Transformation on Tap for Florida Courthouse Plaza

By Lisa Kopochinski

 JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Community meetings have begun in Jacksonville, Fla., for those interested in voicing their artistic visions for the Duval County Courthouse Plaza.

According to an article in the Florida Times-Union, at present only a few trees and a green expanse of lawn decorates the outside of the Duval County Courthouse plaza. The aim is to have the three-acre area filled with more color in the upcoming months.

Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places, managed by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, has launched a new program called The Duval County Courthouse Plaza that will transform the grassy space into an area where people can be surrounded by art.

“It will make a new positive, civic space for downtown Jacksonville as a location where people can enjoy themselves or just simply relax in a revitalized area that brings them inspiration,” said Public Art Program for the Cultural Council Director Glenn Weiss in a statement.

The city’s APP Ordinance is providing $619,000 for this unique project. The ordinance requires that 0.75 percent of the original courthouse construction budget is dedicated to public art.

A stakeholder group consisting of 15 people—recommended by the Mayor’s Office for their roles in civic and art leadership—has been appointed by the APP committee.

Weiss told local media there are numerous opportunities that may arise as a result of this project. The space could serve as a location for activities and events or simply showcase artwork. Regardless, he said the updated plaza will benefit the larger Jacksonville community.

“It is a large county facility that represents all of us. The project represents a new civil image that we can all be proud of.”

He added that the group is developing the project by consulting members of the public, looking at the opportunities available and analyzing the costs of improvements. Residents are encouraged attend community engagement meetings to contribute their perspectives on the project. Art leaders will take all input into consideration and then design the lawn.

Designs such as flowering shrubs, play areas, sculptures and water features are just some of the choices. There is also the opportunity to choose a specific theme for the space—whether it be justice-related in honor of the courthouse or otherwise. Residents can also decide to simply create an assemblage of art that does not fit into any specific category.

More information on community meetings can be found at

This fall, art leaders will be begin working on this project, which is tentatively slated for completion by 2022.