Lucinda Halsema was an artist who helps us remember what Mandarin used to look like. She did that through her beautiful pen and ink drawings of Mandarin’s historic homes and places, including the Church of Our Saviour, the Mandarin Community Club, the old Store and Post Office and the live oak canopy of Mandarin Road.
Lucinda was born in Pensacola and raised in Jacksonville close to Lee High School, her alma mater. She wasn’t into art at that time says her daughter Cindi, and she didn’t begin a professional career in art until the late 1970s. She took some classes on various art forms like watercolor and etching, but best liked detailed pen and ink renderings, in black-and-white and with hand-coloring. Since she lived in Mandarin and loved the history of the area, she decided in the 1980s to do a series of drawings of the historic structures in the area. These drawings have been very popular for decades as prints, and they are still available in the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society Gift Shop.
In addition to exhibiting in galleries over the years, she also did quite a lot of commission work, including drawing homes of a private citizens for their personal collections. She also taught art, starting with offering classes out of her garage in Mandarin. Hundreds of young people have taken classes from her over the years through these private classes as well as her work at St. Joseph’s School and as a substitute around the county. She later obtained a degree in Graphic Design and worked as a paralegal.
Service was also an important part of Lucinda’s life. She volunteered at the Mandarin Community Club (MCC) and served as President in 1984. Emily Lisska board member of MCC remembers Lucinda’s time there fondly and states, “Her interest was especially in the Mandarin Art Festival and she always had a table of her work, including special pieces each year that honored that year’s festival. She was prolific in documenting Mandarin’s history, buildings and homes – she had a huge body of work related to Mandarin.” Lucinda also produced a beautifully illustrated book for the Jacksonville Symphony that was written for children to learn about different instruments.