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The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is committed to engage and inspire through the arts, gardens and education. A permanent collection of nearly 5,000 works of art on a riverfront campus offers more than 95,000 annual visitors a truly unique experience on the First Coast. Nationally recognized education programs serve adults and children of all abilities.

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Art Around Town – The Circle of Life (sans singing lions)



By Kathleen Storey, Cummer Museum Intern

When one thinks of “The Circle of Life,” they automatically start singing the iconic Disney song. At least that’s what I do, but maybe I’m still just a kid at heart. However, to some artists, such as Sarah Crooks Flaire, it means so much more than the theme song to a movie about singing desert animals. It means the ever evolving world around us: the beauty and diversity of all living things.

In her piece entitled, “Circ de Vie” (Circle of Life), Flaire explores the idea of the circle of life by using elements from the natural world. She created this piece using mixed media. It incorporates painted maple plywood three-dimensional cutouts, colored Plexiglas pieces and figurative drawings. This monumental piece, as Crooks Flaire herself describes it, involves the use of botanical imagery and the five elements (water, fire, earth, wind and space) and is made in such a way that it leaves much of the use of elements up the imagination of the viewer. Crooks Flaire describes her piece, as “a celebration of the diversity of life.”

Located above the entrance to the Mandarin Branch Library, this piece is the last in a series of public artworks for libraries that was funded by the Better Jacksonville Plan. So if you’re ever in the Mandarin area you should go to the library and see this piece and think of what it means to you. Also while you’re there, pick up a copy of The Lion King and bring the “Circle of Life” full circle. Pun intended.

Check out the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places Gallery for more great public art.

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