Somewhere in the City is quite often known for finding the quirky features in Jax. However, today we want to introduce you to something weird. There’s quietly and slowly been a little movement in our city, and we’ve been watching and seeing it evolve more and more into the potential it holds. SitC couldn’t wait to get an interview with the founder of Make Jax Weird. This may sound a little familiar if you’ve heard people in Austin, Texas consistently saying, “Keep Austin Weird.” The idea didn’t originate from there, though; it actually originated from Fort Worth, Texas where they don’t say, “keep” they say, “Make Fort Worth Weird.” Now, calm yourself down; you may think Jacksonville is already weird but we like the idea of continuously making it weird. If you haven’t heard of this little craze that we expect to have an outbreak, let us tell you exactly what Make Jax Weird is.
It’s simply a movement anyone can get involved in. It’s an idea that we can look at our city through the filters of different, creative, innovative, sustainable, local, and needless to say, weird. We sat down with the founder of the idea, but this person wants to stay anonymous. When you don’t know who started it, there isn’t a stero-type or judgement attached. There’s only curiosity, and that engages you to continue to be ever more interested. The founder also really wanted to make it a point that anyone can make Jacksonville weird. If you were to see and/or know the founder, they would be fearful that you’d only attribute the movement to them. It’s intended to create a community-focused movement through all ages, genders, and essentially through every demographic.
Although Make Jax Weird sprouted from ideas in Austin and Fort Worth, the idea sat in someone’s mind for a whole year, wondering how they could possibly recreate and mold it in a way that fit our city. Our interviewee told us they felt the city had a lost identity. Now, we’re all just adding to the weirdness, and our city is on the cusp of something greater than itself. Make Jax Weird says, “Don’t just be or do, take responsibility for your city.” If you have an idea, instead of mulling it over in your mind, act upon it. So after they mulled the idea of making Jax weird, they simply just started an Instagram account and started hashtagging with #makejaxweird.
They first popped up on our radar through their Instagram account. We started to follow them to see what kind of weird path they would be taking. If you go through the hashtags, you’ll discover photos of local businesses stepping out of the norm, parks, people, food trucks, the river, bike racks, bridges, fire breathers, buildings, festivals, and the list can go on (and you can add to it). Anything can be weird, because it’s just how we view our city. Like we mentioned before, we saw that this Instagram account held a lot of potential, and we liked where they took it next. They ordered a bulk amount of lovely green stickers that simply said, “Make Jax Weird.” You can easily get your hands on a couple of stickers by going to their website and purchasing some for $2. If you have an adventurous spirit, you can also hunt out the places where a team of weird people leave them around our city. I got a good handful of these stickers. I’ve been sticking them in some of my favorite places in our city.
Where is Make Jax Weird heading? The goals for Make Jax Weird is that it’d sustain itself through connections and everyone taking ownership. The stickers started out green but there are intended to be new editions of stickers. The color indigo just came out! Keep looking forward to different colors! If you haven’t gotten an idea of how you can take part yet, let’s break it down to some action steps for you: Support the movement by buying stickers so that Make Jax Weird can order more, go out into your community and neighborhood to find those “weird” places, start going sticker crazy, and make sure you’re hashtagging with #makejaxweird. Most importantly, don’t forget to be weird yourself, as we believe that it’s not just a place or event that makes up Jacksonville, it’s the characters inside of it.