It’s not hard to walk around #DTJax and see beauty. From the historic buildings and eye-catching architecture to the hidden gems like Spliff’s Beer Garden and murals throughout the city, we have a lot of offer. The streets of #DTJax are about to get even more artsy with the help of The City of Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places Program, together with the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and the Downtown Investment Authority.

If you’ve walked around #DTJax lately, you may have seen green decals sprinkled throughout the streets. Come Spring 2017, these spots will be home to brand new art pieces thanks to the Urban Arts Project Phase 1 of the Art in Public Places Program.Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 11.23.29 AM

The Art in Public Places Program was adopted by City Council in 1997 and thus created the Art in Public Places Trust Fund. This fund is subsidized through an allocated percentage of construction costs for building a public facility thus designating specific funds for capital improvement and even more specifically, for public art. This money then goes toward large-scale community art projects that gets broken down into artist fees and supplies (85%), maintenance (5%) and community outreach programs (10%).

Phase one of the Urban Arts Project, with guidance from the Downtown Investment Authority, focuses on placing street art like bike racks, street furnishings and outdoor sculptures along the streets while also beautifying existing infrasture like the skyway columns and traffic signal cabinets. After all is said and done, 34 different projects will embellish #DTJax. Six artists from the State of Florida, two of whom are from Jacksonville, will produce original art installations at each location. Meet the six artists:

  • Cecilia Lueza, of Miami is a 2-D and 3-D artist who will address nine of the JTA Skyway columns along Hogan Street from Hemming Park Station to Bay Street. Lueza is interested in this project “because it will provide us the opportunity to create a site specific public art that would engage the public while creating welcoming focal points for the area.”
  • Andrew Reid, of North Bay Village, Florida is a muralist who will paint eight JTA Skyway columns that run from Bay Street to Central Station. Reid emphasizes that the “collaborative process is important to help inform the final vision for the artwork. By working closely with the people and organizations that are invested in the community, I would come up with an artistic solution that is perfectly and uniquely suited for this project.”
  • Michelle Weinberg, of Miami Beach, has a fine art background and works in multiple media. She will design images for vinyl wraps to be placed on seven traffic signal cabinets within the urban core. She says, “my paintings describe architectural spaces as theater. Streetscapes, alleys, plazas, kiosks, storefronts, any instance in which wall meets floor and forms an area for drama to occur – this is where my imagination begins.”
  • Lance Vickery, of Jacksonville Beach, is a sculptor who will design and build several sets of sculptural bike racks for Downtown, creating enticing art for passersby as well as convenient racks for cyclists. Lance Vickery says he is “very interested in working with the various stakeholders to make this a significant project for Jacksonville.”
  • Jenny Hager, of Jacksonville Beach, is a UNF art professor who will design and create sculptural seating along Hogan Street to both delight pedestrians and offer the respite of seating. Hager states, “the intention behind my work is to create a truly engaging experience for the viewer, one that has resonance and power in the moment. I believe very much in being a part of my local art community and strive to make it a more interesting and cultural place in which to live.”
  • Rafael Consuegra, who was born in Cuba and resides in Miami, is selected by the panel to create a large iconic outdoor sculpture to be placed near the corner of Monroe and Laura Streets by Snyder Memorial Church. Consuegra believes that public art “rests not only in creating a unique and fresh work of art that will never go unnoticed, but also a work of art that: is site-specific, has intrinsic value, is considered a landmark, is able to withstand the passage of time, succeeds in expressing a concept and/or emotion and is easy to maintain.”


We are excited to see these stunning new additions to #DTJax art and culture soon! Keep up with the Art in Public Places Program by visting the website or following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Credit: @dtjax Instagram

Credit: @dtjax Instagram

In a fortuitous Earth Day announcement, Hemming Park revealed today it will receive $100,000 from Southwest Airlines in partnership with Project for Public Spaces.

The grant money was awarded to the organization as part of Southwest Airlines and Project for Public Spaces’ “Heart of the Community” program, which aims to help activate public space in cities.

“We are thrilled to have been selected as a 2015 grant recipient with the ‘Heart of the Community’ program and look forward to working with Southwest Airlines, PPS and our local community,” said Vince Cavin, executive director of Friends of Hemming Park, in a press release. “With this generous support, we will continue to re-imagine and reinvent Hemming Park as an exciting and inviting public space for everyone living in or visiting Jacksonville.”

Hemming Park logo

Hemming Park logo

Downtown partners and stakeholders, city leaders, media representatives and local citizens gathered in Jacksonville’s city center this morning to hear big news from Friends of Hemming Park (FOHP), the organization that will manage Hemming Park.

At the press conference, FOHP board president Wayne Wood announced Vince Cavin as the organization’s executive director.

“Starting today, we are embracing a place, a plaza, a park, soon to be transformed into a vibrant cultural center,” said Cavin in a press release following the event. “Our mission is to bring Jacksonvillians together to enjoy the forthcoming amenities of the oldest public park in Jacksonville as it transforms into a modern urban space.”

The branding of the park was also unveiled this morning. “[The logo’s] green square is joined with abstract street intersections to symbolize the importance of this public park in the heart of Downtown and to form the letters ‘HP,'” stated the press release.

Screen shot 2014-07-30 at 3.56.07 PMThis month, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office added a squad of six daytime bicycle officers Downtown, doubling the amount of officers Monday through Friday during the day. The new team will focus on developing relationships with building security guards and ground floor businesses as well as reducing nuisance activity, especially camping and panhandling. Downtown remains one of Jacksonville’s safest neighborhoods with more officers per square mile than any other Jacksonville neighborhood.

Nuisance reports for June show an uptick in homeless campsites (40%) and loitering (25%) versus the monthly average, while panhandling numbers remained flat. Downtown Ambassadors continue to be a major force multiplier when it comes to safety Downtown. In all three areas, Ambassadors were able to diffuse the situations more than 90% of the time without JSO officer assistance. Ambassadors also reported the number of instances of disorderly conduct, fights and assaults remains low, averaging only four cases each month.

As always, remember: Downtown is part of the Riverfront Enhancement Area, where it is illegal to panhandle and sleep on public property. If you are panhandled or witness nuisance activity, report it to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Downtown Partners, Events, Placemaking, Spotlight No Comments  
Jazz Fest on Bay Street | credit: @dtjax

Jazz Fest on Bay Street

A staple in Downtown since 1982, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival draws thousands of people each May for one of the core’s largest annual events. Now, in its second year, the newest component to the three-day celebration is Jazz Fest After Dark, a free event designed to introduce festival goers to Downtown’s year-round nightlife and live music scene.

Before Jazz Fest After Dark, many bars didn’t see a boost during the festival weekend. Now, with the new late-night festival fixture, the bars not only saw new faces, but reported a big increase in sales.

“We added more venues and more acts, and overall attendance numbers more then doubled.” said event creator and organizer, Jason Lewis. “Our goal is to keep increasing the visibility and stature of Jazz Fest After Dark, each and every year. We feel we accomplished that and more in year two.”

This year, five venues: 1904 Music Hall, Burro Bar, Dive BarUnderbelly and The Volstead opened up the Jazz Fest experience to dozens of amazing local acts, and the Downtown Cigar Lounge and Karpeles Museum provided additional events throughout the weekend.

So how did it go? Here are the bars in are in their own words:

Whole Wheat Bread @ Dive Bar

Whole Wheat Bread @ Dive Bar

“Sales were up 85% vs. an average week. We received lots of compliments on the street layout with plenty of room to walk.”

– Mark Hemphill, owner/operator of the Dive Bar

JacksonVegas @ 1904 Music Hall

JacksonVegas @ 1904 Music Hall

“We doubled last year’s numbers.”
– Jason Hunnicutt, owner of 1904 Music Hall

Naughty Professor @ Underbelly

Naughty Professor @ Underbelly

“Definitely the best weekend of the year in my opinion. Our bar had about a 15-20% increase overall from last year. Awesome bands. Great crowds. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it- we need more events like this for sure.”

– Cameron Beard, owner of Underbelly

Billy Buchanan @ The Volstead credit: @jazzfestafterdark

Billy Buchanan @ The Volstead
credit: @jazzfestafterdark

“Jazz Fest After Dark was a definite success; hopefully we will have more events like that in the future.”

– Sam Linn, owner/partner of The Volstead

Jazz Fest After Dark is a co-promotion between Jason Lewis (creator/organizer), Jacksonville Jazz Fest, JAX ChamberVisit JacksonvilleDVI and The Elbow was named by Folio Weekly as one of 2013’s top 15 Musical Moments.

Let us know your favorite parts of the Jazz Festival and Jazz Fest After Dark below, and follow @jazzfestafterdark on Instagram and Facebook to look back at this year’s event and to stay tuned for what next year has in store.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Art Walk, Downtown Partners No Comments  

JAX2025 at Art Walk

JAX2025 held its annual celebration at May’s Art Walk, and if you missed it, you missed a great time! Surrounded by the hustle and bustle of artists and performers, the message from JAX2025 rang out loud and clear. We are no longer a city of potential. We are #Actionville.

Learn about the exciting advances we, as a city, have made in year one of JAX2025’s ten target areas in the new video below. The targets are:

  • Vibrant neighborhoods and urban heart
  • Clean and green city
  • Exemplary governance
  • Diverse and inclusive
  • Healthiest community
  • Arts and entertainment
  • Excellence in education
  • Vibrant economy
  • Hub of smooth transportation
  • A place where people matter


Less than two weeks until more than 150,000 people crowd the streets of Downtown Jacksonville for the second annual One Spark! You can feel the excitement in the air.

Last week One Spark invited the community to the Florida Theatre for the unveiling of big news. And boy, did they do it in style. Karen Feagins, director of programming and news at WJCT and One Spark media partner, introduced several key players including  Mayor Alvin Brown, executive director Joe Sampson, past creators and co-founder Elton Rivas.

If you haven’t heard, One Spark is going global, premiering in Berlin, Germany, September 2014 and plans to expand to a different city each year! Incredible. Details of the Germany festival will be announced during One Spark’s closing ceremonies. Of course, they make us wait again for exciting news!

But of course that’s not all… This year creators have more chances to capture that crowdfunding with teh top creator in each cateogry winning an extra $10,000 and a juried panel will select five winners to win $10,000 each. And to cover it all, national cable network A&E will also film a documentary about crowdfunding and startups during One Spark.

To end the program, Rivas and Sampson invited Dolf James, a huge support of One Spark and their biggest critic, on stage. James is also responsible for those big One Spark Sparkys you see around town among other behind the scenes accomplishments. While on stage, Rivas and Sampson presented James with a One Spark cap, because he’s a Superman!


Dolf James showing off his cape!

Remember: don’t forget to not make plans to be anywhere else but Downtown April 9-13 for One Spark!