Paul Figura and his art inspired all of us to be not only more creative but also more generous, loving, and aspiring. April's Art Walk provides an opportunity to honor his commitment to excellence both as a photographer and as a person.
The lei, most commonly a garland of flowers, is worn as a celebration of life at times of loss in many cultures whose oceanic environment suggests the setting where Paul most found pleasure and peace. Please consider donning one in his memory if you attend Art Walk on Wednesday, April 2. Amy has received the gracious consent of Paul's family for him to be honored in this way.
How you can participate
If you want to be a part of this celebration, just come to Art Walk on Wednesday, April 2 sometime between 5 and 9 and wear a lei in Paul's honor. If you don't have one, come get one from us at our table outside of Visit Jacksonville (on Laura across from Chamblin's).Altogether we have several hundred garlands that we hope will send a strong message of love and appreciation to Paul, and we'll be distributing them at our table along with special cards that explain our purpose.
About the celebration
The purpose of the event is show strong support of Paul and make people aware of how much he meant to us. To that end, we'll be giving a card to everyone to whom we also give a garland that directs them to Amy's GetWellPaul.com website to learn more about him and potentially contribute to his family. It's like wearing a black armband or flying a flag at half-mast, only we want the effect to be clearly celebratory. My business partner Summer Wright, who owns a Yes You Canvas! studio in Orlando, eagerly offered to join me to help organize and carry out the April event after we canceled a hurried effort at March's Art Walk due to bad weather. Paul's effect on our community was too important to let such a simple opportunity for communal celebration pass by.
Why are we doing this?
Summer and I worked with Paul regularly during our years at the Dalton Agency. When I left to start my own business, Paul made a point of encouraging me by stopping by my studio and wishing me well. He was someone who I felt raised the bar for everyone he worked with, not by demand but by example. His gifts were exceptional and his personality was rare. Recently I told someone who also worked with him at Dalton that Paul was the kind of guy who you knew was cooler than you were but never made you feel like it. He knew exactly what I meant. Summer reminded me that I forwarded her an email I got from Paul congratulating me for a TV appearance a few years ago, so proud I was of his approval that I wanted to share it with her immediately. Summer's friendship with Paul extended to their shared love of watersports, and they wakeboarded together at Jacksonville Beach, less often than I know Summer would have liked. We both are devasted like everyone else by the loss of Paul in our lives, and while we were not as close to Paul as so many of you who are reading this, we felt the need to act in his honor somehow, and that's how "Celebrate Paul" came about. We have participated in Art Walk virtually every month for the past five years, and it seemed like a natural setting to honor Paul because it celebrates both Jacksonville and the creativity it engenders.
Thank you for considering this simple expression of love for Paul and his influence in our lives.After April's Art Walk, whatever the nature of your participation, your lei will be a remembrance of the freedom and fulfillment Paul found along the shores of the oceans whose once unfathomable mysteries are now known to him.