Food and Art

Food and art, what could be a better combination. Add a touch of music and you’ve got a day. Last weekend was  the Jacksonville GastroFest, at Hemming Park and the new Project Atrium opening. We decided that was a great two-fer.

We took the Skyway in and although it was a cloudy day, was happy to see a lot of people in the park.

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There were lots of the best restaurants in town represented, including our favorite chef in town – Dennis Chan from Blue Bamboo.


There were lots of other as well, all cooking up a storm.


One thing I like about GastroFest is that each of the restaurants prepares bite sized samples that sell in the $1 – $3 range. This make eating lunch more like “strolling tapas”. One of my little treats was a mini-fish taco.


There was also some educational aspects to GastroFest. Florence Haridan, Executive Director of Character Counts, was introducing some presentations on healthy foods.


As lunch ended, the sun started coming out and all the tents were going in top gear.


Now it was time to head over to MOCA, so catch Shinique Smith’s presentation about her new Project Atrium piece, called “Quickening”.


I really like the openings because they bring the artist into the MOCA theatre and have a little Q&A to talk about past work and how they created the piece for Project Atrium.


She talked about a lot of her past work, which started out with clothing bundles. She was creating pieced of tightly bundled bales of old clothing and even some performance piece where she bundled herself. The bundles were definitely a part of “Quickening”.


She expanded her interest in calligraphy to add flowing lined to her work. Flowing lines on the scale in the Atrium made for some interesting days since it all had to be done while on a hydraulic lift. Some of these flowing lines are of paint or ink, but she is also now incorporating things like mirrors into her work.


She finished her talk with a video of a art and performance piece, call Seven Moon Junction, that was done in Boston. She had done a very large outdoor mural and had a troupe of dancers, clothed in tunics she had created that captured images from the work, dance in front of the piece. Very contemporary.

She answered everyone’s question and we also had a nice conversation with her after the discussion. It’s great to be able to make contact with such interesting artists. We always want to say thanks to MOCA for the opportunity.


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