The Southlight Collaborative was founded in 2009 by local Architect, Michael Dunlap, and Artists Jim Draper and Mark Howard, as a space where local and emerging artists may exhibit and sell their own work without incurring a gallery commission. The majority of our esteemed members are Jacksonville’s leading artists, each with more than 30 years of experience. Half of our members have been current or retired art professors from the University of North Florida, Florida State College of Jacksonville, and local art teachers from Bolles, Stanton and Douglas Anderson School for the Arts.
A+ Volunteer Team
All we have achieved has been through the efforts of a 100% volunteer team of managing artists and a total of 43 college students through our highly coveted internship program.
The Southlight Gallery is heralded as one of Jacksonville’s prominent fine art galleries. In fact, we are named Jacksonville’s “Best Gallery” in Folio Weekly’s annual Best of Jax poll. Since 2014 we have enjoyed a resounding response to our juried Summer Guest Series, with over 200 local artists participating. Last May we joined FSCJ South to co-host the first “South by Southlight”, a juried exhibition that culled the largest response to a call to artists in the history of their Wilson Center for the Arts Gallery.
For the past seven years, Southlight Gallery, Northeast Florida’s premiere artists’ collaborative, has showcased the works of 52 select local art professionals. We have curated 117 fine art exhibitions, including 8 annual UNF student and faculty shows since UNF ArtSpace joined us. Our popular monthly ArtWalk openings that have featured over 100 local performing artists in the areas of music, theater and dance. We have also served as private event venue for organizations such as United Way, St. Johns Riverkeeper, Duval County Communities and Schools and a range of corporate sponsored events.
Southlight has occupied four key downtown locations during the past seven years, ranging from 3500 to 6000 square feet. We have helped to boost the revitalization of downtown Jacksonville by attracting full-time leases to all the spaces we have held. The vacancy sitting option has dwindled to run down spaces away from the Art Core. While our current interim space in the lobby of the Bank of America Tower is attractive, its minimal size does not adequately showcase all of our members and cannot offer the events and programs that Southlight excels in sponsoring.
A Place for Us
After our latest gallery was leased, we decided to reorganize and seek support in obtaining a long-term space in the Art Core where we belong. We are seeking a facilities grant to create a home for Southlight alongside MOCA on Duval Street in the undeveloped first floor of the city parking garage. With the aid of additional funding, we will fill the space with even more member and guest artists. We will also house more artist studios, offer advanced event planning and establish an official Artists Atelier where our educators will offer lectures, studios, classes and workshops intended to draw students and visitors of all ages from Jacksonville and beyond.
A Call to Action
We are fortunate to have the praise of advocates from the City of Jacksonville, the Downtown Investment Authority, Office of Economic Development, the Jacksonville City Council, Downtown Vision and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. We are calling to action all those who are willing to help Southlight move forward as a place where local artists may thrive while expanding our efforts to serve as the best resource for local artists in the city.
Want to know more? Contact us.