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One Spark


This April, One Spark will have more than 70 businesses hosting as venues for 600 plus creators.

Visitors will explore One Spark, hopping from one venue to another. They will track in dirt and possibly leave behind trash with their primary focus being on the creator projects, not the hosting establishment. Why would a venue subject themselves to such abuse? What is the draw?

A lot of venue representatives said they loved the traffic from last year.

Mike Miller, the business development manager of Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), said his company has a venue at two different Skyway stops. Last year, JTA participated and provided free Skyway service for the entire event. It received 45,000 riders on the system.

“It was phenomenal,” Miller said. “It was the second busiest event next to the Super Bowl.”

Sylvia Zarou of Adam Street Deli and Grill said she is very excited for One Spark because she anticipates heavy traffic. This is Adam Street’s first time as a venue and last year’s turnout prompted the restaurant to open its doors for this year’s festival.  Many of the venue owners are entrepreneurs themselves and want to support others with similar mindsets.

Newly opened Downtown Cigar Lounge will be a venue for the first time. Coowner, Troy McNair said he wants to bring brilliant minds together and help young people create their dreams.

“We’re all entrepreneurs and it’s so important to help infuse entrepreneurs,” McNair said.

David Lofton, the owner of Icon Boutique stressed the importance of finding the link between vocation and advocation. “It’s important to help others get their craft out, especially if that craft can become a business.” 

Natural As I Wanna Be is a new spa and storefront with a unique story. The store sells and uses Sylvia Walker’s natural skincare products. She was a creator last year and with the exposure …   More

One Spark


The Cowford Archeological Research Society aims to increase the community’s understanding of Northeast Florida history by digging up the clues of the past and preserving them for future generations.

The group has started a couple of small projects and are participating in One Spark 2014 to raise funds for equipment and staff.

It takes a large amount of equipment and people to do the work, President Dean Sais said. Sais owns a company that manufactures archaeology equipment and has donated some of the equipment used by CARS.

The first project the society undertook was a small, one-meter-square section of the parking lot of the Grand Masonic Lodge of Florida in downtown Jacksonville last June. The group found debris from a wide span of time periods, from modern rubble to material around 1,000 years old, Sais said.

Around 12 volunteers were active in a couple of small projects last fall. One project was in the LaVilla neighborhood downtown, the other was in the Fort George Island area. Around 30 volunteers have signed up for future projects.

CARS has operated on an entirely volunteer basis, but Sais plans to hire staff when the group's funding increases. The society would like to build a lab to better examine the artifacts it finds, Sais said, such as the ones found in LaVilla.

The LaVilla site was once a Civil War gun battery. Volunteers found a rifle cartridge and a tool that was used to clean the cannon, according to George Burns, the society’s principal investigator. Burns is a registered professional archaeologist and is responsible for approving all of the project activities and writing professional reports. He said that the artifacts were found about three feet deep, under garbage that had built up over the years.

CARS is planning a project on the west side of Jacksonville to explore as many as several hundred acres of private property that was once a Confederate Civil War camp, Sais said. He was purposefully vague as to the …   More

One Spark


We Are Straight Allies is a campaign that advocates for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and is entered as a creator project in One Spark.

Chevara Orrin developed the campaign in response to a human rights ordinance for equal treatment that failed to pass when she moved to Jacksonville in August 2012. The ordinance would have added sexual orientation to the list of factors that cannot be discriminated against.

Already on the list are things such as gender, race and religion. Orrin gathered two other co-creators, Dan Bagan and Laura Riggs, who share the mission to advocate and educate with the hopes of adding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the human rights ordinance come next vote.

We Are Straight Allies uses many different methods to connect with the community. Most notably is its print ad and video campaign that showcases people declaring themselves as straight allies.

“What we decided to do was use the voices of straight allies in this community,” Orrin said, “people who were already outspoken and those who were kind of on the cusp of wanting to become more engaged to raise awareness and also encourage other people to become engaged.”

The print ad and video campaign includes a wide range of people. There is a video of a 7-year-old proclaiming “love is love.”Another shows Jacksonville Rabbi Jesse Olitzky stating, “God loves you, no matter who you are.” Also included is a video from Pat Geraghty, the chairman and CEO of Florida Blue, who explains the importance of inclusiveness.

“We’ve been very intentional in selecting faces of the community that really reflect the community,” Orrin said.

Rachel Vitti, a social justice and education advocate who also happens to be the wife of Duval County Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, has always considered herself a straight ally and joined the campaign from the very …   More

One Spark


Tucked in a sliver of real estate on East Adams Street sits Chomp Chomp, an esoteric food spot and vendor for One Spark 2014.

This year will be Chomp Chomp’s first year as a vendor for One Spark. Last year the gourmet spot was left just out of geographic range of being eligible, co-owner John Touchton said.

Chomp Chomp is a hotspot during Jacksonville’s monthly Art Walk event, but Touchton said the restaurant still got plenty of action and did more business during One Spark 2013 than it had ever done before.

“During One Spark it was literally like [an] Art Walk every day,” Touchton said.

This year Chomp Chomp will be a vendor, one with an interesting mix of creators scheduled to be on the sidewalk next to Burro Bar and Icon Boutique.

“One of them is a group of guys who are software developers and they are working on a POS (Point of Sale) system that they will be demonstrating outside,” Touchton said.

The second vendor is a “just for fun” match with a guy who designs life-guard-like chairs with TVs.

Touchton and the rest of the owners, including Ian Chase and Mark Lynn, are looking forward to new business for One Spark 2014 and their own chance to win $50,000 as a creator. The restaurant wants to bag their well-known curry potato chips to sell on a larger scale.

This story was reported by Ignite Media, an independent news bureau created by University of North Florida students.   More

One Spark


Sheryl Dwyer, a veteran educator in the Jacksonville community, is now using her expertise to engage students in a new type of way — with a bang.

Big Bang Science is a student-centered program that encourages people of all ages to use a hands-on approach to understanding science.

Dwyer, instructor and coach of Comprehensive Thinking Strategies LLC, has entered as a creator into Jacksonville’s One Spark festival in the hopes of raising money to go toward a facility that can host this program along a variety of others. Each of the programs will vary significantly in their focus, ranging from science to history to entrepreneurial education.

This Cognitive Clubhouse will use interactive elements to help foster Jacksonville’s potential and encourage it as an epicenter for creative and critical thinking.

“It will provide Jacksonville with an incredible identity,” Dwyer said. “It will become a location for educational visionaries and change agents to reach students and teachers whom otherwise wouldn’t experience unique learning opportunities.

Dwyer hopes to find a facility located in the downtown area so that Cognitive Clubhouse can contribute to the revitalization of Jacksonville.

“It will work in conjunction with existing and future attractions,” Dwyer said, “to draw families, school children, educators, and visitors to the downtown area.”

Dwyer explained that an average day at the clubhouse might include families interacting on the science playground, fourth-graders applying the principles of physics to build a roller coaster, high school students writing code to design a robot, and even teachers in the studio learning how to enhance the way they deliver instruction.

Members in the programs would have a variety of options. Local families could get a yearly pass, whereas visitors to the area could opt for a day pass. Teachers and schools could book field trips for their …   More

One Spark


Does exploring Italy and its culture or getting the new iPhone for a birthday sound temping? With people can make their own personal wish list to share with others.

Co-founded by Raquel Steffens, Bucketwish is a universal wish list being launched this month, where people can create and share their wishes, goals, experiences, achievements and adventures.

People then can share their Bucketwish with family, friends and the Bucketwish community.

“There are so many experiences and things even friends and family don’t know about, because you rarely talk about those things,” Steffens explains, “unless someone specifically ask you about it.”

People can share their wishes on Bucketwish so friends, family or even businesses from the community can grant the wishes. The concept is similar to the crowd-funding that has created One Spark.

“Bucketwish is an online social network, but I would say the difference between Bucketwish when I created it,” Steffens said, “is I wanted to make sure it was a social network that really had a heart to it and a really good purpose.”

After One Spark, Bucketwish will give its crowd funds to the Jacksonville charity Foster Closet. In turn, the nonprofit will use Bucketwish to post both organizational wishes and highlight the wishes of the foster children it helps.

“They help foster kids and families in the foster system with items and support, while they are in the foster system before they grow out of it,” Steffens explained. “What they do is just huge for some of these kids that really have nothing that go from home to home.”

This will be Bucketwish’s first year at One Spark, but it officially opened on March 3.

“Bucketwish is something that goes along with the American dream,” said Steffens.

“Being an American raised in another country, in the United States, you think about the American dream, the …   More


Entrepreneurs Begin One Spark Program

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.   More


One Spark, Take Two

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.    More


Summing Up One Spark

It’s been a week since One Spark began, and just a few days since it concluded. Touted as “the world’s first crowdfunding festival,” a lot of hard work and high hopes went into the five-day event. Media outlets all over Northeast Florida covered the festival, and Folio Weekly was no exception.

I covered 10 out of the dozen speakers flown in from all over the world for the One Spark Speaker Series. I learned the importance of being a generalist rather than a specialist from Leslie Jensen-Inman. I was schooled by Jessica Sherok on how “Facebook Isn’t Your Friend” (I immediately changed all of my privacy settings). Martin Atkins shed light on just how difficult traversing the music business is — he also threw blueberry muffins into the crowd and used the f-bomb at least a hundred times.

When I wasn’t at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts’ Terry Theater, I was in the media room at the Dalton Agency blogging and enjoying a few complimentary snacks or perusing my assigned group of venues, including Hemming Plaza and the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville. 

The event left me inspired and educated on innovative ways to guide my career – even as a freelance writer. I watched local musicians perform on a stage draped with colorful Afghans. I spoke to multiple filmmakers about everything from a zombie disease taking over small town America during the Civil Rights era to filming the musicians of Libya who had previously been silenced by Muammar Gaddafi. I also took in my fair share of public art – mural work by Shaun Thurston, an installation based on Davy Crockett by Drew Hunter and an intimate look at Jacksonvillians by Y.C. Lozano.

“I spent about $200 on my project and had a sponsor to cover the paint, so for me it’s a great return for a few days of sweat and fun,” Thurston said about receiving the fourth greatest amount of votes (855) equaling …   More


The Most Votes at One Spark

These are the projects that received the most votes at One Spark.


Fathom Sphere: $2,509.43

Boneshaker: $2,495.36

The 5 & Dime: $2,326.50



The Wall: $3,466.29

Kona School: $3,137.96

The Riverwalk Project: $2,448.45



123-Fresh: $2,945.65

1 Food Park Project: $3,189.55

Tiger Trail: $4,183.94



Rethreaded: $6,768.42

Beyond the Façade: $4,202.71

20 Murals in a Year: $4,010.39


The Kona School project also received the most individual contributions at $2,320.