Local Arts Group Splinters Over Funding Usage

By Benjamin Cox on August 23, 2021 at 1:03pm

A photo of the former Jenkins Education Complex now owned by Ryan Turner after the campus' auction.

An area arts group hoping to bring an Arts Center to Jacksonville has splintered. According to a press release today, the Jacksonville Center for the Arts has had its president, treasurer, and secretary resign from the Jacksonville Center for the Arts group.

The group had been working for the last four years to bring a civic center for the arts near Downtown Jacksonville.

The Center for the Arts Board was scheduled to meet tonight. According to the press release, President Dr. Susan Weller, Treasurer Josh Mariage, Secretary Sonie Smith have all resigned amid a remaining group of members wishing to dissolve the JCA organization and distribute funds raised to other causes. According to the release, this is an effort that Dr. Weller and those who have resigned oppose.

In return, Dr. Weller and four former JCA board members have formed an alternative non-profit group known as Jax Civic Center. The release says it is trying to secure the funds previously raised by the JCA to use it in accordance with donor wishes to create a Civic Center. The newly created group has already been designated at 501 C 3 non-profit in the state.

The new group has also entered into an exclusive agreement with Ryan Turner to renovate and occupy a large portion of the former Jenkins Education Complex at the former MacMurray College Campus. The release today says that the project will require $2 million less in a fundraising need to complete the idea of the Civic Center.