WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Last year, 406 One Spark creator projects won nearly $260,000 in crowdfunded prizes. We caught up with a few of them to find out where that money went.
PROJECT: 5 & Dime
CREATOR: Judy Gould
The theater company’s goal is to enliven Jacksonville’s urban core through a dedication to arts and culture, and to that end has put on six shows in the last year. 5 & Dime used last year’s winnings to rent spaces for productions, and for costumes and lighting equipment.
PROJECT: Beyond the Façade
CREATOR: Douglas Eng
The big idea behind Beyond the Façade is to display 2D and 3D artwork on abandoned buildings to beautify Downtown. Eng spent about a month and a half preparing and printing the murals displayed on Laura Street during last year’s One Spark. The winnings roughly covered the materials he paid for. “I would definitely do it again, but I need a year off,” he says.
PROJECT: Caricature of Shahid Khan
CREATOR: Lucas Waterworth
Waterworth likes to tease even the good guys. His One Spark booth consisted of 50 caricatures of local influential people. It was a great opportunity to market himself, he says, but from a financial perspective, it just wasn’t worth it. “I don’t even remember how I spent [the money],” says Waterworth.
PROJECT: Civil Brute
CREATOR: Colin Robert Adkins
Adkins refers to Civil Brute’s sound as “bummer anthem” – indie rock isn’t very accurate, he says. The amount of scratch Civil Brute got from One Spark wasn’t enough to launch the project, but they weren’t too focused on votes coming in. “Right now, like then, we just want to play as many shows as possible,” Adkins says. “We got to play in front of a lot of people in a short span of time.” They’re keeping busy. This year, Civil Brute has six confirmed shows for One Spark, and Adkins will be playing some solo sets as well.
PROJECT: Emerald City
CREATOR: Jessica Lauren Gay
Emerald City is an environmental initiative to create greener facilities in the urban core. Gay used the earnings to put a dent in the $10,000 she’s spent out-of-pocket on the project. “We certainly hoped for more, and I feel One Spark could have done a better job,” Gay says. “The voting and contribution system wasn’t set up well enough last year. Hopefully that will be different this year.” This year, Gay is pitching BEA Jewel, a physical extension of the concept of Emerald City. The project proposes a greenhouse for the LaVilla area. “We can’t do anything unless we can buy land,” Gay says.
PROJECT: Fjord Explorer
CREATOR: Connor Hickey
After performing eight shows over three days during last year’s One Spark, indie duo Fjord Explorer earned $286.12, which it put toward recording its first LP. “The record – not including miscellaneous expenses like gas and food and travel – cost about $1,500,” Hickey says. “So it helped, but it definitely didn’t pay the bill. The main benefit was the connections we made.” Fjord Explorer is participating in One Spark this year to help fund an “old-school” tour bus that can run on biodiesel. They expect to release their record early this summer.
PROJECT: Kona School
CREATOR: James Smith
Kona School did well last year, though it definitely invested a healthy amount of cheddar into its booth. The skatepark-inspired school spent a few thousand dollars setting up an interactive model of a classroom inside Burro Bar. Smith put the earnings toward this and other expenses. “We knew going in that the prize money wasn’t going to be substantial to our expenses,” Smith says. “Our main goal was to help inform parents and adults who might have been skeptical about a school sharing a name with a skatepark. We wanted to rebrand our image from a skatepark to a school that can really engage kids in learning. I’m extremely stoked about how we came away from that experience.” Kona School is back this year with a goal of $40,000 to help fund a model for a two-week summer learning program.
PROJECT: MOJO Customtees
CREATOR: Schatachee Sanchez Carr
With only one vote, MOJO Customtees came away with just $4.69 – the lowest crowdfunding amount of One Spark 2013. Carr, a college student, says the experience wasn’t a total bust. He was swamped with orders and wasn’t able to properly set up his project – hence the low amount. “I did end up getting a lot of customers out of the experience,” he says.
PROJECT: Paper Cut
CREATOR: Hiromi Moneyhun
Moneyhun creates intricate designs out of custom-cut strips of paper. She used her earnings to reimburse herself for materials like X-Acto knives, which she works through quickly. “Well, I’m still a starving artist,” she says, “I pay for all of my materials out-of-pocket. I was able to use the money to restock on those, and I was able to update my website.” Moneyhun won’t be participating in One Spark this year, but another project that is will use some of her artwork. The main benefit, she says, was the increased acknowledgment of her work. “People will now come up to me in the grocery store and say, ‘Hey, you’re that artist from One Spark last year,’ ” she says.
PROJECT: Rat Queen
CREATOR: Jenny Hager
Hager is working on creating 10 more large-scale sculptures of animals that represent the signs of the Chinese Zodiac. She received a Spark Grant, which helped provide the funds to undertake such a project. The sculptures will be on display in a Downtown park for one year. Hager says that her One Spark project, a rat sculpture, cost her about $2,400 to make. “Personally, I’m not sure that it was worthwhile,” Hager says. “But at least my participation in the festival really helped Jacksonville.”
CREATOR: Kristin Keen
Rethreaded is a project that helps local women battling addiction, violence, being involved in human trafficking and prostitution. Keen says her experience at One Spark was “magical.” She put the group’s winnings toward its training programs. Rethreaded is launching a social media campaign to thank One Spark and Jacksonville for their help.
PROJECT: Spark District
CREATOR: Lisa Goodrich and the
Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville
Spark District used the money it won at One Spark 2013, as part of a larger pool, to provide grants to four individual artists Downtown – including songwriter Brad Lauretti and The Looking Lab’s Joy Leverette, both of whom have graced the cover of this magazine in recent months. The Cultural Council is coming back this year as a curator.
PROJECT: Urban Mural Project
CREATOR: Cris Dan
Urban Mural Project was a mural on Laura Street New York-based artist Dan created with the help of local schoolchildren. He says he focused less on networking his project and more on working with the children, and – though that ultimately left him with fewer votes – he feels those who saw his art got a better sense of what it was about. This year, Dan is hosting an independent art installation on the roof of the Times-Union Center combining a painted mural with a light show.