ABOUT THE RIVERSIDE ARTS MARKET
Since its grand opening on April 4, 2009, the Riverside Arts Market (RAM) has served as a popular community-gathering place and is arguably the most unique arts and entertainment venue in Northeast Florida.
Located under the sheltering canopy of the Fuller Warren Bridge at 715 Riverside Avenue, RAM is an all-weather family destination that attracts an average of 7,500 visitors every weekend. Unprecedented in size and scope, RAM provides a dependable storefront for artists/artisans, food artists, food vendors and farmer/growers to sell their products, and provides a marvelous family entertainment destination each weekend on the St. Johns River.
RAM is in full operation every Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm, March through December, showcasing up to 200 artists, food vendors, entertainers and non-profits in a symphony of culture and family friendly fun activities. Many vendors depend on RAM as their major source of income. RAM also operates an abbreviated market (Winter RAM) during the months of January and February. It sponsors periodic evening events as well, such as a 4th of July Fireworks Viewing and Holidazzle!
RAM is very much a green marketplace, supporting healthy lifestyles and a strong environmental consciousness. It includes a robust farmers’ market, featuring locally grown seasonal produce. Artists in the market sell only hand-made works of art; no mass-produced or re-sale items are allowed. None of its food vendors are allowed to use styrofoam packaging, and biodegradable and reusable bags are strongly encouraged.
Located in the geometric center of Jacksonville at the nexus of Northeast Florida’s two largest interstate highways, RAM is efficiently accessible from all directions. The market seeks to reduce its carbon footprint by encouraging visitors to come by bicycle (highlighted by its innovative Bike Valet service); by foot (promoting the Northbank Riverwalk as well as the sidewalks of the Riverside Historic District); by cross-promotion with the nearby Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens and 5 Points Shopping Village to consolidate automobile trips, and with a 200-foot boat dock to encourage recreational watercraft, including kayaks, to come to the market. RAM has even had marathon swim teams and kayak/SUP board flotillas arrive at the market via the boat dock.
Originally slated to be a retention pond surrounded by a chain-link fence, this unique gathering spot under the bridge was the result of a 15-year effort by activist Wayne Wood to capture this riverfront setting as a public marketplace. Its award-winning design with elegant landscaping, sinuous pedestrian pathways, and ornamental paving and lighting was created by architect Melody Bishop. The result has been called “one of the best public spaces in Florida.” The site has over a thousands free parking spaces within brief walking distance and includes restrooms, bike racks and a spectacular riverfront amphitheatre that seats 350 people and features 5 hours of free concerts each week. As part of its design, the RAM site is heavily utilized on non-market days – Monday through Friday it serves as a parking lot for neighboring Black Knight Financial, and throughout the week RAM’s riverfront plaza is a widely used public park known as Northbank Riverwalk Artists’ Square, which forms the terminus for the Northbank Riverwalk.
The Riverside Arts Market is one of the finest local examples of a public/private partnership, with funding for its extensive infrastructure obtained from FDOT, the City of Jacksonville, JEA, JTA and Fidelity National. Riverside Arts Market, LLC manages the market under the non-profit umbrella of Riverside Avondale Preservation, Inc. (RAP), a 501c3 charitable organization and one of Jacksonville’s oldest and largest neighborhood advocacy organizations.
Highlighted in dozens of publications including USA Today and the Financial Times of London, RAM was awarded the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville’s Special Recognition Award, citing its “extraordinary impact on the city. It is a phenomenon . . . which drew more than 500,000 people during its first year of operation, and it is the largest free weekly arts and entertainment venue in the State of Florida. The RAM experience is like no other in Jacksonville.” RAM was also the recipient of the Urban Land Institute’s North Florida District Council’s 2012 Public Sector Award, is a five-time winner of Folio Weekly’s Best of Jacksonville Award for Best Farmers’ Market and has been recognized by TripAdvisor for its consistently high visitor rating.
For general inquiries, email email@example.com
To sign up for a volunteer shift at RAM, click here.
For vendor information and vendor related questions, please contact a Market Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Non-profits, Special Theme Day vendors, Morning Yoga at RAM, and the Children’s Creativity Corner should also email a Market Manager at email@example.com.