You may have wondered what's the story behind The Looking Lab, and what it's all about. So I sat down with LoLa's creator and director, Joy Leverette, to get her to share the scoop!
ERICA: So, what inspired The Looking Lab?
JOY: Living in NY I was sorely spoiled by so much to see and do everywhere you look. That's why the many vacant properties in the city center here stood out to me like a sore thumb, just begging for something exciting to happen in there. At the same time, there didn't seem to be any artists living downtown. I wanted to do a performance piece about the need for live/work studios for artists where I'd 'live' behind the glass storefront. Then I heard about the Cultural Council's Spark Grant initiative, and decided to extend the concept to multiple artists activating multiple storefronts. The Looking Lab was born!"
"I discovered that several U.S. cities have similar programs like this, doing great things to stimulate local economies and revitalize urban areas. These inspired me and made me very hopeful about what a storefront art program could do for our city!"
Logos of various projects around the states: 1 - Storefronts Seattle, 2- No Longer Empty, and 3 - The Lab:Gallery, both in NYC.
Joy is a Jacksonville-based artist and performer, recently transplanted from Brooklyn, NY. Her work as a visual artist consists of different media: painting, video, and installation. Her performance work under the Sister Feathertoe project includes an art form called "paint-dancing," where she creates large-scale works on canvas through painting gestures to a free-style dance. Joy recently created multi-media performance events at Jacksonville's own Museum of Contemporary Art called, 'Painting with Sister Feathertoe: A Human Be-In & Go-Go' and 'COUNTDOWN: 1986.'
Working with Joy is an absolute pleasure. I've never met someone so passionate about bringing life back into downtown Jacksonville. I am beyond excited for Joy and The Looking Lab.
- Erica Mendoza