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 $4,010.39 in crowdfunding for his “20 Murals in a Year” (No. 767).
“I saw it for the gamble it was and knew it was a bad idea to pass it up,” Thurston said. “I came out ahead and can actually start work on my projects right away. I painted out the voter numbers on my frog mural today and tomorrow I'll buff the billboard on the corner of Laura and Monroe [Streets].” You can donated to Thurston's project here.
Though Thurston came out on top, he’s still wary that One Spark will singlehandedly change the vibe of Downtown.
“The final checks were for much smaller amounts than anybody was imagining, and I don’t think anybody received an award that will significantly fund their project,” he explained. “At its core it was a great opportunity to network with fellow creatives, be inspired and win a little money.”
One Spark has released the final results from the event including each entry, how many votes it received, and how much crowdfunding those votes equal. With 53,299 total verified votes and a total crowdfund of $250,000, the funds were divvied up among hundreds of creators.
Rethreaded, a vision to fight the international sex trade on a local level by Kristin Keen, came out on top with 1,443 votes and $6,768.42. Some creators only received single-digit votes and less than $10.