JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville artist is using her talent to bring comfort to families who lost loved ones.
Jodesha Balwin held a “pop-up” museum on the city’s Southbank this week with paintings that each tell a story.
Baldwin lets a pencil and paint do the talking.
“To raise awareness and to bring closure,” she said.
It is closure to families who lost loved ones over the years in Duval County. The stories and faces of those who died are painted on big, broad pallets.
Baldwin put them on display for people in the city to become informed.
This week Baldwin had a pop-up museum beneath the overpass that leads to the Main Street Bridge on Jacksonville’s Southbank. It was across the street from Treaty Oak Park on Prudential Drive.
“The families are so hurt,” Baldwin said. “They just really want closure, especially for the gun violence victims. They want closure.”
In this particular case, there were nine different stories with various colors used in the paintings that had specific meanings.
For example, the orange pallets highlighted victims of gun violence.
That included people like Rashaud Fields, who was gun downed at a graduation party just hours after he graduated from Raines High School in 2022.
Darnell Wilson was a father of three who was shot and killed in February 2022 in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood.
There was a shade of purple for Jamarion Lee who drowned in a retention pond on the city’s west side back in 2016. He was just 6 years old.
Other portraits told the stories of people who died from breast cancer and a drug overdose.
“I really want to be able to find more families,” Baldwin said. “The more families I will be able to find, the more stories I will be able to tell, and the more I will be able to bring closure to the families.”
She recently painted portraits to honor the three victims of the Dollar General Shooting in Grand Park.
Baldwin started drawing and eventually painting when she was just 9 years old after her mother was murdered.
“When my mom was murdered, I did not have a coping mechanism,” she said. “I started drawing. I found out that drawing was my coping mechanism.”
Now, Baldwin hopes what is shown on those pallets gives peace to others dealing with grief.
She started the “Everyone Has A Story” organization two years ago.
Baldwin wants to do another “pop-up” museum within the next two months.
The next one will be focused on victims of car crashes, despite the scenario.
If you want your loved one’s story told, you can contact Baldwin by reaching the EHAS Organization by calling 904-554-0752 or emailing [email protected].
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