Art Walk Returns

Art Walk / Lexi Brantman

After an 18-month hiatus, Art Walk will return to Downtown Jacksonville on Oct. 6.

The event, programmed by Downtown Vision in collaboration with local businesses, has occurred every first Wednesday of the month since 2003, drawing thousands of people into the wonder of the urban core.

The organization took the time off as an opportunity to breathe new life into Art Walk. An updated layout features three hubs: James Weldon Johnson Park will host Downtown Vision’s programs, the Jessie Ball DuPont Center will curate local art and performers with a focus on equity and community, and the VyStar Breezeway will host the Vagabond Flea Market’s local handcrafted goods. Each area, along with the businesses along the way, will have its own programming.

Before 2020, Art Walk’s attendance was steadily declining, and businesses began closing before the event began that evening. Attendees were staying in place in the streets instead of walking through the programs. 

“It had taken on a life of its own,” said Katherine Hardwick, Downtown Vision’s VP of marketing. “What we’re looking at for this reboot, and having time to think about it mindfully and talk to businesses and artists, we are going back to a more organic traditional art walk format and less of a block party.”

The organization is offering stipends to participating businesses to bring in their own programming on the first Wednesday in an effort to highlight Downtown’s diversity and everything it has to offer. 

“We’re encouraging them to bring in artists that fit their vibe and their mission instead of pigeonholing them into working with us,” Haley Tinkle, who oversees Art Walk. 

The Main Library and MOCA will resume their first Wednesday events. Southlight Gallery, The Volstead, Mag’s Cafe, Ruby Beach Brewing, Phillips and Hunt, and many more will have their own programs. An interactive map on the Downtown Vision website will have information on each venue for a personalized Art Walk experience.

“Art Walk is a key part of our mission to promote Downtown Jacksonville as a great place to live, work, visit and invest,” said Hardwick. “We’re thrilled to relaunch this beloved event to support our local arts scene and showcase all Downtown has to offer.”

About Isa Barrientos