Art Escapes the Canvas

By: Tiziana Onstead


Art isn’t solely paintings of fruit and old portraits hung in quiet museums. Art is alive and takes any form the mind molding it opts to create.

“Yeah, that’s my crazy brain,” said Mary Ratcliff, a resident artist at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, as she explained her latest project.

Ratcliff is creating a life size house with a door visitors can walk through. But she isn’t constructing this structure with wood and nails—she’s using yarn.

The yarn, donated from the local communities and by people as far away as Ohio, is held together by a series of knots that resemble a staircase.

“The idea is to support yourself as you climb the staircase,” said Ratcliff. A metaphorical description behind the bonding and growth of individuals and the communities they are a part of.

Ratcliff’s display will be unveiled on MOCA’s fifth floor in December. But traditional museums aren’t the only place to experience art in Jacksonville.

Crystal Floyd creates and displays art at CoRK Art Studios, named after its location at the corner of Rosselle and King streets in Riverside. CoRK was originally a group of warehouses, but was converted to an art space in 2011.

“Anybody doing something good for this community, we want to have a space for them to work together,” said Floyd.

And that’s exactly what CoRK does.

The studios began with only eight artists using the space to create, but has since grown to around 70. The growth, according to Floyd, allows for the intermingling of ideas in the creative process. But, it’s not just a place for creators.

CoRK hosts various art shows throughout the year that not only invite the public, but also encourage their involvement and interaction. The studios also host two open house events each year that showcase all of CoRK’s artists and their work.

Both MOCA and CoRK highlight their upcoming events online, but given CoRK’s do-it-yourself attitude, some shows are better found through flyers in Riverside.