Architect and sculptor David Engdahl received The Community Foundation’s Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures Award. The award, which includes a $10,000 unrestricted grant, recognizes an artist whose work brings distinction to Northeast Florida, and is named for the late Ann McDonald Baker, whose leadership helped create and nurture such vital cultural gems such as The Community Foundation’s Art Ventures Fund, the Arts Assembly (now the Cultural Council) and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, among others. The award was presented at a private reception in February.
A sculptor since 1971, Engdahl has exhibited works in more than twenty states, including nine solo exhibitions. In Jacksonville, countless residents and travelers have seen his signature high-flying wooden sculptures, ‘Ascent’ and ‘Descent,’ which were suspended above the escalators at Jacksonville International Airport from 1980-1989; they now reside at Florida State College at Jacksonville’s South Campus. His 2004 installation, ‘Migration of the Paper Airplanes,’ hangs over the moving sidewalks at the Jacksonville International Airport parking garage. Engdahl has generously contributed his artistic vision to numerous community endeavors for decades. Currently, he is spearheading the downtown Haskell Sculpture Initiative, comprised of ten major sculptures privately funded by Preston Haskell and other community philanthropists.
“David’s breathtaking artistry, combined with his generosity of spirit and commitment to the local arts community, made him an outstanding candidate for the Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures Award,” noted Nina Waters, president of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. “We are truly lucky to have him in our midst, and equally fortunate to have the Baker family continue Ann McDonald Baker’s dream of a vibrant local arts community where talented individuals can thrive and share their talents with their fellow citizens.”
For more than 25 years, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida has invested in the local cultural community as part of an exceptional initiative known as Art Ventures. In 1989, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) offered Jacksonville a $200,000 gift, provided that The Community Foundation and (at the time) The Arts Assembly work together to raise $400,000 in matching funds.
The Art Ventures Fund provides support for the more fragile part of the arts community—emerging individual artists and small arts organizations—and has provided more than $1 million in grants to individuals and small arts organizations since its inception. In 2015, the Ann McDonald Baker Art Ventures Award was created to honor the late Ann Baker, who led the initial Art Ventures fundraising with Courtenay Wilson, and who chaired The Community Foundation Board of Trustees from 2002-2003.