JACKSONVILLE, Fla., May 23, 2017 – Boston-based artist Ethan Murrow formed an immediate bond with Feeding Northeast Florida, the local food bank, following the creation of his piece titled ‘Plethora,’ on display in 2016 at Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Jacksonville, a cultural institute of the University of North Florida. This month, Murrow will return to Jacksonville to further grow their connection.
In March, MOCA Jacksonville named Murrow the 2017 Brooke and Hap Stein Emerging Artist Prize winner. The award is given annually to an artist from one of MOCA’s self-curated exhibitions whose work demonstrates a singular combination of talent, innovation and promise. Murrow will return to Jacksonville Wednesday, May 24, and Thursday, May 25, to participate in a number of programs related to his drawing, which probed at the luxury of a food supply but prevalent lack of access to fresh groceries throughout the United States.
The theme of ‘Plethora’ directly correlates to the mission of Feeding Northeast Florida. Murrow and MOCA Jacksonville staff will spend the morning of May 25 volunteering at Feeding Northeast Florida’s distribution center as a way to support the organization’s work. Along with donating his time to help sort food, Murrow is also gifting Feeding Northeast Florida with $1,000, his second monetary donation to the organization since being named the Stein Prize recipient.
“The creation of an artwork can be an important way to ask questions and start conversations and my hope was that ‘Plethora’ would encourage dialogue around access to food,” Murrow shared. “That said, discussion is completely different than action, so I am really pleased to support Feeding Northeast Florida and the vital and important work they do in the community every day.”
Hundreds of thousands of individuals in Northeast Florida are battling food insecurity, meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from. Feeding Northeast Florida rescues high-quality food from retailers that would have otherwise been thrown away. Volunteers sort the donated food and then it is distributed to 160 community partners including food pantries and religious organizations.
“Ethan Murrow’s drawing so clearly speaks to what we are working to accomplish at Feeding Northeast Florida,” said Luke Layow, president and CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida. “Each year, 70 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States. Hunger is not a supply issue – it’s a logistics issue. Last year, we rescued 15 million pounds of food and converted it into 12.3 million meals for hungry families, children, seniors and veterans in our community. The need is great – one in six people in Northeast Florida is food insecure. We are proud to have Murrow as a partner. He is helping us raise awareness of this critical issue.”
MOCA Jacksonville is thrilled to be able to collaborate with Feeding Northeast Florida and bring attention to the issue of food insecurity through art.
“Murrow’s wall drawing and continued efforts to raise awareness highlight how art is a thread tying together diverse initiatives in the community,” commented Museum Director Caitlín Doherty. “It is the role of MOCA Jacksonville to spearhead such dialogues now and moving forward.”
About Feeding Northeast Florida
Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEFL) is establishing food security in eight area counties – Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns – through a partnership with 160 hunger-relief agencies including food pantries and faith-based organizations. A member of Feeding America, FNEFL rescues good, high-quality food to be distributed to neighbors in need. In 2016, FNEFL distributed 12.3 million meals. With an estimated 283,000 in Northeast Florida relying on area food pantries and charitable organizations for food assistance each year – a number that has not changed much since the 2008 recession – FNEFL’s mission is even more critical today. To learn more about Feeding Northeast Florida, visit feedingnefl.org.
About MOCA Jacksonville
Founded in 1924 as the Jacksonville Fine Arts Society, MOCA Jacksonville is a nonprofit visual arts educational institution and a cultural institute of the University of North Florida located in the historic Western Union Telegraph building in the heart of downtown. MOCA Jacksonville serves the community and its visitors through its mission to promote the discovery, knowledge, and advancement of the art, artists, and ideas of our time. For more information, including hours of operation, admission prices, and upcoming exhibitions and programs, visit mocajacksonville.unf.edu or call 904-366-6911.