In the coming months, a plethora of beautiful, impactful art happenings are planned throughout Northeast Florida. Here are two that we’re jazzed on.

MOCA UNF Student Artist-in-Residence
Works by Jenn Peek
MOCA Jax | Downtown
A multidisciplinary artist studying for her B.F.A. at the University of North Florida, with a focus on sculpture, Jenn Peek is the current MOCA UNF Student Artist-in-Residence. Peek uses materials ranging from cast iron and steel fabrication and fiberglass to foam, fabric and ceramics to forge works that chronicle her nomadic life experiences.

Stop by her space on the fifth floor of the museum to see Peek’s art-making practice, live and in person. The culmination of her work during her residency will be her multimedia exhibit, (I)identify as Phoenix. It runs from December 14-April 12; opening reception for the public is held on January 9.

Portrait of Jordan Davis
Chip Southworth painting now in MOCA permanent collection
MOCA Jax | Downtown
When 17-year-old Jordan Davis was shot to death in a barrage of gunfire on November 23, 2012 at a gas station in Jacksonville – over the “loud music” allegedly played inside the car where Davis sat with his friends – his murder was a tragedy that created outrage and furor detonated by the death of yet another unarmed African-American teen, by way of rage delivered through gunfire.

Davis’ murder galvanized many. The Black Lives Matter Movement was born from Davis’ death, as well as inspiring a series of notable and award-winning documentaries that brought greater attention to his murder and the movement. Davis’ murder has been an ongoing a wake-up call for local, national, even global, movements that are loudly bringing the reality of race and gun violence to front and center. After Davis’ murder, Northeast Florida artist-activist Chip Southworth immediately focused his work on celebrating the Jacksonville teenager’s life and addressing his death through stark, impactful pieces. Now MOCA Jax has purchased a Southworth piece honoring Davis, entitled Portrait of Jordan Davis,  The painting joins a veritable roll call of crucial contemporary pieces, in their permanent collection. “Jordan’s story is important, it’s tragic, and part of the fabric of our city; it magnifies wounds, struggles and resilience,” says Southworth.  “I wanted to honor Jordan, his part in the Black Lives Matter movement, his family’s strength and perseverance. I wanted his beautiful face to confront, disarm, and inspire.” MOCA Director Caitlín Doherty sees the acquisition of the Southworth piece as having several benefits for Davis’ legacy, the museum and arts world, and greater overall community. “The addition of Portrait of Jordan Davis to MOCA’s Permanent Collection is important not only because it is a work by a significant artist of our region,” Doherty explains, “but also because it will provide generations of visitors an opportunity to connect directly with an issue crucial to the social fabric of our community and the nation.” The Jordan Davis Foundation is a non-profit founded by Ron Davis, Jordan’s father. Its mission is to provide financial assistance to foster travel and education opportunities for youth. “Being a part of MOCA’s permanent collection will give the Jordan Davis Foundation additional viewership in our diverse community to serve as a beacon of light for justice in the face of adversity,” says Davis. “The story of Jordan will especially bring awareness to our youth of the perils that lie in wait in today’s America.”

Other arts happenings we’re psyching on:
Maria Daitch’s “Coalesce & Undefine” @ Bold Bean Jax Beach
Maiya Elaine’s “Breach” @ Brew 5 Points
Shikeith’s “Imagining Flesh Through Shadows” @ JU
Through Our Eyes group show @ The Ritz Theatre and Museum
Alma Ramirez’s “By the Water” @ CAP
Jenny Hager-Vickery’s”Monumental Miniatures @ JIA
Madeleine Peck Wagner & Christine Chandler’s “Things of Flesh, Things of Spirit @ FSCJ 
Book Launch: Tim Gilmore’s Channeling Anna Fletcher @ Karpeles Manuscript Museum
Dustin Harewood’s “Warm Rain and Electricity” @ VyStar Tower
Lili Yuan’s “Carpe Diem” @ Bold Bean San Marco

These entries originally appeared as part of a feature called “The Art We’ll Need in 2019-2020” in Void Magazine Vol. 10, Issue 6.