interior of the grocery store.
The exhibition kick-off startes the reawakineing of Aficna Amerinca hsiroty in LaVilla through future developments such as Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park and historic markers on the Emerald Trail.
The painters were commissioned from Duval’s explosion of local talented public art painters: ColorJaxBlue artistTatiana K., Marsha Hatcher and Jarett Walker; Art League Artist: Krishna Achath, Rio David and Kevin Arthur; 8×10 Collective artist Grace B and Artists Collective artist Annelies Dykgraaf. All the musicians except Ray Charles were born and/or raised in Jacksonville. Ray Charles got his professional start at the Ritz Theater. Local portraits unveiled include: Yungeen Ace (1988 – ) Hip Hop Singer/Poet By Tatiana K; Paten Locke (1979-2019), Hip Hop Singer/Poet by Grace Bio; Jackie Moore (1946-2019), R&B Composer/Singer by Annelies Dykgraaf; Von Barlow (1943 – 2020), Jazz Drummer by Jennifer Veal; MaVynee Betsch (1935-2005), Opera Singer by Kevin Arthur; Ray Charles* (1930-2004), R&B Composer/Singer by Marsha Hatcher; Sam Jones (1924-1981), Jazz Bassist by Rio David; Blind Blake (1896-1934), Ragtime & Blues Singer by Jarett Walker and J. Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954), Operetta Composer/Singer by Krishna Achath