Regency CEO and Wife Partnering With MOCA Jacksonville to Recognize Emerging Artists

As French painter Edgar Degas once said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”

Regency Centers CEO Hap Stein and his wife, Brooke, saw an exciting opportunity to partner with The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville. The partnership created The Brooke and Hap Stein Emerging Artist Prize which will highlight the work of burgeoning artists on an annual basis.

“The arts are an important part of any community,” Hap said. “They are a critical part of the heart and soul of any community.”

HapStein Regency Centers CEO Hap Stein at his desk in front of a Donald Baechler piece entitled 'Globe' (Photo courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal)

Starting in March of 2016, an artist will be selected annually to receive the Stein Prize. Recipients will have his or her artwork on display in a MOCA Jacksonville exhibition, along with a public program at the Museum, acquisition of a piece of work for the Permanent Collection, and will receive a stipend. The public can stay up-to-date by following along on social media by searcing #SteinPrize on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

In anticipation of naming the first Hap Stein winner, MOCA Jacksonville’s curatorial team is hard at work conducting an exhaustive search for emerging talent by visiting artists’ studios and art fairs across the nation.

“Regency Centers has been a long-time supporter of the arts,” said Hap. “The arts is one way we can make our community better, and that’s one of our core values.”

Hap and his wife, married for 41 years, are avid art collectors. An initial affinity for impressionist art led them to contemporary art and photography, and they continue to add curated pieces to both their home collection and Hap’s office downtown.

Helen Frankenthaler 'Hermes' from 1989, a mixed-media on handmade paper piece, hangs in the Regency Centers corporate office Artist Helen Frankenthaler's 'Hermes,' a mixed-media on handmade paper piece, hangs in the Regency Centers corporate office

“We share that passion,” Hap explained. “We love collecting together and Brooke’s got a great eye for it.”

In fact it was Brooke who helped him select much of the art in the Regency Centers’ corporate office, including his office and the conference rooms and hallways. Favorites include pieces by Helen Frankenthaler, an American abstract expressionist painter, and Frank Stella, an American painter and printmaker. Hap chimes in, “We love Frank Stella!”

Frank Stella's 'Estoril Three II,' an engraving Frank Stella's 'Estoril Three II,' an engraving

“Brooke also loves photography and that’s an important part of our collection,” continues Hap, referencing photos that hang in the company boardroom and the Stein residence.

Four Zac Freeman pieces hang in the corporate office, signifying the year Regency Centers opened for business Four Zac Freeman pieces hang in the corporate office, signifying the year Regency Centers opened for business

“The partnership with the Steins is a direct result of Brooke and Hap’s deep engagement in the work of the Museum and their understanding of the significance of MOCA as a cultural cornerstone of the Jacksonville community,” explains Marcelle Polednik, MOCA’s director and chief curator. “Brooke and Hap expressed the desire to provide major support for a meaningful initiative that centers on MOCA’s mission. I crafted the proposal for the Stein Prize based on my knowledge of the Steins’ active interest in the ever-evolving nature of contemporary art and this key aspect of the Museum’s mandate and program.”

“We are blessed to have Marcelle as head of the museum!” adds Hap. Polednik has been director for four years.

A Roberto Juarez painting hangs in the Regency Centers' corporate office A Roberto Juarez painting hangs in the Regency Centers' corporate office

Those four years have gone by quickly, and March 2016 will be here even sooner.

"Our curators cast a wide net by attending art fairs, keeping apprised of the latest exhibitions at museums and galleries around the world, and visiting artists in their studios," said Jaime DeSimone, assistant curator of exhibitions. "The Stein Prize highlights the work MOCA has always done to identify and develop rising stars."