by: Admin in Art Walk No Comments  

Hemming Plaza packed with artists. Creative treasures tucked away in galleries and studios. Local music, dining and events. You can’t deny that Art Walk is engaging, contagious and a true Downtown Jacksonville experience.

In the new First Wednesday Art Walk video below – one of a series of Downtown videos funded by the Downtown Marketing Collaborative – Kennetic Productions, Inc. captures the essence of this 9-year-old monthly event, from energetic Art Walk scenes to chats with artists and attendees. Take a look:

Produced by Downtown Vision, Inc., First Wednesday Art Walk is a free, self-guided tour held each month from 5 to 9 p.m rain or shine. The event spans a 15-block radius within the Downtown core and includes 40+ galleries, museums, cultural venues, restaurants, bars and businesses as well as dozens of artists in Hemming Plaza.

What do you love about Art Walk or would like to see improved? Share your feedback by completing our Art Walk Visitor Survey.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Thought Leadership No Comments  

Both DVI’s white paper Turning the Corner: Rethinking & Remaking Downtown and IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge Report advocate for creating density in Downtown Jacksonville through “focusing on the core” and establishing an “epicenter for growth.” Concentrating economic development and incentives in a small section of Downtown creates stronger momentum, connectivity, density and in turn, productivity.

The recent Atlantic Cities article “Why Denser Cities Are Smarter and More Productive” shares insights from a recent study published in the Journal of Regional Science. The study provides new evidence of the relationships between density, human capital, and urban productivity, specifically asserting that density:

  • Plays a considerable role in the productivity of metro areas
  • Plays a bigger role in cities where levels of skill and human capital are higher
  • Is even more substantial in industries with high levels of knowledge and creativity

by: Katherine Hardwick in Art Walk No Comments  

Tony Allegretti launched DVI’s First Wednesday Art Walk in November 2003 with less than 10 venues. “I remember there was a DVI board meeting on the day of the first ever Art Walk,” remembers Allegretti, the Director of Downtown Development for JAX Chamber today. “Jim Bailey asked me how many people I thought would show up. I remember saying that I hoped for 200. Back then we had eight venues and it was tough to get that.” Read Allegretti’s Art Walk Memoirs here.

Over the years the First Wednesday Art Walk has captured the community’s imagination and grown into a favorite event for artists and art lovers alike. DVI has cultivated enduring partnerships to create special annual events like “Pet Walk” Art Walk with the Florida Theatre, Jaguars-themed Art Walks with the Jacksovnille Jaguars, “Hispanic Heritage” Art Walk with Eco Latino and “Movember” Art Walk with Movember Jax. In 2010, DVI partnered with the Cultural Council to create the Off the Grid initiative, which infused Art Walk–and Downtown–with galleries and artist spaces. Today DVI secures participation from more than 40 venues a month, programs an average of 70 artists in Hemming Plaza and has created a food truck village at the corner of Forsyth and Main streets. The First Wednesday Art Walk accounts for more than 400,000 visits to Downtown over the past eight years.

As we approach 2013, we’re asking for everyone to take the 2012 Art Walk feedback survey and share ideas to make Art Walk fresh. In the meantime, we thought we’d share some memories along the way. We hope you’ll enjoy this small collection of videos and photos.


First Wednesday Art Walk in 2006

First Wednesday Art Walk in 2009

First Wednesday Art Walk in 2012

(Featuring DVI’s own Jennifer Hewett-Apperson)

Stay tuned for a new Art Walk video coming soon from the Downtown Marketing Collaborative.





by: Katherine Hardwick in Advocacy No Comments  

The Jacksonville City Council unanimously passed Ordinance 2012-674 at its December 11th meeting. This ordinance modifies the way that City-owned parking facilities are managed, allowing the City’s Public Parking Office the flexibility to manage parking resources to best meet Downtown’s parking needs, respond to market conditions and incentivize parking. DVI commends the City Council for passing this ordinance, which will provide a more customer service-oriented approach to public parking and will help to change the misperception that parking Downtown is difficult.

A recent survey by the Downtown Marketing Collaborative determined that 51% of the nearly 4,000 respondents perceive that parking Downtown is not easy. What would improve your Downtown parking experience?

by: Katherine Hardwick in Downtown Vision, Inc. No Comments  

For more 100 years, the Clara White Mission has helped Jacksonville’s at-risk individuals through a one-stop community center stimulating economic development through job training in educational programs, daily feedings, advancement and more. Monday, Dec. 10., the Downtown Vision staff spent the morning volunteering at the Clara White Mission. Staff assisted in serving approximately 350 hot breakfast meals to the area’s homeless population. The Mission’s feeding program runs seven days a week from approximately 8:30-10:00 a.m. and it’s not uncommon for the program to serve upwards of 500 persons daily.

If you’re looking to donate your time and give back to the community, you’ll find a sample of organizations in or related to Downtown in need of volunteers below. Learn about additional volunteer opportunities in Downtown and throughout Jacksonville at HandsOn Jacksonville.

Clara White Mission Various volunteer opportunities are available at the Clara White Mission. To register as a volunteer, contact Shirley Edwards, Volunteer Coordinator, at or at (904) 354-4162 x 125.

Center for Adult Learning at the Main Library According to the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS), more than 150,000 adults in Duval County read below the 5th grade level – nearly 20% of our total population. Be part of the Jacksonville Public Library’s literacy efforts. Volunteers are needed to serve as tutors, work in the office, and speak to community groups. Please call (904) 630-2426 and help someone learn to read.

Hubbard House Volunteers assist in clerical support, staffing community events, caring for children in the childcare center, working with survivors in the shelter, court and advocacy programs and co-facilitating sessions of the children’s outreach program. Contact Tracy Knight, Volunteer Program Specialist for more information.

IMPACTjax Through focusing its energies on networking, volunteerism, public policy, personal and professional development, and economic development in the city, IMPACTjax engages its members in activities that keep them connected to Jacksonville. For more information, contact Aschelle Morgan, ImpactJAX manager, at (904) 366-6680 or

MOSH (Museum of Science & History) With volunteer opportunities in administration, education, exhibits, natural science and visitor services, there are plenty of opportunities to utilize individuals’ talents and interests. For more information on the Adult Volunteer program, email Wanda West at or call (904) 396-6674 ext. 219.

St. Johns Riverkeeper There are numerous volunteer opportunities, from joining the River Patrol to cleanups, community events and education. Plug in and discover new ways to help the river. Contact Roger at for more information.

Volunteers in Medicine Dedicated retired and active physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and specialists along with community volunteers are needed to help the community’s working uninsured. To learn more contact (904) 399-2766 ext. 103 or email

Please leave a comment to share additional Downtown volunteer opportunities.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Advocacy, Historic Preservation No Comments  

Ordinance 2012-720, which provides for the designation of the Bostwick Building as a local landmark, will be introduced tonight, Dec. 11 at City Council. Public hearings have been scheduled for January 8 and 15, 2013. The Land Use and Zoning (LUZ) Committee will make a recommendation to the full City Council, with final action in late January.

The old St. Luke’s Hospital (right) and the Florida Casket Company building. (Photo courtesy of the Jacksonville Historical Society)

One is a 130-year-old factory. The other, a 134-year-old hospital. Both are symbols of and testaments to the importance of historic preservation in Downtown Jacksonville.

These buildings – the 1878 St. Luke’s Hospital and the 1882 Florida Casket Company – were purchased this fall by the Jacksonville Historical Society in celebration of the organization’s 80th year. Both are located on the same lot at Palmetto and Duval streets near the Sports Complex area. The Society plans to use the hospital for its archives and the Florida Casket Factory for events, exhibits and other history programs.

With recent developments in the revitalization efforts of the Bostwick Building, the Hayden Burn Library and the Laura Street Trio, the efforts of the Society and others working to preserve Downtown historic structures are crucial to creating a more vibrant Downtown. Plus, it’s good for our economy. In a 2011 study, PlaceEconomics found that historic preservation results in more jobs than new construction, increased property values, increased tourism, fewer environmental impacts and increased quality of life.

What historic Downtown buildings would you like to see renovated, and for what reuse purpose? Weigh in with your thoughts in this post’s comment section.