By Angela Higginbotham

Founded by artist Craig Erskine, The Art League of Jacksonville has served a vital role in fostering the growth and spirit of the arts within the community. The non-profit organization offers a broad range of art centered educational programs for all ages. Providing affordable art lessons and promoting interaction, collaboration and exhibition opportunities for both professional artists and community members, the Art League has made a positive difference in many lives.

Artists can join in on many classes held throughout the week at one of the two locations. Classes can be found in the following specialties at the Burnett Park Community Center in Mandarin (3740 Burnett Park Road) or at the Murray Hill location near Riverside:

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Drawing – Charcoal, Pencil, Pastel, Ink & More
Printmaking – Drypoint, Zinc-plate, Copper, Plexiglass, Litho and Lino
Painting – Watercolor, Acrylics, Tempera, Oils & Mixed Media
Sculpture – Pottery, Clay, Stone, Plaster & Metal

A $10 finger drawing class is held on Sundays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

“We have held literally hundreds of classes ranging in different sizes. The larger classes are 20 – 25 students. We thrive on welcoming any community member with any type of experience in art. We want to help each artist grow through critiquing, so that everyone learns from one another and we have a very diverse student body of children through retired citizens,” said Murray Hill artist and teacher, William McMahan.

In an effort to service service all arts, the Art League is dependent upon artists around the community who are willing and able to teach, so that more classes can be offered. With county school budgets strained, a generation is left with few choices to attain proficient cultural arts education.

The Art League strives to help fill the gap in Duval and the surrounding counties. Giving back to the community by assisting with other non-profit organizations, and also helping within the public school system, is an endeavor that the Art League actively pursues on a regular basis.

“Our goal is to strengthen programming and also continue to maintain our teaching centers. We want to continue to reach people and living out Craig’s legacy. It’s very rewarding to watch an artist transition from a particular class to becoming a professional in their passion. We’ve even had art openings in Mandarin and a student sold a few pieces of their art, “ McMahan said.

Support and donations from the community are both vital in keeping the Art League of Jacksonville afloat and able to continue helping others. With a motto of “imagine and create,” the Art League encourages the community to imagine what can be created with your help.

For information on ways to become a member, donate, volunteer and for class information, visit or contact William McMahan at (732) 742-9237.

Photo courtesy Art League of Jacksonville

Students in teacher Scott Merrell’s class at the Burnett Park Center in Mandarin.


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