by: Admin in Events No Comments  

DVI, you, your friends and thousands of other locals aren’t the only ones roaming around Art Walk – so is The Florida Times-Union‘s Matt Pittman. Check out his latest video below, featuring a cameo by our very own Angela Bruno:

by: Admin in Placemaking No Comments  

Recently on vacation, I spent a few hours exploring Downtown Richmond.  Though it was still early in the morning – before many of the shops had opened – Richmond was full of culture, color and activity. Nowhere was this more evident than in its unique public spaces.

Belle Isle Pedestrian Bridge

My first stop was Belle Isle, home to a prisoner-of-war camp during the Civil War and later to a nail works, granite quarry and hydroelectric plant. Today, it’s a thriving city park: a scenic and wooded retreat accessible by the Belle Isle Pedestrian Bridge suspended over the James River.

Grateful Dead Rock at Belle Isle

Located within Downtown, the 52-acre island offers miles of hiking and biking trails, and access to canoeing, kayaking, camping and even rock climbing. Scattered throughout the island lie picnic areas created amid old buildings remnants. Huge, flat boulders line the river and are used in the summer for picnics, sun bathing and relaxing.

Outside the James River Power Plant Building

Richmond’s Canal Walk was our next stop. The Canal Walk features four centuries of history displayed by statues and exhibits along a 1.25-miles stretch on the banks of the James River and Kanawha and Haxall canals. Along the way, we stumbled upon the James River Power Plant Building and Floodwall, an open-aired building boasting amazing murals created during the Richmond Virginia Street Arts Festival. While I was busy snapping pictures, pedestrians were walking, running, bicycling all around me on this busy route to get to work or enjoy some morning exercise.

In just a short time there, I fell in love with the way Richmond embraces its public spaces utilizing empty walls to create public art; capitalizing on its natural resources, like the river, to encourage outdoor activities; and showcasing its history. Residents and tourists of Richmond have a great opportunity to explore the nooks and crannies of their city.

We too, in Downtown Jacksonville have so much local cultural, amazing natural resources and fascinating history to embrace. With nearly three miles of Riverwalk and waterfront parks like Friendship Fountain and Metropolitan Park; with more and more public art to brighten our streetscapes; and with wonderful historic tours, like the Top to Bottom Tours there is already much to enjoy.

And there is a lot of work being done behind the scenes for further enhancement. The City of Jacksonville is currently reviewing an Request For Information on the 40-plus-acre for the development of the Shipyards property and it’s about to issue an Request For Proposal for the management of Hemming Plaza. Also, the Cultural Council of Great Jacksonville is currently reviewing applications for its Spark Grant Initiative, which aims to bring three-to-four major public art installments to the core of Downtown. These and other new initiatives will be key in enhancing Downtown’s appeal and activating our public spaces.

by: Admin in Placemaking No Comments  

Finished last week, the murals on the Yates parking garage brighten up Downtown with more whimsical public art.

The first two murals, best seen by drivers entering Downtown from the Hart Bridge Expressway, are abstract designs by Felicia Asteinza and Joey Fillasre of Milagros Art Collective. The remaining two murals, featuring symbolic Origami paper cranes, were created by Sean Mahan of Neptune Beach.

If you haven’t seen the murals yet, check out the photos below but we promise you, that it will be worth your time to visit the murals and see them for yourself.

For more information on the City of Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places collection, administered by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, and other art initiatives Downtown, read our previous blog post.




by: Admin in Placemaking No Comments  

“I love this city, and I’m doing what I can to make it a better place.”
-Artist Shaun Thurston

It’s not a far stretch of the imagination to believe art has a positive affect on communities. In a recently released video, local artist Shaun Thurston shares through his own words – and artwork – why public art matters.

“Artwork, I hope, makes people feel inspired,” he says. “It can make them feel loved and appreciated, and that can add to a sense of community.” The video chronicles the spring installation of Thurston‘s mural above Chamblin’s Uptown & Cafe on Laura Street, as part of DVI’s Laura Street Facade Grant Program in conjunction with the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville‘s “Art in Public Places” initiative:

DVI’s Laura Street Façade Grant Program, a matching grant program established in 2011 to provide economic incentive for property and business owners to improve building facades and storefronts. – See more at:
a matching grant program established in 2011 to provide economic incentive for property and business owners to improve building facades and storefronts. – See more at:
a matching grant program established in 2011 to provide economic incentive for property and business owners to improve building facades and storefronts. – See more at:

According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, public art fosters community appreciation and attachment:

 “The Knight Foundation’s Soul of the Community initiative surveyed some 43,000 people in 43 cities and found that “social offerings, openness and welcome-ness,” and, importantly, the “aesthetics of a place – its art, parks, and green spaces,” ranked higher than education, safety, and the local economy as a “driver of attachment.” Indeed, the same story may be playing out locally in Philly: a survey of local residents found that viewing public art was the 2nd most popular activity in the city, ranking above hiking and biking.”

With Downtown Jacksonville’s public art boom underway, we’re one step – and a few murals – closer to a more robust city center. For even more progress on North Florida’s largest art gallery, known simply as “Downtown Jacksonville,” check out the Yates parking garage photo gallery.

by: Admin in Placemaking No Comments  

The saying goes that colors brighten any room. The same can be said about public art Downtown. The recent addition of several public art installations Downtown have brightened bare exterior walls of businesses, brought life back to façades of vacant historic buildings and transformed familiar walkways’ fences, sidewalks and trees.

Yates garage mural installation underway June 7.

The latest in this public art boom on the heels of One Spark are the Yates parking garage murals, currently under installation at the corner of Market and Newnan streets. New murals will be constructed on each of the four 52-foot stair towers of the garage and are the newest addition to the City of Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places collection, administered by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville.

The first two murals, by Northeast Florida artists Felici Asteinza and Joey Fillastre of Milagros Art Collective, are abstract designs best seen by drivers from the Hart Bridge Expressway. Neptune Beach artist Sean Mahan will create figurative and symbolic images on the remaining two murals geared toward pedestrian traffic.

Sean Mahan mural concept (left), alongside Felici Asteinza and Joey Fillastre of Milagros Art Collective’s abstract mural.

According to the official press release, the murals will create a visual connection to accessible public parking and serve as an entry point into the Spark District, a new Cultural Council initiative to revitalize Downtown’s core through arts and culture projects.

The Spark District spans from the riverfront north to Duval Street and is bordered east to west from Liberty Street to Hogan Street and is meant to serve as a canvas for Spark Grant Program beneficiaries. The Spark Grant Program anticipates awarding $5,000-$25,000 to approximately eight visual arts projects from a pool of $60,000 this year. For more information, view the Spark Grant video or visit the Cultural Council’s website.

Public art is an important initiative for any Downtown working toward revitalization as it enhances the street-level experience, creates and inspires effective public place-making and improves the quality of life for Downtown workers, residents and visitors.

If you’re interested in checking out the Yates garage murals’ installations, the artists are scheduled to paint at the site 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through July 6.

by: Admin in Placemaking No Comments  

NPR photo

Thought-provoking public art and effective placemaking knows no borders. Walk the streets of Downtown Jacksonville, and you’ll see yarn-bombs, murals and sculptures. Walk the streets of Brazil’s Sao Paulo, and you’ll likely run into the same.

A recent NPR story chronicles the public art and placemaking scene of Downtown Sao Paulo, along with the artists who make it happen:

“[Crochet artist Leticia] Matos covers trees and street poles with woolen sleeves and small, colorful pompoms. Her works look like whimsical webs of rainbow yarn; the effect is surprising and oddly comforting.

‘I want people to have something familiar in the city. Here in Brazil we teach knitting from mother to daughter,’ Matos says. ‘When they see my art, they suddenly feel comfortable walking these cold streets. And you can feel better.’

Urban landscapes have always inspired art, and Brazil is no exception. A new crop of artists like Matos not only is taking inspiration from Sao Paulo’s streets but also is trying to give something back.”

Read or listen to the full NPR story: In Gritty Sao Paulo, Artists Take To The Streets. In the comment section below, share your ideas for public art and placemaking in Downtown Jacksonville.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Spotlight No Comments  

On One Spark in Downtown Jacksonville:

“Crowded cars on the Skyway. Traffic congestion downtown. Long waits at restaurants.

Isn’t it wonderful?

More than once I heard someone talking about the vibe, even the seemingly negative aspects, by saying, ‘Isn’t this great? … This feels like a real downtown.'”

Read the the full article, “Mark Woods: Downtown felt like downtown should feel” at

Can’t get enough of One Spark? Here are a number of wrap-ups and recaps to get your fix, facts and figures: