Writer – Michael Bicek
Jacksonville, FL – Dr. Mary Hinson, a Florida State College at Jacksonville Art Professor, enjoys giving back to the community in a way in which she knows best — Art. Dr. Hinson’s latest creation is a collaboration with Aarion “Slim” Williams, the owner of Durkeeville and Co., a shop located just north of downtown. Dr. Hinson puts the actual completion of the mural in her students hands as a class project turned into a community one.
“I want to help revitalize the community and clean it up a bit”, said Williams on his motivation to put up a mural, “I live around here”.
Williams, a native of St. Ann’s, Jamaica, is a former student from FSCJ who took his education and used it to help revitalize his community by providing a friendly atmosphere along with delicious food, that will service his neighborhood for years to come. Inspired by New York City’s many bodegas, the spanish word for grocery store, Williams was drawn to the idea of one-stop place that could service many needs, to include a kitchen and possible lounge, and keep customers coming back.
The mural can be seen on the west side of the building, located at North Myrtle Avenue and West 8th Street. On the east side of the building stands another mural that was created back in 1997. One student in Dr. Hinson’s class, Karen Davis, has been helping to rejuvenate the other mural since she was six years old. Students also helped breathe new life into the older mural while also putting up a new one.
“I think it’s really great, I grew up in schools right down the street and it’s great to see a school on the other side of town come and see how it is over here, and wanting to help make it better”, said Davis when asked her thoughts on Dr. Hinson and FSCJ’s community outreach.
Dr. Hinson’s and William’s mural covers about five feet by eight feet and is a depiction of Williams and his family standing in their storefront with many fresh fruits and vegetables on display around them. The mural itself only took a mere hours to complete but the preparation work took much longer.
“All the preparation work took about fifteen hours to complete, along with the help of about twenty students”, said Dr. Hinson on the time it takes to complete a mural this size. She provided the paint and supplies to be used for the project.
After speaking with Dr. Hinson about her work, reaching out to the community and being a part of a bigger picture, is worth every minute of her time. Being able to give something that not everyone is gifted at doing, but will be equally enjoyed, in her artwork that will last as long as the paint lets it.