What’s Right With Jacksonville: Riverside Arts Market


There are a lot of almost ideas and great sentiments buzzing around in my head about Jacksonville and the people who live here. We are all so quick to pick apart this city and harp about its glaringly obvious flaws. It’s true that there is quite an errand list of things that need to be fixed here, but I’m certain we all think it’s somehow fixable and worth the work. Why else would we stay here? Why else would we sit around and talk about it?

Yesterday, I went to the Opening Ceremonies of the Riverside Arts Market. My boyfriend pointed out that it is a replica of the Saturday Market in Portland, OR. I suppose that might have seemed like a slight against Jacksonville; that one of the best things that happen in this town is based off of a weekly event in another city. However, it didn’t strike me that way at all. Someone thought it was a good idea, knew we had the creative & talented people to make it happen, and was motivated enough to get it done.

The biggest problem I see with Jacksonville is that we ignore the many worthy things about this city that have great potential to bloom. We seem to be a segregated community of dreamers and executors. Our dreamers have the seeds of inspiration that create the sort of unique and intriguing experiences necessary to attract sustainable growth. Yet, they spend far too much time in the abstract realm and not enough dealing with practical hurdles. Executors know how to get things done, but need inspiration and direction that only dreamers can provide. Clearly, they need each other to achieve great things. The Riverside Arts Market is a great example of just such a connection, and look what it has done for our city.

This is not even remotely a new concept, but it is one that we continue to overlook when searching for solutions. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, instead of sitting around complaining about the state of things in Jacksonville, we should be looking at ways to get the people with the ideas cozy with the people who can make them a reality.