DVI Intern Experience

By: Alexis TerKonda

Admiring artwork, trying new food trucks, and exploring Downtown Jacksonville sounds like what some may do for an exciting weekend activity. Luckily for me, I have had the opportunity to do this for the past several weeks as an intern for Downtown Vision. Interning at Downtown Vision has provided me with a variety of new experiences, as well as a valuable hands on learning experience that will be beneficial in the future.

I applied for the internship with Downtown Vision primarily to gain experience in the marketing field, as I am a marketing major at the University of North Florida. However, I am also a Jacksonville native that has grown up around the beaches, so Downtown Jacksonville was unfamiliar territory for me that I had an interest in learning more about.

As a marketing intern for Downtown Vision, I have worked on photography, social media, and website projects while also learning more about Downtown Jacksonville. On the first day of my internship I was handed a camera and asked to take photos of some of the murals that can be found around downtown. As a photography and art enthusiast, this was the perfect first-day-on-the-job assignment for me. I spent my morning exploring downtown and becoming familiar with over 10 large scale murals that were painted by artists from all over the world. With the photos I took, I was asked to write a blog post about the art I found. What I enjoyed most about this project was the fact that I was given complete freedom to structure the blog post however I wanted. As a first day intern, it was exciting to be trusted with complete control over a project.

Interning with a non-profit organization that promotes Downtown Jacksonville, I was given the opportunity to take a guided tour of the area to become more familiar with its history. Even though I have lived in Jacksonville almost my entire life, I came back from this tour with a new understanding of Jacksonville and the downtown area’s history. Who knew there was an entire underground tunnel system that connects the downtown banks or that Elvis Presley’s first indoor performance was at the Florida Theatre? I know I had no idea about any of this before taking the tour.

A major part of interning with Downtown Vision is First Wednesday Art Walk. On the first Wednesday of every month, rain or shine, 5,000 individuals spend the evening in downtown supporting local artists, performers, vendors, and food trucks that congregate around Hemming Park. While working the June Art Walk, I had time to visit many of the surrounding venues that participate in the event. Specifically, I got to spend some time in Sweet Pete’s Candy Shop where I found out they have chocolate dipped key lime pie on a stick. It is definitely a dessert you don’t want to miss while in Downtown Jacksonville.

Interning with DVI has been a wonderful experience so far. I have loved learning from and collaborating with a team of people that have a shared love for the city I have grown up in. From this internship, I will take away a better understanding for the marketing field along with more confidence in my skills through the responsibility and freedom I was given while at Downtown Vision.

Loving #DTJax More Than I Already Did

By: Reggie Agulto

The urban core became my playground when I became acclimated with the city’s public transportation system at the tender age of 12. In fact, some of my best high school memories are in downtown Jacksonville – taking advantage of the city while I waited for my bus home. Since then, I have always found myself staying close to downtown.

Landing an internship at Downtown Vision the summer before my senior year in college has not only allowed me to indulge in my love for #DTJax but also to enhance my knowledge about the history of our city and broaden my network with amazing individuals that keep the city moving. To get a glimpse of my experience as a DVI intern, here’s my Top Five favorite things from this summer – so far.

  1. Learning Experience

Regardless of my major, I applied for the Marketing and Events Internship to learn more about event planning and marketing. I read the job description and thought: “This is one of my many passions” and said the same in my interview. Little did I know at the time, DVI was going to meet my expectations and more.

I have always been confident in my writing skills but AP format is not within the borders of my comfort zone. I am more honed in the Chicago and MLA style. Let’s just say that my first couple weeks consisted of draft after draft – it was a real humbling experience! Aside from writing, creating graphics is one of my responsibilities. Though I am notorious for designing flyers and social media content for organizations on campus at Jacksonville University, I was not an expert in Photoshop and InDesign – two softwares typically used by marketing companies. Honing my skills with these systems during and outside of my work hours gave me a sense of purpose and self-improvement.

So, if you’re looking for an interactive and enriching internship experience, I suggest looking at DVI!  After all, these summer internships shouldn’t just be another line in your resume – but something you enjoy.

  1. Fantastic People

Just as you should love what you do, it is also preferable that you enjoy the company of the staff members. Though a small office on the corner of Adams & Hogan Street, DVI is staffed with lively individuals who will guide you in your endeavors and make work days seem shorter. I can honestly say that I have yet to dread coming into work, I rather look forward to it actually – which I am certain has a lot to do with the people I am working with. And in addition to the office staff, I have also had the pleasure to meet some of the amazing Downtown Ambassadors who contribute a great deal to a “clean, safe and friendly” Jacksonville.

If you have yet to meet an ambassador, you can spot them around town in their distinctive orange polo shirts ready to assist in any way they can – some of those awesome individuals  include Lydia and Lionel who can be spotted cruising around the city on their segway!

  1. Prepping for Senior Year

As a history major with several department-related minors, writing is pertinent – especially come senior year when I have to conjure up my thesis paper. Being at DVI three days a week, some of my tasks include writing blogs, proofreading proposals and drafting social media posts. Regardless of the countless drafts I have written, I am no doubt grateful for these assignments and my supervisor’s creative criticism. They kept my brain moving and kept me writing which I believe will alleviate any summer blues once I get settled in my writing intensive course in the fall.

  1. New Hideouts

Touring the city with a Downtown Ambassador was one of my first memories as an intern. I learned so much more than I expected to! Thanks to this tour I became familiar with some downtown favorites outside of my scope of imagination – after all, I’m a creature of habit and that translated to the restaurants, coffee shops and museums I visited.

Adding to my list of #DTJax favorites includes J.L. Trent’s, my new seafood go-to, located underneath the BB&T Tower and inside the renovated underground tunnel. If you’re craving some peace and quiet with a view, above Trent’s is a shaded outdoor patio that you can access by stairs – perfect for lunch or for summer reading.

  1. Old Hideouts

“Know your city.” In my four years at JU, I found myself saying this to my peers – quite often.

Many college-aged students write-off the urban core, frequenting the St. Johns Town Center and the beaches instead. But #DTJax offers so many possibilities for all personalities. You’ve read about one of my new favorite spots but here are some classics – places that never get old no matter how often you go.

The fourth floor of the Main Library is a college student’s dream study hub – with row after row of tables, vintage blue lamps and natural lighting on the east wall. If you’re craving an outdoor study space, they have that too! On the second floor, you’ll find a large outdoor patio with rows of trees and a fountain.

Right next door is Chamblin’s Uptown which will celebrate its 10th anniversary this month. I’ve frequented this used bookshop since I was in my tween years! Being only a block or two from DVI, I have found myself there every Tuesday before heading to my internship. You can’t go wrong with a cup of coffee and good read to start the week off!

If you are a local who feels like you already know your way around #DTJax or an out-of-towner looking for a summer internship, don’t hesitate to visit the DVI’s website and see if it’s for you. Get ready to have a great time!