Yesterday's edition of First Wednesday Art Walk took a different direction with an "Oktoberfest" theme including beer, food and traditional European fall festival music.
Another aspect of the different direction was that instead of being intended to encourage participants to walk around Downtown visiting art galleries, retailers and entertainment venues, the event, sponsored by Downtown Vision Inc., was focused on the activities at Hemming Plaza.
At the property tax-supported urban core advocacy organization's September board of directors meeting, Executive Director Terry Lorince said Art Walk in October would be a fundraiser for the organization. She said the goal was to generate at least $10,000 in beer sales at the event, which was expanded for the first time from the usual 5-9 p.m. schedule to 5-11 p.m.
"Art Walk is the most iconic event that exists for bringing people Downtown," said Lorince.
Valerie Feinberg, DVI director of strategic partnership, said at the board's meeting Wednesday that the Oktoberfest event was supported by in-kind contributions and volunteers and that she is actively seeking partnership agreements for future First Wednesday Art Walks.
Downtownjacksonville.org, the organization's website, offers a sponsorship menu including a $70,000 Presenting Sponsor level and a $15,000 per event Headquarters@Hemming Plaza sponsorship.
Feinberg said money raised through sponsorships would be used to "elevate Art Walk." Possible changes include covering the cost of having the Main Library stay open three hours later, until 10 p.m., for Art Walk. Feinberg said expanding Art Walk programs for children at the Museum of Contemporary Art is another possibility. Both venues are along Laura Street at the east side of Hemming Plaza.
"Art Walk is about more than art," said Feinberg.
Downtown Investment Authority CEO Aundra Wallace spoke to the board Wednesday and said he sees "good things on the horizon."
Wallace described the level of opportunities Downtown as a "perfect storm." He said the process is in place and it's time for implementation.
"I want to stop using the word 'plan' and start a business development strategy. We're going to build an organization focused solely on Downtown," Wallace said.