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Reserve Our Art Gallery For Your Next Special Event

jacksonville art gallery

Yes, we have not one but two art galleries that can be rented for your special event!

One contains our permanent art exhibits while the other one highlights the best work of local artists, such as this exhibit: “The Road Well Traveled: Celebrating the Art and History of Florida’s Highwaymen.” These galleries can be ideal event venues for weddings, reunions, showers, wine tastings, professional training meetings, meditation classes, and other occasions when you want a unique, unforgettable environment.

Benefits of Viewing Art

“Art can take us on a journey to faraway lands or into the distant past. It can conjure strong emotions and deep thoughts, or simply dazzle us with its visual brilliance. Everyone’s reaction to art may be different, but its ability to impact us is unquestioned.” (Ashford University)

When you have the opportunity to see a beautiful piece of art, your brain releases the chemical that also flows when you fall in love. When this chemical, dopamine, surges into the brain, you experience feelings of significant pleasure—and, when people were shown paintings like The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, for example, this brain chemical was immediately triggered.

Another study showed how people who visited an art gallery on their lunch break returned to work feeling less stressed. After just a 35-minute visit, their brains had lower concentrations of the stress hormone, cortisol. Yet another one studied the benefits of visiting a museum, including psychological well-being and mental restoration.

When viewing art, we’re trying to make sense of the shapes on the canvas. But, because of an intriguing concept called “embodied cognition,” the experience goes way beyond simply studying shapes. This causes our brains to place ourselves within the piece of art itself. How? Neurons in your brain can view the “action, movement, and energy” in a piece of artwork; the longer the piece is viewed, the more that you begin to place yourself into the scene and feel corresponding emotions.

People who have looked at a Jackson Pollock drip painting, for example, can begin to feel as though they are the ones flinging paint, while viewers of a desert landscape can sense hot sun, hear and feel soft breezes and so forth. The more you engage in a painting, the more that the experience of embodied cognition allows you to appreciate the art you’re seeing.

The National Institutes of Health, meanwhile, notes how “receptive and creative cultural activities” have been associated with numerous positive effects, including:

  • good health
  • good satisfaction with life
  • low anxiety
  • low depression

A Look at Specific Demographics

“Museums offer a dynamic opportunity to expose children to experiences and explore new things in a rich and educational environment. Through interactive exhibits and hands-on play, children have the ability to take ownership of their own learning and develop and explore their own curiosities. This unique exposure provides the foundation for creativity, critical thinking, and connection to the world around them.” (Sara Choi, Education Program Manager, Zimmer Children’s Museum)

When children are given opportunities to view art as part of a field trip, they can benefit in numerous ways. These include high recall about their experiences, greater appreciation and an understanding of diverse ideas, people, places and times in history, increased tolerance, and an increased interest in art museums.

LiveScience.com, meanwhile, reviews research that focuses specifically on men, and this is a conclusion: “Men who enjoy taking in the ballet or browsing art museums are more likely to be happy with their lives and satisfied with their health than men who don’t enjoy the finer things in life, a new study finds.”

As just one more example from a much bigger body of research about the benefits of art, one doctor who works with people with Alzheimer’s has found that, through drawing, patients can regain memories. He says that, through this form of art therapy, he’s had a 70 percent success rate in improved memories.

Here’s the bottom line: simply being around art can be highly beneficial for people of all ages.

Enjoying an Art Exhibit

Here’s the beauty of it all! You can’t do it wrong. Some people enjoy strolling around, taking in the big picture, while others are more of the “slow art” mindset where they’ll gaze at one particular piece of art for a period of time.

It’s also okay if, sometimes, you view art one way and then try it a different way next time. One woman, who wasn’t used to looking at a piece of art for a longer amount of time, was amazed by the experience when she tried it. The painting being viewed consisted of bands of color, specifically, red, orange, and yellow. After she viewed it for a while, the hues began to “swarm and pulsate.” She could envision new colors emerging from the painting “as if layers of paint were revealing themselves to me.”

Most pieces of art, she believes, have been created for people to intuitively enjoy—and part of the enjoyment, at least for her, is to put off reading the plaque that describes a particular painting. Instead, she first enjoys simply speculating.

Why an Art Gallery Can Be an Ideal Event Venue

art gallery event venue rental

After reading about all of these amazing benefits of viewing art, it can be tempting to book a gallery, just to enjoy what’s been described. If so, we understand! Choosing a gallery as an event venue automatically creates a different type of experience for attendees, which can be highly enjoyable all by itself. If you’re tired of renting bland, impersonal rooms for your family or corporate events—or large, elaborate ones that lack any sense of intimacy—an art gallery can make a marvelous change.

And, as our quick review of the benefits of viewing art clearly shows, being surrounded by pieces of art makes us feel good. This is the perfect setting for feeling inspired and creative, too. Paintings and other forms of artistry make excellent conversation starters, providing fodder for thoughtful discussions and creating built-in entertainment.

This is also an outstanding way to support artists who want their work to be seen by greater numbers of people.

About Our Galleries

The Jack Mitchell Gallery and the Lee Adams Florida Artists Gallery are located in the Mary Ward Huntley Wing of the Thrasher Horne Center. During our inaugural season, Mary Ward Huntley—a local philanthropist—helped to create our two visual arts galleries, which are located adjacent to our Main Stage lobby.
She donated a large number of original works by local painter Lee Adams to our permanent collection and chose to name one of our two art exhibit areas the Lee Adams Florida Artists Gallery in his honor. We use this gallery to showcase the work of local Florida artists who use multiple artistic mediums.
The other art exhibit area, the Jack Mitchell Gallery, is named after the famous late photographer from New York. This space is located at the front of the Huntley wing, and it showcases professional photography from local and national artists alike. Thanks to a generous donation by Mr. Mitchell, a significant number of his celebrity portraits and notable photographs are now part of the Thrasher Horne permanent collection.
Plus, after the passing of Mary Ward Huntley’s husband, Louis, she established a Florida artists fund to provide financial support towards the stunning visual art exhibits that are displayed each year.

Art Gallery Event Rental at Thrasher Horne

lee adams art galleryIf you’d like to see these art galleries, both are free and open to the public on Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and during most performances.

To help, here are some measurements:

  • Lee Adams Gallery has:
    • 1,217 sq. ft. space
    • more than 126 linear feet of wall space
    • perimeter walls that are fourteen feet tall below the soffit
    • three moveable wall sections in the center of the room with the following dimensions; 1@ 1’6”L x6’W x16’H, 2 @ 1’6”L x6’W x12’H
    • 12’ walls can be moved anywhere within the room, while the 16’ wall must remain in the center area
  • Jack Mitchell Gallery has:
    • 950 sq. ft. space
    • more than 106 linear feet of wall space
    • perimeter walls that are ten feet tall
    • central triangular wall section measuring 7’x 7’x 10’ x 8’H
    • no movable walls

Both art exhibit spaces have audio connections and piped-in music availability. As far as lighting:

  • Lee Adams Gallery has:
    • overhead LED track lighting optimized for a 3’ pool of light along the outside walls
    • basic lighting provided by recessed can lights in the soffit
    • additional lighting effects with advanced notice
  • Jack Mitchell Gallery has:
    • overhead LED track lighting optimized for a 2’ pool of light along the outside walls
    • basic lighting provided by recessed can lights in the soffit

You can also call to schedule a private viewing or to book your upcoming special event. Simply call (904) 276-6815, ext. 7, to speak with Technical Director Jan-Hein Phelps.

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Located at St. Johns River State College
283 College Drive
Orange Park, FL 32065
904.276.6815

Box Office Hours: Monday through Thursday from 11 AM - 3 PM
We are also open one hour prior to showtime on event nights.

Email us at boxoffice@sjrstate.edu