By: Be’ijz Smith

I’ve lived in Jacksonville for many years and I’ve only been downtown for academic reasons, like going to a tutoring session at the Main Library. After I graduated high school, I began attending Florida State University and I didn’t see myself coming back to Jacksonville; until I got to a point where I had to start looking for internships. 

To be completely honest, looking for an internship was a pretty difficult process, mainly because I was trying to figure out what I really wanted to do after graduation . Thankfully, I found the Downtown Vision internship through the alumni program at my high school, Episcopal School of Jacksonville

Even though my major is in Retail Entrepreneurship, I applied for the Marketing and Events internship at DVI because  I have always loved the process of planning and creating events. I also wanted to improve my creative writing skills; especially because the internship description said I would be writing blog posts and other writing projects. Even though I lived in Jacksonville, I had never actually explored Downtown Jacksonville for myself. Fortunately, interning at DVI gave me a whole new perspective of #DTJax. Here are five things I’ve learned  while interning at DVI:

  • Community

Many people think that working downtown would be difficult because it seems very big and busy; however, I learned it was just the opposite. While planning  Art walk, I had the opportunity to talk to local businesses and learn my way around. I realized that a lot of businesses knew each other and had made their own little community, making it feel less like a bustling downtown and more of a quaint “small town”. In the past, I’ve  traveled to New York and Atlanta and their downtown is fast-paced; no one is really connecting with each other because they’re only worried about getting to their destination. However, interning at DVI, I saw how people actually cared about each other and the success of their businesses.

  • Event Planning

Downtown has a lot of events going on whether you realize it or not. DVI hosts the First Wednesday Art Walk which is my favorite day of the month. I love seeing all the food trucks, performers, artists, and buying handmade trinkets from local vendors. But behind the scenes was more work than I imagined. 

I was mainly part of setting up tables and lights before the vendors set up, but there are a lot of emails and phone calls that go into event planning. On top of that, dealing with issues that come up during the event. The whole process was a real eye opener for me, which I appreciated. 

I like to be in the field  setting things up for an event and managing other workers. Although I had more of a supporting role in this event, the experience I gained helped me pinpoint what I like- and don’t like- about event planning. 

  • “Hidden” Activities

While being an intern at DVI, I had many tasks to complete, like  writing blogs and finding events for our online calendar. I started to realize that there’s a lot of things to do around #DTJax! For example: art classes at MOCA, yoga in Hemming Park and lots of festivals like Jax Taco Fest and Jazz Fest. #DTJax has a lot of hidden treasures that would definitely entertain you all year long!

  • Food Trucks

I’m the type of person who likes to be outside and explore, so  on my lunch breaks, I had the opportunity to wander around and find new places to eat. My personal favorite spot is the Happy grilled cheese because in the past, every time I tried to get one of their delicious sandwiches, they would run out of important ingredients like cheese, so I’m happy that I finally got to taste one. 

I’ve  also stumbled upon the Urban Food Court, where there are a variety of food trucks lined up. I’m a big foodie at heart, so I am always happy to find quirky and delicious treats anywhere I live.

  • History

I was never a fan of history class, but I’m currently working on a project about Downtown Jacksonville and the history of its buildings. I went on a self guided tour created by  Visit Jacksonville that details unique architect in Downtown, and to my surprise, I found it quite interesting! Reading facts and stories about these historical buildings was fun, and wandering around gave me a better sense of direction in #DTJax.

Overall, this internship was a great experience for me!  I learned a lot about myself as a worker and now, I know a lot more about #DTJax. 

If you’re interested in having an experience like mine, check out Downtown Vision’s open internships here.



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!