April 16, 2021

PRESS RELEASE – Friends of James Weldon Johnson Park Announces 2021 UNF Sculpture Project

Friends of James Weldon Johnson Park Announces 2021 UNF Sculpture Project


Friends of James Weldon Johnson Park and the UNF Sculpture Department are excited to announce the new installation of sculptures created by students.  The UNF Sculpture Project originally launched in 2019 as a collaboration between Friends of James Weldon Johnson Park and the UNF Sculpture Department and made possible from a generous donation from the Haskell Foundation.

The original installation included three student-made sculptures centered around the theme of local flora and fauna: “Sunshine Mimosa” by Stephen Maygar, “Histor-Tree” by Jennifer Peek and “Deer” by Olivia Warro. The intention was to display these for one year and get replaced by new students’ work each year until 2024. However, the pandemic forced UNF classrooms to close, leaving the students without a studio to work in. The new works are finally going to be installed at James Weldon Johnson Park beginning Friday, April 16th and continuing over the next few weeks.

“We love the opportunity to work with community partners to create real-life art opportunities for our students. We are grateful for the support and partnership!” UNF Sculpture Professor, Jenny Hager said.

The upcoming sculptures were centered around the theme of bridges, both literal and figurative, and include the following works:

  • “The Green Goddess” by Kori Sares (2021), Steel tubing sculpture
  • “Bold City Skyline” by Caelen Proctor (Fall 2020), ¼ plate steel and powder coated sculpture
  • “Aireachtáil spire” by Will Cobb (2021), Steel sheet and tubing sculpture

“This project is an exceptional venture for the students to create a sculpture on this scale and with this type of stage. Opportunities such as this can propel a young artist’s career in providing an experience that cannot be learned in a typical classroom environment.” Lance Vickery, UNF Sculpture Assistant Professor said.

The 2019 sculptures, however, may not be going away. Friends of James Weldon Johnson Park is planning a fundraising campaign to keep two of the original pieces. “Part of our mission is to bring vitality to the park,” said Liz McCoy, Executive Director, “and the student sculptures are a definitely a vibrant asset that I would love our patrons to enjoy for years to come!”

To learn more about the fundraiser, visit and make plans to visit the park for a “Sunshine Happy Hour” fundraiser on May 21, 2021 at 4pm.


About Friends of James Weldon Johnson Park

Friends of James Weldon Johnson Park (FOFJWJP), originally Friends of Hemming Park, is a non-profit organization created in 2014 with funding from the City of Jacksonville to revitalize the city’s first and most historic public park. Its mission is to transform James Weldon Johnson Park into a modern, urban space that engages diverse communities and restore vitality to our city’s public square. This is accomplished by adding and maintaining landscaping and amenities and providing daily programming. In its six and a half years of managing the park, FOJWJP has created a hospitable atmosphere with updated landscaping that is maintained daily, a kid zone, a sculpture garden, a food truck court, and live music performances during lunch hours, while still being compassionate towards our homeless population. Several weekends throughout the year, we offer family-friendly festivals that highlight people of all cultures, embrace history, and use the performing and visual arts as a tool to engage and educate our visitors.