Eastside Renewal Project
Bringing hope and renewal to the underserved East Jacksonville community is our main
focus at this time. Demographic data reveal Jacksonville’s Eastside to be ground zero for
neglect, high crime rates, unemployment, underemployment and health concerns for many
years. Its low-income population of 17,000 residents consists of approximately equal
numbers of men and women, among whom 80 percent are African American and 17
percent are Caucasian. Thirty-three percent of the population lives below the poverty line,
and 90 percent hold a high school degree or less.
Our goal is to create opportunities that will encourage residents, businesses and private
individuals to invest and reinvest in the Eastside’s urban renewal. We seek to improve the
character of our neighborhood and to restore a sense of pride among residents.
The Role of Creative Placemaking
Creative placemaking is about getting artists and designers, community culture groups,
arts research groups, cultural affairs offices, and arts organizations out of their silos and
into the neighborhoods and regions around them. It is the strategy we are pursuing to
reach our goal to renew and restore East Jacksonville through the arts.
We are currently working with partner organizations and seeking funding to enhance the
quality of life in East Jacksonville through Creative Placemaking projects.
Our initial project, for which we are seeking funding, is intended to transform the Eastside
by improving lighting and painting a mural called “Valley of the Kings” on the underpass
separating the Eastside from the entertainment district in Jacksonville. We are also
partnering with arts program in our local schools to create a “Welcome to East
Jacksonville” sculpture that displays our community pride and cultural heritage.
Our intention is to develop further mural projects to infuse art and design along the major
intersections, business corridors and blighted buildings so that they because prized
community assets. Through these efforts, we seek to restore hope among residents,
encourage restoration of homes and buildings and attract new business in the area.