North Beaches Art Walk Celebrates 10 Years

The North Beaches Art Walk got its start in 2007 when Beaches art-industry professionals JoAnne Adams, Alice Gartland and Linda Stewart came together in hopes of recreating the popular art walk atmosphere of Downtown.

Through their nurturing and dedication, the event has grown considerably since its infancy. And on every third Thursday of the month, the streets of the Beaches Town Center erupt with creativity.

What was once a small pool of carefully selected artists has now become a bubbling ocean of art, a place where woodworkers comingle with jewelry designers and musicians play into the night. Welcoming to locals and out of towners alike, to say it’s a communal event would be putting it lightly; it’s an experience.

Now, ten years later, the ArtWalk is gearing up to celebrate with a special anniversary bash.

This upcoming Third Thursday, October 19th, attendees will be in for a treat with a performing acrobat team, as well as a caricature artist and two exciting raffles. In addition, a nonprofit team will be launching a campaign to help people understand how valuable teachers are to the Jacksonville community. Adults and children will be able to make art themselves, as they’ll be encouraged to create a visual representation of their favorite teacher.

Tell me about your business:
Red Daisy has been in business for 9 years at The Beaches Town Center. We are a boutique gift shop that combines vintage items with new merchandise.

How long have your participated and why have you continued to support NBAW?
Red Daisy has participated in NBAW for every one of those 9 years!

How does it benefit your business?
We've said it so many times it sounds like a broken record—“Wow, we had so many people in the shop tonight that had never been to a NBAW." So naturally, we love having all the new customers in our shop every month.

How do you see it benefiting the community?
Events that promote local artisans and businesses can only help. Money spent at these events goes right back into the helping the community it comes from!

As business owner, are you happy with the growth and direction the NBAW has taken in the last 10 years?
As a business owner, I love that the artists rotate their "spots" every 3 months. It gets the people actually "walking” around the Artwalk -- seeing the artists and the businesses that monetarily support the ArtWalk.

What do you want us to know about the NBAW?
ArtWalk is more than artists setting up their wares on the street; it's an organized, highly thought out event that takes hours of preparation. There are security issues, insurance issues, safety issues-- a whole myriad of things that make ArtWalk what it is. And it takes a lot of volunteers to keep it going!

Favorite artist, memory, or part of NBAW?
My favorite part of ArtWalk is that it is a juried event of extremely talented artists. So many street fairs will allow anyone to purchase a booth to sell their crafts. NBAW isn’t like that-- the diversity is what keeps the people coming. And the fact that the brick and mortar shops that are here year ‘round keeping the BTC a viable community for all makes for a well rounded and balanced event. Something for everybody—food, fun, art and shopping!

Tell me about your work/medium:
I am a jewelry designer, and use natural gemstones and sterling to create my pieces.  I try to find the most stunning stone colors and cuts to mix and create one-of-a-kind pieces that my customers view as treasures.
How long have your participated and why have you continued to show for (almost 10 years) at NBAW?  
I’ve been with the ArtWalk since its very first day. My first table was set up at the Sun Dog Diner. I was invited to show at the establishment by Curtis and Kim Winter. I still owe them a gratitude for helping me with my start. I love the sense of community that we have in Beaches Town Center. It has always been a great place for supporting the arts and improving the social experience. The Artwalk draws a large crowd each month, and everyone is in great spirits. It has been a pleasure to participate for these past ten years.
How does NBAW differ from other Art Shows you have been involved with?
North Beaches Art Walk has a very special feel to it because of its location.  The Beaches Town Center is the heart of the area, and full of life all year long.  The Artwalk is just an extension of that feeling and a part of the beating heart.  I feel lucky to be a part of the organization for so long.  I volunteer to help out in any way that I can.
As an artist, are you happy with the growth and direction the NBAW has taken in the last 10 years?
As an artist, I am very happy with the direction the North Beach Art Walk is headed.  In today’s age, digital networking and marketing are all the rage and the fact that our Director makes frequent posts on Instagram and Facebook is a huge plus.  As a non-profit organization, there is a very miniscule budget for advertising and most of the money brought in serves to pay the insurance for the event, and operating costs.   In this way, the use of social media creates a great opportunity for inexpensive advertising.  I believe it helps boost our attendance and also promote the venues that support our event.  It is a win/win for all involved.
What do you want people to know about NBAW?
The NBAW is always evolving and new artists come to join all the time.  I want the crowd to know that we are always trying to keep it fresh and updated.  Any support for our event is always welcome.  It is a volunteer based organization and we welcome help and participation from the community.  We often get help from students at Fletcher, in fact.  We are currently seeking business sponsors who might like to help us make this event the best it can be.
Favorite artist, memory or part of NBAW?
I think that one of my favorite things about Artwalk is that people get so creative, not just the artists, but the crowd.  We have had people walking around with costumes, we’ve had acrobats, we have had dogs in costume.  This is just an example of the festive spirit that the event evokes.  It really brings out the best in everyone.

A little bit about your business:
In 1973, when I was just 17 years old, I opened my store in the Beaches Town Center. Next to Pete’s Bar, my store is the oldest business here. I specialize in creating custom, one-of-a-kind pieces all by hand. Nothing I make can be reproduced or created by a computer.

How long have you participated in the North Beaches Art Walk? Why do you continue to support the event?
I was an avid supporter of the North Beaches Art Walk from the get-go. My main reason for supporting was to drive traffic into our community and to help it thrive. I continue to support it in hopes that it will grow and nurture art.

How do you see it benefitting the community?
ArtWalk is great for drawing in a clientele that appreciates and supports the arts, in turn bringing more creativity to the community.

As a business owner, are you happy with the growth and direction the NBAW has taken in the last 10 years?
I appreciate with the ArtWalk is and what it has accomplished, but I do believe it has room to grow and improve. Keeping the show juried is an important part, as well as remaining selective.

Favorite artist, memory or part of NBAW?
I always got a kick out of seeing my various customers’ wears, such as Judy Pino’s paintings or Smitty and Jennie Smith’s photo coasters.

Tell us about your business in BTC and your background:
I have been the owner of First Street Gallery for 12 years now. Before being in charge, I was a participating artist that sold in the store when it opened its doors in 2000.

Whose idea was it to start the NBAW and why?
ArtWalk came to be when myself, Alice Gartland and Linda Stewart came together in 2007. We wanted to create an artistic atmosphere in our own backyard, much like the scene that was already thriving downtown.

How did it benefit your business?
When ArtWalk began, we saw an influx of people that had never been to the Beaches Town Center before. It was a great tool for bringing people in and exposing them to our businesses.

How did you see it benefitting the community?
ArtWalk was the perfect opportunity for giving a chance to local artists a chance and a platform to showcase what they can do.

BTC went through various location changes, from the Adel Grage Center to where it is now. Was that a challenge to orchestrate between so many businesses?
To put it mildly—it was a challenge, yes. It took a while for people to get into it and participate. And then there were a few that never got into it at all.
Looking back, what would you have done differently in the start-up phase?
Honestly, I wouldn’t change anything. I’m extremely happy with how successful it was and continues to be!

Are you happy with the growth and direction NBAW has taken in the past 10 years?
I think ArtWalk has become one of the premier destinations at the beach for a nice family evening—it’s just good, clean fun that benefits the community and those that live in it.

Favorite artist, memory or part of NBAW?
One of my favorite parts about ArtWalk was participating in the party planning for our anniversary celebrations—they were always such a good time!

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