“Rat Queen” is the brainchild of Jenny K. Hager, Creator #423. And if you’ve visited the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville during One Spark, then you’re sure to recognize this large-scale rodent installation. Hager’s sculptural series is inspired by the twelve Chinese Zodiac animals – this according to the sign posted next to “Rat Queen” in MOCA’s lobby.
“This sculpture is inspired by a dream where rats are hanging by their teeth from the bottom seam of my gown. If selected for One Spark, the plan is to create the remaining animals in Chinese Zodiac and use them in a parade/performance in Jacksonville (possibly traveling to other locations).”
Hager’s Twitter handle is #ratqueenhager
Wren Lanier said the key to building a successful business is to just be yourself. The web designer from Richmond, Va., spoke to those in attendance of her One Spark speech "You Won't Change the World by Biting Your Tongue" about the importance of personal authenticity when building a business.
Lanier broke down the criteria for building authenticity into five parts: Honesty, making tough choices, bringing your best self, being your own inspiration and taking action.
Being honest with yourself and others, especially co-workers and bosses, was one of the main points Lanier stressed. She told the crowd that living in fear of what others think of you is not conducive to personal growth. The best thing to do is to just put it all out there.
"You've got to bring yourself," Lanier said. "The more you share yourself, you are less likely to shock people."
She also introduced the concept of Self-regulation, which to Lanier means bringing your best self. It's important to be honest with others and but it's also imperative to a business to have self-awareness, she said. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses but focus on making your strengths stand out.
Lanier told those in attendance to be their own inspiration: Looking at someone else's creativity and judging yourself on it is unhealthy.
"You're never going to achieve brilliance by following someone else's star," Lanier said.
The last point Lanier left the crowd at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts with: Take action. If you don't like the way something is, change it. And if something doesn't exist yet, create it.
"Talk is cheap and talk is easy," Lanier said. "You bring to the world what you want to expect."
Easily the most entertaining speaker from the April 18 roster, Martin Atkins warned the crowd before things really got started.
“If my language offends you, get out of this world. Actually, find another planet,” he said. And so it began to rain f-bombs.
Atkins talk, titled “Welcome to the Music Business. You’re F*CKED!” aimed to help struggling musicians tour smarter, be wise about their social media usage, and formulate a strategy. These, Atkins said, would help you get through this “swirling pile of shit.”
With more than 30 years in the music business, Atkins was a member of bands Public Image Ltd. and Killing Joke and owns Invisible Records and Mattress Factory Recording Studios. He’s also the author of “Tour:Smart” and teaches at Madison Media Institute.
These days, Atkins spends a majority of his time traveling the world and giving talks about the music industry.
“Strategy number one is have a strategy,” he told the 40 or so audience members gathered for the One Spark Speaker Series. “Strategy number two is get the fuck out of bed.”
Throughout Atkins’ talk, he went through different strategy methods. They weren’t in any kind of special order or even numbered appropriately, but the message was easily understood. You are the master of your own destiny. That and don’t tour the west side of the country.
A map of the United States popped up on the projector. “I drew a line from Minneapolis to Dallas,” Atkins said. “Did you know that out of the 100 most populated cities in America only 15 of them are west of that line. Just stay east of that line. Don’t go over that fucking line.”
Another great tidbit offered by Atkins was “free is the new black!” While musicians hold onto their music with tight fists – not wanting it pirated on the Internet – Atkins advised that you give it away for …
Leslie Jensen-Inman began her One Spark Speaker Series talk reminiscing about the day she quit her job as a university-level professor. “I decided to declare my intention,” she said addressing the Thursday afternoon crowd. “I was headed for change. I was going from good to great.”
A self-professed “Jack of all trades,” Jensen-Inman is a designer, speaker, author and educator. She is co-founder of Center Centre, where she works to improve the state of design education, as well as creative director and co-author of “InterACT with Web Standards: A holistic approach to web design.”
Jensen-Inman’s talk, titled “Jack of All Trades, a Master of Unicorns,” focused on how to create your own personal “Map for Awesomeness.” This is done, according to Jensen-Inman, by embracing your passion, defining your purpose, fostering your promise and engaging your pursuit.
After quitting her teaching post – just shy of receiving tenure – Jensen-Inman teamed up with friend Jared Spool, an expert on subjects like usability and software design. Together, the duo is currently working to create a new learning environment that examines the professional workplace versus a university setting.
“What we’ve learned is that companies are looking for generalists. They’re looking for Jack of all trades,” Jensen-Inman admitted. “We are creating a learning environment that meets the needs of both students and industry.”
When Jensen-Inman was a four-year-old, she told the crowd, she would dress-up in Wonder Woman Underoos and traipse around the neighborhood. “I always wanted to go to superhero school until I learned the harsh reality that it didn’t exist,” she remembered.
Although superhero school only exists in the movies, Jensen-Inman has set out to “live a life filled with awesomeness.” “We only need to be the very best …
The 5 & Dime theater company is a Jacksonville-based traveling theater group that has put on six shows at various venues in the Jacksonville area.
Among their productions are “Spunk,” “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues” and a theatrical adaptation of the Ray Bradbury novel “Fahrenheit 451.” The next production from The 5 & Dime will be “The Pitmen Painters,” a play about coal miners that become actors. This production will be hosted by The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.
The 5 & Dime wants to open its own venue, which would be home to productions and would also provide a place to store props and hold theater classes.
When Fast Company names you one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” (2012), people tend to listen when you talk. So is the case of Ron J. Williams, a Manhattan-based entrepreneur who spoke Thursday afternoon at the Terry Theater as part of One Spark’s Speaker Series.
As CEO and co-founder of Knodes, a tool for finding people in your network who care about a shared cause, and of SnapGoods, a site that helps people to rent and borrow hardware and equipment, Williams brought real world expertise to his speech titled, “How could crowdfunding be any easier?”
“Crowdfunding is the future, but not without you,” Williams addressed the three-dozen-or-so audience members. “The truth of the matter is that we’re all super connected. Did you know that $319 million went through Kickstarter last year?”
According to Forbes, crowdfunding is, “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.” Crowdfunding is the reason creators from all over the world have descended upon Jacksonville to showcase their ideas and projects.
It’s also the reason Williams is totally pumped to be on stage. “It [crowdfunding] is about way more than the money,” he said. “It’s not just the transaction of dollars, but the transaction of ideas.”
In order to create and execute a successful crowdfunding venture, Williams said you should first find your inner circle and share your idea or ideas with them. This could be family members or close friends – anyone you trust. Next, find your audience. Williams called this “your tribe.” These are the individuals you can rely on for emotional and/or financial support.
“These people support you not just because they know you, but because they’re interested in your content,” he explained.
Once you’ve communicated effectively with your inner circle and tribe, it’s time to take your message to the …
The Seaside Community Charter School will open in Atlantic Beach in the fall of 2013 and will offer kindergarten through second grade. In each of the following years, it will add a grade up until fifth grade.
The tuition-free public charter school will utilize the Waldorf educational approach, which puts an emphasis on hands-on activities, artistic expression and developing critical understanding.
The school is being started up by a grassroots group of parents and educators who wish to offer an alternative to the public education offered in Jacksonville. The group also runs the Seaside Playgarden Preschool located at Eighth Avenue South in Jacksonville Beach.
SEASIDE: IMAGINE, CREATE, LEARN from One Spark on Vimeo.
Alex Hayward of the Jacksonville Artist and Musicians Syndicate (JAMS) hopes to bring fans of all types of music together and broaden the horizons of their eardrums.
JAMS arranges performances from different genres and is working to release an album that blends these genres with the goal of broadening listeners musical tastes. Proceeds from this album will benefit the Riverside Fine Arts Center.
Hayward said that he has brought the Northeast Florida folk band Canary in the Coalmine with hip-hop artist Tough Junkie to make a song for the album. He is also working on a collaboration between rock band Antique Animals and Charlotte Mabrey of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.
Creator Regina Edwards was born and raised in Jacksonville but has spent the last 28 years living in Maryland. Having built her background as an educator, she returned to her hometown to make a difference in children’s lives.
Edwards had been working hard for two years developing “Ant DivaMo,” a character that she says will improve life skills for children and teach them how to be organized. Edwards feels children will respond to her message because of her use of bright colors, catchy songs and music.
The “Ant DivaMo” books teach children the importance of everyday tasks like making the bed, keeping up with personal hygiene and eating right. Future proceeds from her “Any DivaMo” books and music will be put back into the project; Edwards has plans for after-school and summer-camp programs as well as themed parties, story-time readings and videos.
Edwards will speak about “Ant DivaMo” 1 p.m. April 19 at the Community First Pitch Deck at Main Street Park.
For the opening speaker in the Florida Blue One Spark Speaker Series, it only seemed fitting to welcome a local. Jacksonville-based Carl Smith kicked off the series with his talk “Your Money & Your Life.” Smith, owner and founder of local tech-based company nGen Works, took the stage April 18 at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts Terry Theater.
Based on the idea that most businesses are using archaic operating systems in everything from office culture to the bottom line, Smith spent the hour giving a chronological overview of his 25-plus years as a small business owner. Peppered with self-deprecation and plenty of four-letter words, Smith was entertaining and full of energy while sharing his story.
In the beginning of his talk, Smith remembered being at a dinner event with Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of The Brooklyn Brewery, and how he had said, “We could all be millionaires, but there’s that one thing we won’t do.” Smith said Oliver was referring to cheating, stealing and hurting people. Basically, if people would do virtually anything to make a buck, they’d be rich.
For those not interested in squashing the little guy to get what they want, Smith offered words of wisdom on owning your own business, having a happy team, and still creating financial security.
“Money is an exchange of stored energy,” he said.
This proved the meat of Smith’s speech. When someone offers you money, they are asking you to do something in return. This can come in the form of mental or physical stored energy, as evidenced by Smith’s relationship with his grandmother.
“I try not to speak ill of the dead,” Smith said, “but my grandmother was not a very nice person.”
The matriarch came to live with the Smith family and offered young Smith $20 per week to listen to her – literally sit there and listen to whatever she felt like saying, which was usually about …