Saturday evening, Jacksonville-native Willie Jackson was the last to take the stage for One Spark’s Speaker Series. With his parents sitting in the audience, Jackson addressed the crowd with his talk “Against the Grain: Unconventional lessons for modern artists.”
An artist, engineer, marketer and writer, Jackson runs support for W3 Total Cache, a Wordpress plug-in. He currently lives in New York, but said he’ll soon be relocating to Boston. He’s advised several best-selling authors, entrepreneurs, consumer goods companies and start-ups.
“It starts with you,” Jackson said. “The journey outward and the journey forward is really a journey inward.”
According to Jackson, everyone has greatness inside of him or her. It’s up to the individual to find it and go after their dreams. “There aren’t any shortcuts,” he warned. “You have to learn the difference between important versus urgent. You need to decide what your non-negotiables are.”
Jackson said it’s important for any dream-seeker to have a little bit of delusion and keep an outlandish viewpoint on what they want to get done. You don’t have to necessarily tell anyone what it is. It’s just important to reach so high that it seems like an insane goal.
“For you to win, some people have to lose,” Jackson told the audience. “That’s the nature of winning – someone has to lose.”
More words of wisdom can be found on Jackson’s blog, “Marketing & Gummi Bears,” at williejackson.com.
Most people in Northeast Florida know the name Al Letson. A poet, playwright performer, host of NPR’s “State of the Re:Union” and local celebrity, Letson’s seizing the One Spark opportunity to garner support of The Wall. Also known as entry #491, The Wall is a large-scale, multi-tablet installation aimed at encouraging people to participate, share, create and explore media in a public space.
“This experience has been a bit overwhelming, but I just love the energy that’s around,” admits Bret Lawrence, co-creator of The Wall. “We’ve met a lot of people interested in collaborating with us.”
The Wall is located adjacent to MOCA’s lobby. The display features flat screen TV’s with a video of Letson explaining the project running on a loop. Entry #491 hopes to gather support from One Spark revelers to reach their initial financial goal of $40,000.
Easily the most colorful One Spark entry, Elestial Sound’s mobile stage is located on the outskirts of Hemming Plaza. A structure completely covered in various knit afghans, the stage has proven a main attraction by featuring musical acts like The Dewars, Lady Dug and Levek.
“We had no idea what we were getting into,” admits Davis Hart, co-founder of Elestial Sound, a Gainesville-based record label focused on creativity and sustainability. “We didn’t start preparing for this until two weeks ago.”
The record label's mission is to garner support to purchase and renovate new headquarters to be located in Gainesville. The company’s colorful afghan stage is an extension of the independent record label and has previously traveled to events like SXSW.
Four fledgling startups identified through the One Spark festival have entered KYN, a new accelerator program, for a 16-week crash course in how to take their concepts to a bigger stage.
Stache Investments Corp., started by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Klan, has put in $1 million to help One Spark launch KYN.
The companies involved in KYN are Original Fuzz, which manufactures padded guitar bags and guitar straps modeled on Peruvian belts; Pure Treats, focused on introducing vegetables into foods kids love; Floppy Entertainment, which designs mobile games; and Hatchware, which sets up digitized menus for restaurants to reach diners through computers and mobile devices.
“This is a natural outgrowth of what we hoped to achieve with the inaugural One Spark festival, and the next step in supporting great startups in Jacksonville,” KYN cofounder and One Spark cofounder Elton Rivas said in a statement.
A Fernandina Beach-based filmmaker and educator, David Montgomery is hoping to drum up support of his One Spark entry, “Propagating.”
“This experience has given me a lot of confidence,” Montgomery admits from his post at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s lobby. “I’ve connected with a few people who have genuine interest in what I’m doing.”
Montgomery’s entry explores the iteration of Internet technology, media landscapes and the filming of patterns occurring in nature. It also expands on a previous work by Montgomery titled “Dandelion Free Culture,” a series of experimental animated loops focused on the structure of the dandelion.
St. Louis has the Gateway Arch, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, and Chicago has “the bean.”
The Emerging Design Professionals, an organization for Northeast Florida architects and interior designers in their first decade of practice, would like for Jacksonville to have its own popular photo backdrop, so they’re hosting an open-entry design competition as part of One Spark 2013.
Submissions for “Pose-in-Place: A Competition to Create a Photo-op for Downtown Jax” are being accepted through April 15 for display at the project’s One Spark media wall at the Jacksonville Landing.
Competitors must submit a photo of the Jacksonville Riverwalk, superimposed with an image of people posing next to their proposed structure or design. Entry requirements are detailed on the project Facebook page, but they’re intentionally simple to encourage widespread participation.
“We wanted to do something that would be less architectural that any member of society could participate in,” said Brandon Pourch, vice president of Emerging Design Professionals and the One Spark project cosponsor. “All you really need is a good idea and a little bit of Photoshop skills.”
All entries will be posted on the Pose-in-Place Facebook page April 17 to coincide with the first day of One Spark, and the design that receives the most “likes” will win the competition and be in the running to receive potential crowdfunding. About half of any funds received from One Spark would go to the winning designer, and the rest would go toward promoting the project for further development, Pourch said.
“Ideally, the best case scenario would be that we would raise enough money to actually implement the structure or the winning design,” Pourch said. “We’re more hoping to raise public awareness about design and about possible interventions along the Riverwalk that would improve our …
The Seaside Community Charter School will open in Atlantic Beach in the fall of 2013 and will offer kindergarten through second grade. In each of the following years, it will add a grade up until fifth grade.
The tuition-free public charter school will utilize the Waldorf educational approach, which puts an emphasis on hands-on activities, artistic expression and developing critical understanding.
The school is being started up by a grassroots group of parents and educators who wish to offer an alternative to the public education offered in Jacksonville. The group also runs the Seaside Playgarden Preschool located at Eighth Avenue South in Jacksonville Beach.
SEASIDE: IMAGINE, CREATE, LEARN from One Spark on Vimeo.
Leslie Jensen-Inman began her One Spark Speaker Series talk reminiscing about the day she quit her job as a university-level professor. “I decided to declare my intention,” she said addressing the Thursday afternoon crowd. “I was headed for change. I was going from good to great.”
A self-professed “Jack of all trades,” Jensen-Inman is a designer, speaker, author and educator. She is co-founder of Center Centre, where she works to improve the state of design education, as well as creative director and co-author of “InterACT with Web Standards: A holistic approach to web design.”
Jensen-Inman’s talk, titled “Jack of All Trades, a Master of Unicorns,” focused on how to create your own personal “Map for Awesomeness.” This is done, according to Jensen-Inman, by embracing your passion, defining your purpose, fostering your promise and engaging your pursuit.
After quitting her teaching post – just shy of receiving tenure – Jensen-Inman teamed up with friend Jared Spool, an expert on subjects like usability and software design. Together, the duo is currently working to create a new learning environment that examines the professional workplace versus a university setting.
“What we’ve learned is that companies are looking for generalists. They’re looking for Jack of all trades,” Jensen-Inman admitted. “We are creating a learning environment that meets the needs of both students and industry.”
When Jensen-Inman was a four-year-old, she told the crowd, she would dress-up in Wonder Woman Underoos and traipse around the neighborhood. “I always wanted to go to superhero school until I learned the harsh reality that it didn’t exist,” she remembered.
Although superhero school only exists in the movies, Jensen-Inman has set out to “live a life filled with awesomeness.” “We only need to be the very best …
Easily the most entertaining speaker from the April 18 roster, Martin Atkins warned the crowd before things really got started.
“If my language offends you, get out of this world. Actually, find another planet,” he said. And so it began to rain f-bombs.
Atkins talk, titled “Welcome to the Music Business. You’re F*CKED!” aimed to help struggling musicians tour smarter, be wise about their social media usage, and formulate a strategy. These, Atkins said, would help you get through this “swirling pile of shit.”
With more than 30 years in the music business, Atkins was a member of bands Public Image Ltd. and Killing Joke and owns Invisible Records and Mattress Factory Recording Studios. He’s also the author of “Tour:Smart” and teaches at Madison Media Institute.
These days, Atkins spends a majority of his time traveling the world and giving talks about the music industry.
“Strategy number one is have a strategy,” he told the 40 or so audience members gathered for the One Spark Speaker Series. “Strategy number two is get the fuck out of bed.”
Throughout Atkins’ talk, he went through different strategy methods. They weren’t in any kind of special order or even numbered appropriately, but the message was easily understood. You are the master of your own destiny. That and don’t tour the west side of the country.
A map of the United States popped up on the projector. “I drew a line from Minneapolis to Dallas,” Atkins said. “Did you know that out of the 100 most populated cities in America only 15 of them are west of that line. Just stay east of that line. Don’t go over that fucking line.”
Another great tidbit offered by Atkins was “free is the new black!” While musicians hold onto their music with tight fists – not wanting it pirated on the Internet – Atkins advised that you give it away for …
One Spark will hold its second crowdfunding festival in Downtown Jacksonville April 9-14, 2014, with updated categories, larger prizes and millions in capital investments.
Changes for 2014 include:
Art, innovation, music, science and technology are the updated creator categories.
The prize structure includes a $200,000 guaranteed crowdfund distributed solely on public vote, $10,000 bonuses awarded to the top project in each category, five $10,000 juried prizes, and immediate individual contributions from attendees.
Millions in capital investments will be available for One Spark creators from private investors and equity firms.
A more walkable, concentrated footprint that will include 20 square blocks.
More voting and information kiosks locations.
The co-founder and executive director of One Spark, Elton Rivas, will turn over the day-to-day management of One Spark to Joe Sampson, who served a director of field operations for the inaugural 2013 festival.
Rivas will continue in an advisory capacity while serving as present of the One Spark board of directors.