One Spark puts a spotlight on Downtown Jacksonville

One Spark puts a spotlight on Downtown Jacksonville
“Sgt. Quackers” the giant yellow duckie in the pool at Hemming Plaza by Jenny Hager’s UNF Enliven Spaces class

“Sgt. Quackers” the giant yellow duckie in the pool at Hemming Plaza by Jenny Hager’s UNF Enliven Spaces class

Al Letson and “The Wall” technology winners

Al Letson and “The Wall” technology winners

Founded on the belief that ideas can come from anywhere, One Spark executive director and co-founder Elton Rivas gathered ideas from different art festivals around the world, but took it a step further with One Spark.

By incorporating a crowd funding aspect, One Spark attracted artists, innovators and creators interested in establishing their creations, and receive on-the-spot contributions from the public.

Over the course of five days, creators were hoping to see visitors pack their venues to see what they had to offer; but bad weather thwarted some visitors plans and lower than expected prizes had some creators wondering why they even participated.
MOCA, one of the sites located in the heart of the festival, showcased Al Letson, creator of “The Wall”, a public media delivery system. It won first place in the Technology category. Letson said he had a very positive experience working in the venue, but overall was hoping to get more money from the crowd fund.

“Seeing all the people downtown and connecting in ways they normally don’t is a total win for the city,” Letson said, “but in the end, with the cost of the man hours I really only earned enough money to cover the cost of putting the project together at One Spark.”
Out-of-town visitor Todd Herring, a marketing director from a similar festival called ArtPrize, observed that, unlike One Spark, ArtPrize is strictly for artists. In addition, the winner is decided by public vote but receives no crowd funding.

Herring spoke to a crowded Hemming Plaza during the closing ceremonies and was excited by what he saw over the course of the five days.
“In Grand Rapids [Michigan], we have a population of just about 200,000 people and we bring in over 500,000 during ArtPrize,” Herring said. “If One Spark continues, imagine the potential of One Spark with over a million people living in Jacksonville.”

Peter Rummell was one of the kickstarters for One Spark. He helped fund the world’s first crowd funding festival by providing close to $750,000 of One Spark’s $1 million budget. Rummell, along with corporate sponsors, have agreed to continue supporting the festival over the next three years. He was anxious to see the numbers to determine the success of the event.

“The best way to see something is by the number of people that attend an event, and this gives us the basis to go forward,” Rummell said.
With over 900 creators and 446 projects, One Spark organizers know that about 100 of those projects came from creators outside of Northeast Florida. As far as crowds go, One Spark organizers were very pleased.

“With an estimated 130,000 over five days, I think we exceeded our expectations.” said Abel Harding, One Sparks spokesperson.
A total of $250,000 guaranteed crowd fund was awarded to creators based on the percentage of votes they received. The top three winners in the categories of Art, Music, Science and Technology received the biggest portions of the crowd fund. The following projects were voted number one in their respective categories: Rethreaded submitted by Kristen Keen; Fathom Sphere, a creative collective; Tiger Trails by the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, and Al Letson’s The Wall. Overall, 53,299 votes were counted, making each vote worth about $4.69.
The Kona School received the most amount of money donated directly to the school. On top of winning second in their category and receiving $3,137.96 in crowd fund, they also earned $2,320 in contributions from attendees.

Shad Kahn and the Stache Investment Corp. are planning to invest in businesses that want to establish in Northeast Florida. Before One Spark, they pledged $1 million to invest in different creations participating in One Spark. Creators pitched their business plans to the company to find out if they are eligible for the money.

At the closing ceremony The Stache fund announced it has extended its selection process over the next six months.  They have narrowed down their pool to 30 companies and plan to interview them to determine whether they fit the Stache fund qualifications. They will then narrow the search to six or seven businesses and will help them develop and grow in the Jacksonville community.

By Rebecca Farmer
Resident Community News

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