Jacksonville Art Walk – A Downtown Experience you Must See!

Every first Wednesday of the month the city of Jacksonville puts on a wonderful event that is a sure must see.  If you are a fan of the arts, music and film the Jacksonville Art Walk is the place to be.  There is not many places you will see storm troopers and belly dancers mingle together!  With over 40 venues participating, there is a lot to see and experience. 

History

The Jacksonville Art walk first began in 2003 with only 10 venues participating and only a few hundred of patrons visiting the event.  It has grown quite a bit over the past 11 years.  It was started as an outreach of Downtown Vision, Inc. which is a nonprofit organization whose main purpose is to help revitalize the city’s downtown.  Back in 2000, downtown property owners came together and put together Business Improvement District (BID).  They taxed themselves and used the money by putting it back into the city to make the community cleaner, safer and overall more vibrant.  This was in hopes to entice more people to visit downtown and generate more business.  Downtown Vision, Inc is both public and private partnership that manages the BID. 

How To arrive

You can arrive by trolley (Azalea, Magnolia and Sunflower lines), River Taxi or Skyway to this event and many will tell you to arrive early!  This is a popular event and it gets crowded quickly.  It is best to either visit Jacksonvilleartwalk.com if you want to look up the list of participants that week (just so you make sure you don’t miss your favorites) or you can make sure you begin at the Hemming Plaza.  It is there that has been known as Jacksonville Art walk’s focal point.  Most of the live music and performances as well as the majority of artists and vendors can be found there.  Maps will also be found here.

What you will find

There are numerous types of artists with many different mediums and many different styles that you can find at the Jacksonville Art walk.  Some of the arts you will find will be accessories or handmade goods to sell.  You will also find paintings and photography.  The art walk includes many blocks on either side of the St. Johns River downtown so there is a lot to see!  The historic Snyder Memorial Church and the Carling is host to art galleries and live performances.  At Jacksonville Landing they feature bands and performers there as well. 

If you are into film or interactive art, a visit to Jacksonville’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) at Heming Plaza will strike your fancy.  There are just so many venues participating!  You will be able to find arts works displayed throughout coffee houses, wine shops, clubs, bars and resturants.

All participants in the Jacksonville Art Walk must go through an approval process.  This is to ensure that all art and performances displayed as well as performed meet the high standards that the Jacksonville patrons have come to expect.  IF you are looking to show your own art work, submit an application!  There is no fee for participants. 

Things for Kids

If you are looking for something to do with the family the Jacksonville Art Walk has a great activity for kids.  At MOCA Art Explorium Loft they feature 16 interactive stations that teach children how art can be fun.  These are hands on, kid friendly activities.  These interactive stations include a recycle materials station, stations to explore texture, color, body movement, shapes and much more.  There is even a reading tent where kids can find books about art.  There is almost no reason not to stop by especially if you have kids because on Wednesdays, admission is always free! 

The Not to be Missed

Though the art walk official starts and ends from 5pm to 9pm (rain or shine), there is still much to do and see after hours.  There are many nightlife venues who have an sponsor an after party.  One awesome thing to check out is Burrito Gallery.  After a delicious meal and drinks, there is a fire show that goes on next door.  While wondering around, you will also get to witness many impromptu performances such as a DJ setting up an impromptu dance party in an abandoned alleyway or saxophone player in front of the library.  It is said that often times there is free samples of food and wine found there courtesy of a law office that does business downtown.  You can also find belly dancers, drum circles and even skateboarders showing off their tricks.  It is truly a collaboration of anything entertaining.  You will not be bored!    

Some will say that what the most fun about the Jacksonville Art Walk is that there are so many artists that they enjoy trying to find those hidden gems.  If you are new to the art world and are looking to find unique pieces to purchases, this event is a great place to start. 

QUESTION OF THE DAY: WHAT STYLE OF ART IS YOUR FAVORITE - CONTEMPORARY, ABSTRACT, MAYBE ART DECO? SHARE WITH US IN THE COMMENT BELOW!