With the announcement of One Spark reaching Berlin in September, it has become clear the festival is growing at a rapid pace. As the festival nears its second year, global expansion is a goal.
That expansion has already begun with One Spark’s recent announcement it will expand to Berlin in September. Jacksonville businessman, Peter Rummell, a major One Spark funder, said Germany is the perfect spot to begin.
“Berlin is a much bigger city than Jacksonville,” said Rummell, a real estate entrepreneur and the former president and CEO of several prominent companies. “If we continue to acquire more sponsorship, we can gradually spread One Spark to more cities around the world. Our focus is more international so we won’t be competing with ourselves within the country.”
Ultimately, Rummell and the One Spark board seek to make One Spark self-sufficient, a goal Rummell defines as “enormous.”
“Right now we are figuring out how to make that goal feasible. One Spark itself is a 12-month effort,” he said.
It all started in Grand Rapids, Mich., at a visual arts festival called Art Prize. The two-week festival features artists from all around the world presenting their work in downtown. Art Prize provides a source of inspiration where art is on display for everyone to see and talk about.
Elton Rivas, an entrepreneur and marketing executive, drew inspiration from Art Prize and soon contacted Rummell.
“Elton came to me and told me about his vision and how he couldn’t raise enough money,” Rummell said. “And I became very interested in the concept and got deeper into it. Now I’m the bank.”
The vision for One Spark became more complex than that of Art Prize’s — it would offer not only artists, but other kinds of innovators of the arts, sciences and more the opportunity to put their creative projects out there. With a capital funding this year of $3.25 million and 632 creator projects, One Spark is ambitious.
So what does the future hold for One Spark? Rummell and the board would like to help Jacksonville’s creative community grow as much as possible, thus providing an incentive for younger people to want to remain in Jacksonville.
“I want young people to see what Jacksonville has to offer and not think they have to move to a city like New York to make a living,” he said. “This festival is a huge opportunity to bring people together and create jobs.”
As far as Rummell’s involvement with One Spark’s global expansion, funding and branding the festival is key.
“I plan to stay out of operations and focus on funding and branding,” he said.” We’re all about celebrating business start-ups since we’re a start-up ourselves.”
If things go as Rummell and the board plan, the festival will extend its reach overseas and go global quickly.
“One Spark is not just about talking, but about creating things. I think there’s a real opportunity here.”
This story was reported by Ignite Media, an independent news bureau created by University of North Florida students.