Where a dilapidated, junk filled warehouse once stood, a stunning new arts and events venue is opening in Jacksonville next month. While renovators aren’t typically considered artists, the transformation of Space 42 has been so dramatic and comprehensive, it feels like an artistic achievement has occurred. What was once a dingy, blank concrete block filled with old cars, rat tunnels, and junk, is now a modern, bright exhibition space — a work that required so much vision and foresight, it’s hard to compare it to anything other than a work of art.
Art is at the center of the new space located at 2670 Phyllis Street Jacksonville, Florida 32204. Creating a space to host art events and house their technology business Ijhana is what first compelled Michelle and Kevin Calloway and their partners James and Charity Higbe to begin looking for warehouse spaces around Jacksonville.
“We wanted to find a new headquarters for Ijhana to work out of since its relocation from Los Angeles to Jacksonville. But we also wanted a space where we could support the art culture and host events.” Michelle said.
Originally they were looking for something much smaller than the 22,000 square feet of Space 42. Their original plan was to use any additional space for installation pieces and events. However, when downtown didn’t work out, they began to look in other parts of Jacksonville.
“We knew we wanted to be somewhere that was a part of the urban core but maybe under-recognized. A place where we could really impact the community,” Kevin said.
By chance, they found the warehouse that is now Space 42. When they first saw it, they could see the potential for something even bigger than they had originally imagined.
“The space was in dire need of help and the vision of what it could be was the reason we said yes to such a large undertaking,” said James.
For the team, there was no sitting around or talking about the building’s potential. Instead, as soon as they closed on the site, they got to work. On day one, they were gutting the building of its junk, knocking down walls, and cleaning out rat holes. They worked 12 hours a day, almost every day, stopping only to eat and pick their children up from school. In total, they hauled off five industrial dumpsters over 30 days, transforming the space in less than two months.
“This initial phase is only the beginning, we have a long way to go before the building is completed. We are excited to see the transformation from start to finish,” said Charity.
The hard work was worth the effort. Now where rusting sheet metal once stood, there is open space, natural light and striking red beams. While the Calloway’s prepare to move in their pieces and begin setting up their business, they have already planned their first exhibition to kick off the space on April 28 with NYC-based artist Michael Alan.
“My philosophy behind the gallery at Space 42 has attracted international and national artist to the space. We see the importance of building global brands for our artist and inspiring them to dream big and think beyond their perceived limitations,” Kevin said.
With international artists like Michael Alan, Jonathan Cox and Luis Sanchez already set to exhibit at the venue, it’s easy to now imagine the potential that Space 42 holds. Thankfully, the team possessed the foresight to see the end result while their canvas was still blank.
Find out more about their first event with artist Michael Alan here.