Arts and Culture can Unite and Brand a Community by Cultivating a Shared Aesthetic Experience

The development of language allows people to come together for the common good. That unity makes communities possible, and leads to an abundance of resources, security, and a solid sense of identity. But without a common language, it’s impossible for people to communicate in a way that leads them to the ideas and solutions that improve their quality of life.

Conceptualized and founded by organizers Mark Creegan and Chaz. Bäck, ACE Tours develops and presents Adaptive Cultural Experiences (ACE) that are shared uniquely throughout Jacksonville, Florida.

From traditional art exhibitions staged in singularly site-specific styles to standalone pieces and installations, our work focuses on the presentation process to create arts and cultural experiences that can be experienced in multiple ways and at multiple sites. We believe this process can maximize the kind of common thread that helps build a shared visual and emotional vocabulary.

The sheer size of Jacksonville is a unique branding element of our city. But it can also be challenging for residents. We explore the very real likelihood that consistent cultural exhibitions can help unify Jacksonville’s many communities.

No one should miss out on great art and culture because they live too far away from an exhibition for it to be a fun and convenient experience. We believe that locally touring exhibits promote a more integrated cultural identity for the city and for the people of Jacksonville.   

Meet the ACE Tours People

Mark Creegan
Co-Founder & Organizer

Mark alternates between various media such as painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, installation, and performance. Underlying his incredibly diverse practice is a thoughtful exploration of abstract form, repetitive mark-making, color, humor, and use of found and discarded materials. Hairnets, shark’s teeth, used watercolor sets and combs are just some of the diverse array of objects he employs into minimalist arrangements or large-scale installations which are often used as spaces for performative actions. Mark’s paintings are grouped into two categories: multi-layered abstraction on various textured fabrics, or hard-edged abstract paintings on wood panels (the “dopey-formalism” series). He currently lives in Jacksonville, Florida and received an MFA from Florida State University.

Chaz. Bäck
Co-Founder & Organizer

Chaz. is a Duval native artist and arts advocate active in the community, in multiple artistic disciplines, for more than 35 years. As Folio Weekly’s longtime Art Director and Production Manager (12/94 thru 4/98 & 1/15 thru 3/18), he’s visually told some of the great stories in NEFL by designing and creating covers, layouts and original art for 350 or so issues.  A force in local and regional journalism, publishing, and design for decades, Chaz. has worked in publishing and the arts since he was 15 at newspapers, magazines and advertising agencies, including founding and managing a successful interactive marketing and publishing company for over a decade. Chaz. was the principal and co-curator in two local art galleries and has curated arts & cultural exhibitions in a number of other spaces.

The ACE Tours Inspiration

Artists and arts communities have been hit hard by the unique and dangerous challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, we’ve learned that the art and cultural exhibition process must be able to adapt fluidly to a myriad of environmental challenges.

In order to remain vital and relevant, exhibitions must innovate to create effective, enriching and enjoyable experiences while, at the same time, providing a high level of health and safety to attendees, organizers, workers and volunteers.

ACE Tours creates Adaptive Cultural Experiences (ACE) through an organically evolving process. Our mission is to develop increasingly effective and safe solutions for presenting the work of new, emerging and mid-career artists to as wide an audience as possible.

Our primary goals are:

  • Creating dynamic and impactful art and cultural exhibitions in safe and healthy environments
  • Utilizing scientifically established best practices, in concert with any emerging safety standards and creative people-moving concepts, in new and creative ways that add excitement and value to the exhibition experience for our attendees
  • Developing processes and protocols, over time, to improve the attendee experience, and increase the level of safety for all involved

This project is made possible in part by funding from The JAX Arts Project, sponsored by the PNC Foundation in partnership with the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. Special Thanks to the City of Jacksonville Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services.

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