By Brittany Cohill
Mandarin Museum will host an evening with artist Brenda Councill on Thursday, Nov. 9. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will begin at 6 p.m. and the program will begin at 7 p.m. The event is in partnership with and will be held at Mandarin Community Club, 12447 Mandarin Road.
With a career spanning 50 years, Brenda Councill made a name for herself in Jacksonville with her popular series of limited edition prints and drawings of historic Mandarin homes and sites. Councill moved to the area in 1962 and grew up in Mandarin. She developed a love for painting at an early age. At seven, she displayed an exhibition of her work at the Jacksonville Museum of Arts and Sciences (present-day MOSH) and at 11, Councill designed and supervised the installation of her first outdoor piece. As a young adult, her work was featured on NBC’s Today Show in a segment with Gene Shalit.
It was Councill’s interest in historic preservation that led to her series of award-winning prints and drawings featuring familiar landmarks including the Coleman House and the Mandarin Dock. The late Mandarin artist Charlie Brown praised the collection: “I have seen many, many pencil drawings in my long life, but never anything to compare with a magnificent drawing by Brenda Councill.”
She opened a second studio in New York in the 1980s, exploring diverse mediums including painting, sculpture, and mixed media. Now internationally known, her work is in corporate, private, and public collections in the United States and around the globe.
The last two decades have ushered in a focus on large-scale public art. In 2009, Councill completed the largest contemporary dome ceiling mural in the Southeast United States at the North Carolina Research Campus. Spanning 2,500 square feet, the mural features larger-than-life fruits, vegetables, and flowers — a nod to the Dole Nutrition Institute housed beneath the spectacular creation. When Martha Stewart visited the campus with its founder, David H. Murdock, she exclaimed “Ms. Councill is Michelle-angelo!”
As a longtime former resident of Mandarin, her heart has remained with the community she holds dear. Her current project focuses on creating the first and only life-sized sculpture of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Upon completion, it will be installed in Walter Jones Historical Park. A scale model of the proposed bronze sculpture is currently on display in the Stowe Gallery at Mandarin Museum.
Reservations for the Nov. 9 event are required with a suggested $10 donation per guest; visit https://mandarin-museum.square.site for reservations.
Photo courtesy Mandarin Museum
Brenda Councill installs the scale model of her Harriet Beecher Stowe bronze sculpture at Mandarin Museum.