by: admin in Art Walk, Spotlight No Comments  

By Julianna Rosano, DVI Intern

We talked with Viktor Lazarev, local artist at First Wednesday Art Walk, about his Art Walk experiences and diverse artwork.

Q: What initially drew you to display your paintings at the First Wednesday Art Walk?love 022

A: I wanted to display my artwork to people of all different walks of life. Art Walk gave me the opportunity to sell my art to create a living and support my family.

Q: What aspects of Art Walk make you keep coming back as a vendor?

A: There are a few aspects that keep me coming back, but the number one reason is my friends and new customers. The atmosphere overall is great and it’s exciting, vibrant and inviting. It’s the kind of place you want to be.

Q: At what age did you find your love for oil painting?

A: I was a young kid and there was just something about it that allowed me to sink deeply into it. From the beginning, I had a feeling, an inspiration and I knew God was behind it. It was that simple.

acrylic vikQ: Where do you find your inspiration for your artwork?

A: I like to observe the world around me, even the little things can inspire me to create new artwork and there is a little piece of my soul in every painting. Mother Nature is the best inspiration for my art and being able to create something from that is a gift.


Q: What is your painting process? Do you mentally create the images first or just begin to paint and see where it leads?
A: Most of the time I think about the piece first and create a plan. Other times, it’s spontaneous and I like to create as I go.

Q: How long does it usually take you to create one of your paintings?

A: When I have a piece envisioned, it usually takes a few days to finish. But when it’s spontaneous, or as the Italians would say “a la prima,” I can finish within a few hours or so. Sometimes those pieces turn out better than the ones I try to plan.

Q: Where can people find your artwork?jax.fla.

A: Being a local, you can see me and buy my artwork at the First Wednesday Art Walk, North Beaches Art Walk, Riverside Arts Market, the Orange Park Arts Market and the Jax Beach Art Walk. You can also find my art online at or

Q: What impact do you hope to have on those who view your artwork?

A: Love. I want to impact people with love. I want to awaken love in the hearts of those who see my work, regardless of race or religion.

Q: What advice would you give to other local artists?

A: Be yourself, have good basics and constantly learn from your favorite artists. Be original and show people something they have never seen before.

Make sure to #ShareTheLove and stop by the First Wednesday Art Walk on February 1 to see more of Viktor Lazarev’s artwork.

set up

by: Admin in Events No Comments  

By Madelene Skinner, Contributing Writer

FNLlogoJacksonville’s most unique festival dedicated to local music, arts, culture and community returns for another exciting year. The 4th Annual Friday Night Live! Music Festival (FNL) will take place in Hemming Park every Friday in September from 7–10 p.m. FNL is a five‐night, family‐ friendly event uniting cultures through music, arts and community with a music competition, live art display, silent auction and more. Showcasing some of the best bands in Jacksonville and an energetic crowd of community support, the music competition creates a space for music lovers to engage with performers through crowd voting. From jazz to pop, rock to country, all genres are welcome to perform.

The 4th Annual Friday Night Live! Music Festival takes the attendees on an expedition to “experience, engage, and express” with the multifaceted elements of the event. Bands and musicians interested in performing in the music competition are encouraged to register online. A panel of community leaders serve as guest judges who evaluate the performances through an interactive voting component make the competition entertaining for both performers and attendees and past judges include Tony Allegretti of The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Mal Jones of The Lyricist Live, Erica Bennett of Action News Jax and Rob Campman, an international hip hop artist formerly known as Southstar. The diverse group of cool guest judges make the competition entertaining for both performers and attendees. Prizes include studio time with Bryce Professional Studio Engineer, a performance on River City Live and a chance to return on the grand finale night to win $1,000.

In addition to the bands, FNL continues its tradition of giving back to the community with the Friday Night Live Gives Back Silent Auction. Proceeds benefit Yoga 4 Change, a non‐ profit that uses teachings and practices of yoga to transform the lives of veterans, incarcerated individuals, youth and those who suffer from substance abuse. Donations are still being accepted. Any business interested in donating items for the silent auction may email here.

While bands perform, attendees are invited to the Urban Arts Live exhibit, a live art demonstration representing the cultural and artistic diversity of our local arts community, as well as various street acts as they provide entertainment throughout the evenings. Radio sponsors 93.3 The Beat and V101.5 will be onsite.FNLcreators

Being the creators, cofounders and coordinators for this event, Jasmine Rhey and I are passionate about the opportunity to exhibit Jacksonville’s many talents through music, arts, culture and community engagement. We are an ambitious duo pursuing our passion and contributing to community revitalization by organizing this event in partnership with Hemming Park.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more information and updates.

by: Admin in Weekly Update No Comments  
The following is this week’s issue of the “#DTJax Weekly Update” e-newsletter. To receive this in your email inbox each week, sign-up here.


Instagram of the Week


Photo by @mayday0821

Tag your Downtown photo #DTJax for a chance to be featured.



Things To Do Downtown

icons-art-cultureArts + Culture
icons-nightlifeLive Music + Nightlife


icons-fitnessSports + Fitness



Stories From




DVI Updates 


Red, White and BBQ Art Walk:
Just a few days until First Wednesday Art Walk – Red, White and BBQ. Continue the celebration with live music by The Band Be Easy, local art, delicious brews and more! Plus, don’t miss the Front Porch at The Landing and Art Walk After Dark in The Elbow. For more information, check out our website. So get on your most patriotic garb and we’ll see you July 6!


We Have an App! #DTJax
Our new app, #DTJax, is now available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. It’s the best way to know what is going on, with a full list of our events, things to do and places to eat and drink. The app also provides information that can be found on our website including parking, hotel options and various directories.
Download today so you can know what’s up Downtown!


DTJax App Rack Card

Take our Parklet Survey:
We need to hear your opinion! Please take just a few minutes and fill out this survey. In doing so, you’ll be helping to shape our #DTJax parklet program!


St. John’s River Taxi and Tours:
With the warmer, summer weather here to stay for awhile, enjoy it on the water with the St. John’s River Taxi! The River Taxi is now available for eco tours, Jacksonville Zoo trips and sunset river cruises.


Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 2.48.40 PM
Running every thirty minutes, the river taxi stops at the Northbank Riverwalk at The Landing, the Southbank at Friendship Fountain, Southbank at the The Doubletree Hotel, Southbank Riverwalk at The Lexington Hotel and at Metropolitan Park during special events. For more information, visit their website here.


DVI Annual Report Available:
 Have you ever wondered, what exactly does DVI do in a year? Check out our latest Annual Report, which  highlights accomplishments and financial information for fiscal year 2014-2015.


by: Admin in Events No Comments  

The American Cancer Society provides hope to those battling cancer and one of their most known events, Relay for Life, is coming to Downtown Jacksonville, April 28. We discussed all things Relay-related with Senior Community Manager, Cheyenne Overby and got the scoop on what you should know about the organization and this event.

All Photo Credit: American Cancer Society

All Photo Credit: American Cancer Society

Q: Can you tell us a little about the American Cancer Society and what the functions of the organization are?

The American Cancer Society is working relentlessly towards a world with more birthdays and less cancer. We are helping people stay well, helping people get well, finding cures and fighting back.

Q: And a little more specifically, what about Relay For Life?

As I mentioned, Relay For Life is the largest nonprofit fundraiser in the world. Since it began in 1985, it has raised more than $5 billion globally. Relay For Life is a family-friendly walk that raises awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society. Each event is organized by community volunteers and gives us the opportunity to celebrate all of our cancer Survivors, remember all of those we’ve lost and fight back against this disease. Different groups – churches, schools, businesses, family, friends, etc. – form teams and one person from each team walks around a track during the event to symbolize that the fight against cancer is continuous.

Q: Relay For Life is coming Downtown soon, how has planning and organizing been?

All Photo Credit: American Cancer Society

All Photo Credit: American Cancer Society

It has been so exciting! We are really looking forward to moving the Relay For Life of Metro Jacksonville to Hemming Park for the first time. We realized we haven’t done a very good job of giving our corporate community a place to Relay and we wanted to change that. The Leadership Team has been working very hard and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Unfortunately, we’ve all been affected by cancer in some way – whether personally, through our families or through someone we know. We’re excited to see the power of a community wanting to make a difference come together in the fight against cancer.

Q: What do you think Relay For Life does to help a community?

You know, we often talk about the power of one person. Relay For Life was started by one man – Dr. Gordy Klatt. When each one person decides to get involved with their local Relay For Life, one becomes two and two becomes 20. In 2014, Relay For Life had more than four million participants. Four million. But each of those four million started with just one.

Relay For Life brings all of these “ones” together. Relay For Life allows a community to take up the fight and gives everyone an opportunity to have a piece in it. I’ve had so many volunteers express how impactful it has been for them to have an outlet to actually do something to help. To be able to tell their friends and family that they are fighting back. It connects all of the “ones” to each other.

Q: What is your favorite part of the Relay For Life event?


All Photo Credit: American Cancer Society

Easiest question ever. The Luminaria Ceremony. This is a Ceremony where we bring down the lights and our Luminaria bags are lit in honor or in memory of loved ones. It really gives you the opportunity to reflect about WHY Relay For Life is so important and WHY we are even here, all together, fighting the same fight. It is so impactful and powerful and I look forward to it at every single event. It’ll send chills down your spine just thinking about it.


Q: How can people get involved, find out more information, volunteer or fundraise for the upcoming Relay For Life event?

There are a lot of ways to be involved – joining the Leadership Team, creating your own team (with friends, family, your company, church, school, etc.), joining a team, registering as a survivor and/or caregiver and joining in the festivities that go along with celebrating you, helping us bring more survivors and caregivers to our event, host a fundraiser and the list goes on and on! For anyone interested in more information, they can contact me directly at, check our website or look at our Facebook page.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I really want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk about Relay For Life and thank the corporate community for embracing Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society. The work we do is so important – it can save someone’s life. And, we couldn’t do it without our volunteers and without the passion, dedication and inspiration they bring to us. We hope to continue to grow and continue to spread our mission and serve our communities. Relay isn’t all we do, but all we do depends on Relay.


All Photo Credit: American Cancer Society

Thank you to Cheyenne and the whole team at the American Cancer Society. We are lucky and excited to have a Relay in #DTJax so go register your team today and we’ll see you April 28 in Hemming Park for Relay for Life!

by: Admin in Business Spotlights No Comments  

We sat down with owner of Monroe Galleries (previously 44 Monroe Art Studio and Gallery), Jami Childers in her new studio to talk about what to expect in early 2016.


Q: What’s your favorite thing about owning a business so close to Hemming Park? 

Hemming Park is alive with fun happenings and events. We will be expanding our hours and hope to tap into all that is going on.

Q: What do you love about owning a business Downtown?

It’s so much fun to be a part of a community that is growing. There is so much support here!

Q: Describe Downtown’s progress since you opened 44 Monroe Art Studio & Gallery and have now relocated to your second location (formerly Grease Rags Clothing Co.)?

I think that there are many people moving into the heart of Downtown and they are ready to support it. We just have to give them what they need. Being open on the weekends like some of the newer restaurants is what is changing things here. We decided to move (two doors down) so we could offer our clients a wider range of local art and design elements. In our newly renovated location, patrons can find all they need for their home and one-of-a-kind gifts.


Q: Why did you decide to relocate your business?

Honestly, we were really busting at the seams in our smaller location. We have a year’s waiting list of artists that want to show in our gallery. Now we have the space to allow for more artists to display with us. We are also bringing in local craftsmen and their wares. Dustin Bradley (our designer) will take all these elements and create beautiful displays, just like he has for the past year designing our windows.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about owning an art gallery?

My favorite thing about owning an art gallery has been providing a cool spot for artists to show their work. There is nothing like seeing the look on the faces of the artists when they sell a piece of work and the collector walks away with something they will forever cherish. An artist paints for the joy and release of creating and when someone relates to that and wants to take it home and enjoy it forever, that’s what it’s all about. I am lucky that I get to see that when I do my portrait commissions. This last year I had the privilege of painting a portrait of a beautiful young girl who had passed away. Her parents were so greatful to have her portrait painted. It just makes my job so fulfilling.

IMG_0207Q: What are you most excited about with Monroe Galleries?

Being able to bring all of us together under one roof so we can all do what we love is what I am excited about. It will be awesome to provide a place for customers to find all they need to fill their home with unique items. We want to be that place where you go to purchase things you can’t find anywhere else. We are making Downtown the place to be!


To learn more about Jami and all of the other artists exhibiting at Monroe Galleries, be sure to visit them at 40 W. Monroe St., Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are also open during the First Wednesday Art Walk with live entertainment, food and lots of local art and gifts.

by: admin in Events 1 Comment  

Whether you’re an elf or a reindeer – there’s plenty to see and lots to do in #DTJax for the holidays! Need some gifts? You’re covered. Want to see some holiday shows? Look no further. Love christmas trees and fireworks? Of course you do. So get up and get on down, but remember to be nice because…


‘Tis the Season to Shop Local

Hemming Park Holiday Market
Nov. 30 – Dec. 11 | 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Enjoy festive holiday decorations and Support local small businesses with a rotation of different vendors each day. The markets and food trucks will run 11:00am – 2:00pm for guest of the park to gather and purchase gifts.

Vagabond Flea 
Dec. 12 | 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. 

Every second Saturday, join Vagabond Coffee Company in Hemming Park to shop vintage finds and handmade goods from local craftsmen and collectors.

Riverside Arts Market: Holidazzle
Dec. 12 | 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Go to the Riverside Arts Market and enjoy all the festivities from lights and decor to photos with Santa and classic holiday movies on stage from 6 – 9 p.m.

Jaxsons Night Market 
Dec. 17 | 5:30 – 9 p.m.

A monthly night market for Jaxsons by Jaxsons, showcasing what makes our community unique including local farmers, local beer, food trucks, fashion trucks, art and food vendors, live music and much more.

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.