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.

By Lindsay Forrest, DVI Intern

Photo Credit: Pavement to Parks

Photo Credit: Pavement to Parks

When I first heard the term “parklet” in a meeting, I was just as confused as you might be. What are these “parklets”? How can a pavement project enhance Jacksonville? How do they create cultural vibrancy in urban areas?

By definition, a parklet is an extension of the sidewalk – usually installed into parking lanes to make use of several parking spaces for a proposed project. In urban cities, we are continually seeing the introduction of parklets to increase metropolitan appeal, provide space, offer amenities and encourage outdoor activities. The purpose of these modern parks is to gather people for a place to sit, rest, eat, drink and enjoy themselves outside.

The first public parklet was created in San Francisco in 2010 and since then, many other cities including Phoenix, Philadelphia, Oakland, San Jose, Dallas and Seattle have created their own versions of these sidewalk parks. They typically have umbrellas, benches, tables, chairs and bike racks characterized by greenery, murals and innovative design. Not only do parklets offer amenities to local citizens, they also increase the vibrancy of the community and urban culture in a downtown atmosphere.

Photo Credit: Pavement to Parks

Photo Credit: Pavement to Parks

Benefits of parklets include:

  • Supporting local businesses
  • Encourage the use of sustainable transportation
  • Influence the atmosphere and ambiance
  • Offer a place for friends and families to gather
  • Enhance pedestrian safety and standards
  • Offer a place to eat, drink, read, study, and enjoy the environment

Check out the Pavement to Parks project created by San Francisco’s city agencies to get a better understanding of what they truly are. The city of San Francisco is the ultimate trailblazer in these modern, outdoor spaces. They recently installed a parklet outside of the Museum of Craft and Design. With many businesses and residences, the city has invested in creating a vibrant commercial district along the 3rd street corridor. This parklet utilizes metal and stout to provide benches that span the length of the parklet. Here are some examples:

Museum of Craft and Design

Photo Credit: Pavement to Parks


Location: 2659 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Installed: October 2015

Designed by: Bionic Landscape Architecture

Hosted by: Museum of Craft and Design





Photo Credit: Pavement to Parks

Photo Credit: Pavement to Parks


Location: 200 Columbus Ave St, San Francisco, CA 94133  show map

Installed: April 2014

Designed by: Cameron HellandSagan Piechota Architecture

Hosted by: Reveille Coffee Co





Photo Credit: Pavement to Parklets

Photo Credit: Pavement to Parklets


Location: 423 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133  show map

Installed: October 2010

Designed by: Rebar Group

Hosted by: Caffe Greco




Looking for a way to support a local parklet program in #DTJax? Attend our Urban Oasis Gala on Saturday March 19, at 100 N. Laura. Celebrate #DTJax with cocktails, dining and dancing with live music from the Chris Thomas Band! Safari and khaki attire is highly encouraged. Purchase tickets here for $150 per person or learn more about sponsorships here. All proceeds from the Downtown Gala will benefit a local parklet program in #DTJax.

Photo Credit: Downtown Vision

Photo Credit: Downtown Vision



IDA New Logo 2-9-10Announced this week in San Francisco at the International Downtown Association‘s annual conference, Downtown Vision, Inc., Downtown Jacksonville’s business improvement district, is the recipient of two Merit awards within the 2015 Downtown Achievement Awards. The IDA award recognizes excellence in the areas of innovation, representation and sustainability.

DVI submitted award applications for two categories, “Public Space” and “Marketing and Communications.” The first project, “Hemming Park Revitalization,” was submitted for DVI’s work in the formation of Friends of Hemming Park (FOHP) last fall and for the strides made by FOHP in improving the park thus far. DVI – in partnership with the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and Dr. Wayne Wood – was a critical component in jump-starting the revitalization of this central public space.

A packed Hemming Park during the monthly First Wednesday Art Walk

A packed Hemming Park during the monthly First Wednesday Art Walk

By guiding the concept through the legislative process, board development, fundraising and staffing, DVI is thrilled to witness how Friends of Hemming Park continues to bring vibrancy to a park that struggled for decades. Today, DVI CEO Jake Gordon works closely with FOHP as a member of the organization’s board of directors. DVI also provides Ambassador clean and safe services for the park seven days a week.

To read the “Hemming Park Revitalization” IDA Merit award project summary, click here.

You can also download the full presentation here.

The second Merit award was bestowed in the category “Marketing and Communications” for DVI’s “#DTJax Twitter Promoter Program.” The application outlined the social-media campaign aimed to debunk Downtown myths through authentic Twitter conversations, tracked using the hashtag #DTJax.


Social-media snapshots of some of DVI’s #DTJax Twitter promoters.

Running from November 2013 to April 2014, the Promoter Program targeted @DTJax’s most influential Twitter followers, educating them on Downtown Jacksonville’s biggest misconceptions and offering incentives – tickets, bar tabs, etc. donated by Downtown businesses – to encourage Promoters to spend more time Downtown and tweeting authentically about their experiences.

A snapshot of the Twitter campaign’s impact:

3To read the “#DTJax Twitter Promoter Program” IDA Merit award project summary, click here.

You can also download the full presentation here.

DVI would like to thank all of their partners and friends involved in these two efforts as well as the International Downtown Association for the recognition. It’s partnerships with and support from like-minded, hardworking urban enthusiasts that truly make an impact on creating better cities, #DTJax included.

by: Hana Ashchi in Placemaking No Comments  

June 27, Downtown Vision, Inc., The Elbow bar and restaurant owners, friends, family and community members gathered in the Ocean Street alleyway for a volunteer clean up. With more than 40 people lending a hand, the alleyway was transformed in just a few hours.

Tasks included: picking up trash, weeding, shoveling rocks and painting. After about three hours of work, volunteers were treated to pizza thanks to Downtown Cigar Lounge and a free beer from 1904 Music Hall (for those 21 and up). Thanks a million to our incredible volunteers for helping make #DTJax even more beautiful!

Take a look at this cool video from Kumar Pictures recapping the cleanup:

Ambassador Michael and artist Jami Childers

Ambassador Michael and artist Jami Childers

Downtown’s latest murals give new meaning to the phrase “from trash to treasure.”

Two paintings, approximately two feet wide and eight feet high, now cover the gaps between The Magnificat Cafe and its two adjacent buildings near the corner of Laura and Monroe streets. These gaps used to be a common spot for litter, now no longer accessible thanks to the artwork.

“It’ll brighten up that corner a little bit,” said artist Jami Childers, who painted the murals. “It’s a good remedy for an ugly problem.”

The idea for the murals began last fall when Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Rey Coll approached Downtown Ambassador Michael Ryan about the gap on Monroe Street. Officer Coll asked Ambassador Mike if there was anything he could do about cleaning out the litter and possibly blocking the gap with a plant or other material.

While Officer Coll and Ambassador Mike were discussing clean-up options at the site, Childers, who owns 44 Monroe Art Studio & Gallery adjacent to the gap, popped out to see what they were up to. They explained the issue, and then the idea came to Ambassador Michael: Childers could paint a mural to install over the gap.

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.”

by: Admin in Placemaking No Comments  

If you take City Parks Alliance‘s word for it, parks are power.

“These green spaces provided relief from urban intensity for residents and [bring] people together across social, economic and racial divides,” says the organization’s website. “As cities across the country are attracting millions of residents again, the center of this sweeping urban renaissance are newly revitalized parks.”

To celebrate National Take a Walk in the Park Day – always March 30 – we’re highlighting five of our favorite green spaces Downtown. What’s your favorite urban oasis? Let us know in the comment section below.

Hemming Park

Hemming Park

Hemming Park

The flowers are blooming, and urbanites are beaming in Jacksonville’s oldest park. The park’s GreenMarket kicks off this Friday, and the Friends of Hemming Park team can’t wait for you to check it out.

“Adding to the richness of Downtown Jacksonville is the most exciting piece of the market,” said Keith Marks, outreach and marketing director for Hemming Park. “It’s a unique experience Hemming will provide Downtown Jacksonville – a chance to meet friends, be surrounded by trees, and support local creators are all great reasons to get excited.”

While the GreenMarket will be a weekly mainstay – every Friday 3:30-6:30 p.m. – it only scratches the surface of the amenities and happenings the park offers daily.

“Fresh air, Wi-Fi, live music, free fitness classes, chess and checkers, Imagination Playground, socializing with friends, and being a part of a re-energized Downtown,” Marks said. “Doesn’t get any better than that!”

We recommend: Simply stay on top of park happenings! Dozens of events are hosted each month in Hemming, including DVI’s First Wednesday Art Walk this week. For the latest info, check out our events calendar and visit