It’s Feature Friday for our UNF students.We told you awhile back about our exciting partnership with the Applied Journalism class at UNF? Every Friday, we feature one of the students and their Tumblr project. The goal of each Tumblr is to give the aspiring journalist a chance to look at their neighborhood a little bit differently, and to write about it in a unique way. Not only is the idea behind the project a chance for each to learn to love their neighborhood, but to also to explore new forms of writing beyond traditional news copy. As Professor Paula Horvath said, “Newspapers may disappear, but writing never will.”
Meet: Cortlyn Stovall
Hello, all. I’m Cortlyn Stovall, aspiring journalist and professional wanderer. I’m a current senior at the University of North Florida studying journalism. I have a passion for writing, traveling and taking the world by storm. I am fascinated by the social media revolution and I try and take advantage of all the resources we’ve been given to chronicle the experiences that make up my life.
Born and raised on the First Coast, I reside in Jax Beach. If I’m not biking down Third Street, you can catch me at The Elbow or in Riverside. The beach has so much to offer that most people who live “across the ditch” don’t get to experience. First & First is designed to keep all of Jax in the know of what amazing happenings the beaches offer.
Growing up in Jacksonville, I typically heard one of two things. You either love it or you hate it. For me, Jacksonville was, and still is, the greatest place on earth.
Thankfully, due to the recent uprising of the urban core, more people are starting to feel the same way.
I made the move across the ditch to Jacksonville Beach three years ago. It made sense because the beach is one of the few places in Jax I could always find something to do or somewhere to hang out. I was a sucker for fun in the sun. If I wasn’t biking down Third Street, I was somewhere with my toes in the sand. It didn’t even occur to me to hang out elsewhere around the city, the beach had everything I needed.
Since I’ve moved to the beach, the urban core of downtown revolutionized the way I look at this city. Countless bars and music venues are popping up in The Elbow and Riverside, drawing the crowd into all of what Jacksonville truly has to offer. The Elbow is a trendy spin on the beach bars and venues, one where I don’t have to worry about getting sand in my favorite heels. Many of the scenes give off the “big city” vibe that Jax is developing into. I’ve recently found myself frequenting places like Dos Gatos and Underbelly, a slight change of scenery from Lynch’s and the Ritz at the beach. Even the beaches are adding some new hangouts to the area. One of the newest additions to the beach, Shim Sham Room, is a sister bar to Dos Gatos, so it gives off that same swanky lounge feel and has quickly become one of my favorite spots beachside.
It’s a nice variety to add to the mix of Jacksonville. Now there are great opportunities for the local artists to share their talents all over the city. I grew up frequenting music halls like Fuel Coffeehouse and Jackrabbits to listen to local bands and upcoming artists, a lot of which don’t exist anymore. So being able to see music venues make a comeback at places like 1904 Music Hall and Underbelly is one of my favorite feats in this Jax revolution. I’ve managed to catch some awesome artists hit these stages, like the progressive, modern rock band On Guard. I heavily suggest checking them out if you haven’t been lucky enough to see them live.
Outside of the music scene, the art industry is finally getting the credit it deserves in Jacksonville. Art walks and festivals are booming all over the First Coast. I make an effort to clear my schedule every first Wednesday of the month to attend the downtown art walk so I can overstock my already hefty jewelry collection and fill the little wall space I have left with more art. Even over just the past year the involvement and support of the downtown community for art walk and its artists have grown tremendously.
Between downtown and Riverside, Jacksonville is growing rapidly in the right direction. The sense of community around the city is off the charts, from its devoted Jaguars fans to people just trying to Make Jax Weird.
Being a Jax native, it’s awesome to see my hometown get noticed on the positive trends going on here. Our community is full of diversity and now the city is starting to live up to it’s potential.
Keep it up, Jax. We’re all rooting for you.