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Get off your couch and go to Art Walk

A busy Laura St, Chamblins Uptown is an art walk destination. Photo by Randy Rataj.
A busy Laura St, Chamblins Uptown is an art walk destination. Photo by Randy Rataj.

What: Jacksonville’s Downtown Art Walk

Cost: Free

Date: The first Wednesday of every month, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Location: Downtown near Monroe Street West and Hemming Plaza 

Music. Food. Art. Beer. If you enjoy any of these four, then Art Walk is the place for you. It takes place on the first Wednesday of every month, and it’s definitely the place to be on a Wednesday night.

Hemming Plaza is crowded with artists and live music. Lights weave through the trees, giving a lovely ambiance to walk around. It’s not uncommon to see a group of people dressed in woven dresses and dreads in their hair, playing bongos and singing songs.

Incredible art is displayed under tents in booths around the plaza.

I started my evening at MOCA, which contains contemporary works from brilliant artists all over the world. On the night of Art Walk, MOCA is so crowded with people it’s like you’re walking through the Tate Modern in London.

Outside MOCA is an array of booths where beautiful handcrafted jewelry can be purchased. For example, I bought an amethyst crystal attached to an empty bullet shell necklace for $10, considering the incredible quality.

There’s also clothing—like scarves crocheted by UNF student Emily Buffington.

“I hope to get an Etsy store soon, and start selling stuff,” Buffington said.

Lovely ceramic bowls and mugs, created by students Alyssa Wagner and Cal Cook, can be found at one of the many booths.

“We’ve been working on our own stuff, but on the side we make more specifically to sell here,” said Cook.

Once all the browsing has been done, it’s time to eat—and drink. Chamblin’s Uptown bookstore has a coffee shop has everything from vegan wraps to a turkey and brie croissant. Beer specials will wash it right down.

In the bookstore section behind the coffee shop, old classics can be re-discovered.

If you’re still feeling the Art Walk vibe, then going out on the town is your best option. There are many cool little bars hidden all over town. Burrow Bar and Underbelly are just two of them—with cheap drinks, like $2 Pabst Blue Ribbons and $3 craft beers.

Underbelly has movies playing on an old brick wall behind the bar, and music to dance to. The crowd is composed of Jacksonville’s artistic elite; sporting beards and thrift store bought boots.

Burrow Bar will soak your hair in smoke, but it’s okay, because the music will dismiss your concern. Every local craft beer is on tap—ranging from a steep $6 to a cheaper $3.

Bands from all over the South will move your feet, and eventually, you’ll forget about the bare-footed misfits behind you. The best part about these shows is there’s normally no cover charge.

As the night draws to an end, you’ll walk away with merry memories—and dreaming of next month’s Art Walk.

Email Ellie Strube at [email protected] [wzslider info=”true” lightbox=”true”]

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