It’s cakes, mini pies and anything under the sun on Jamie McConnell Ray’s Tasty Cakes, Etc., menu. The 31-year-old Jacksonville native’s love for the culinary arts started in high school, but didn’t become a business until years later.
For two years, Ray has been running Tasty Cakes, Etc., from her home on the Northside. She wants to become mobile with a food truck, making her products more accessible to the public. Food trucks can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $85,000.
“I would love to have at least two store fronts and have the truck for festivals,” Ray said, when asked where she sees her business 10 years from now.
She hopes Tasty Cakes, Etc., will contribute to the renewal of Jacksonville and help boost the Northside area. When a University of Florida co-worker told her about One Spark, she thought it was a great idea for Jacksonville.
“I think One Spark is going to be a great spinning point for Jacksonville to put us on the map,” Ray said. “Most people just pass through instead of staying. I’m hoping that Jacksonville will be a place to stay.”
Back in September 2012, Folio Weekly ran a cover story profiling One Spark Executive Director Elton Rivas and explaining the scope of the event he and his colleagues were planning. Seven months later, all their work is about to come to fruition.
Read Claire Goforth's story about how Rivas and One Spark cofounders Dennis Eusebio and Varick Rosete hatched the idea and cultivated it to reality.
St. Louis has the Gateway Arch, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, and Chicago has “the bean.”
The Emerging Design Professionals, an organization for Northeast Florida architects and interior designers in their first decade of practice, would like for Jacksonville to have its own popular photo backdrop, so they’re hosting an open-entry design competition as part of One Spark 2013.
Submissions for “Pose-in-Place: A Competition to Create a Photo-op for Downtown Jax” are being accepted through April 15 for display at the project’s One Spark media wall at the Jacksonville Landing.
Competitors must submit a photo of the Jacksonville Riverwalk, superimposed with an image of people posing next to their proposed structure or design. Entry requirements are detailed on the project Facebook page, but they’re intentionally simple to encourage widespread participation.
“We wanted to do something that would be less architectural that any member of society could participate in,” said Brandon Pourch, vice president of Emerging Design Professionals and the One Spark project cosponsor. “All you really need is a good idea and a little bit of Photoshop skills.”
All entries will be posted on the Pose-in-Place Facebook page April 17 to coincide with the first day of One Spark, and the design that receives the most “likes” will win the competition and be in the running to receive potential crowdfunding. About half of any funds received from One Spark would go to the winning designer, and the rest would go toward promoting the project for further development, Pourch said.
“Ideally, the best case scenario would be that we would raise enough money to actually implement the structure or the winning design,” Pourch said. “We’re more hoping to raise public awareness about design and about possible interventions along the Riverwalk that would improve our …
For one night only, an abandoned shoe repair shop downtown will be transformed into an underground rock club.
Jacksonville’s underground music scene will bring life to an empty shop downtown for the First Annual One Spark Barn Burner April 19.
Original Fuzz, an innovative musical instrument accessory company run by two local musicians, Zach Leaver and Lee McAlilly, is producing the free event which will feature performances by Opiate Eyes, Memphibians, The Lifeforms, This Frontier Needs Heroes, Katie Grace Helow, Dinosaur Blood, Phenomenology, Pigeon Boys, Zach Lever’s 30th Birthday and DJ E. Lee Indie Endeavor.
“We design products for guitar players,” McAlilly said. “We wanted to do sort of a SXSW style event where bands play in unlikely places.”
Leaver and McAlilly envisioned the One Spark Barn Burner in celebration of One Spark, a five-day crowd-funding event for creative thinkers April 17-21. One Spark is the first of its kind to be held in Jacksonville or anywhere else in the world.
Original Fuzz is one of the many artists, entrepreneurs and creators taking part in One Spark.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. students place below average in math when compared with students in other countries around the world. Jacksonvillian Stephanie Glen aims to change that with “The Number Hunter.”
A web-based TV program focused on math and geared toward pre-teens, “The Number Hunter” is a 22-minute show broken down into four segments to be shown on YouTube and the show’s website, thenumberhunter.com.
“I knew that I wanted to do something creative with math to make it more accessible for kids,” said Glen, who has a master’s in math education from Jacksonville University and an MFA in creative writing from National University and has taught college-level math for six years. “I’d learned that math is fun and interesting but, unfortunately, the interesting aspects of math are not taught in schools.”
“Half to three-quarters of black ninth-graders in Jacksonville don’t make it to graduation,” Glen said. “We’ve got to do something to address that. Students need to feel what they are learning is relevant. My plan is to visit classrooms as ‘The Number Hunter’ and inspire kids to get interested in math.”
From vegan baked goods to a line of herbal tea blends, Mariah Goelz’s Southern Roots Apothecary aims to help people slow down and be conscious of what goes in and on their bodies.
“For One Spark, I have chosen to focus on the medicinal herbs that grow abundantly in our natural environment,” Goelz said. “We look outside and see weeds where we want to see grass. In reality, those weeds are medicinal and edible. I hope to shift people’s awareness of what is all around them so that they not only feel a sense of ownership in their health, but a deeper connection to the world.”
Born in California and raised in Jacksonville, Goelz established Southern Roots Apothecary two years ago. After graduating from the University of California, Santa Cruz, she lived in Colorado and Asheville, N.C., before returning to Northeast Florida three years ago.
“Upon arrival, I went through a bit of culture shock,” Goelz said. “I missed the thriving farmers markets, the food co-ops and the alternative healers that I came to rely on. I vented to a friend, saying that Jacksonville was so uninspiring at times. She told me that, sometimes, you have to make your own inspiration. And that is why I started Southern Roots Apothecary.”
Goelz and her partner, Juan Pablo Salvat, hope to bring Southern Roots Apothecary to the masses.
“Because Jacksonville is so big, it’s easy to get stuck in your little bubble in terms of where you live and the community you interact with,” Goelz said. “One Spark is a great resource. … It is only more inspiring to see fellow artists and entrepreneurs pursing their dreams, too.”
After a national tour that covered 100 shows in 138 days across 39 states, local band Memphibians is back home in Jacksonville rehearsing and preparing two new full-length records as well as a couple of 7-inch upcoming releases.
Self-described as a “post-junk” band, Memphibians consists of members James Arthur Bayer III, Kathleen D’Elia, Andrew Felts and Kevin Lee Newberry.
“One Spark is the perfect opportunity to potentially introduce Memphibians to a wider audience while participating in what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as a local Jacksonville artist,”Bayer said.
Formed in 2008, the band soon began a label, Infintesmal Records, and started promoting local shows as well as releasing albums by some of its favorite area artists. In 2011, Memphibians finally released its own debut record, "How To Be Followed Alone,” and then dropped an EP, "The Dirty Future."
“I believe Memphibians is directly related and connected to Jacksonville,” Bayer said. “The music is born in Jacksonville, recorded in Jacksonville and most certainly influenced by and a reaction to Jacksonville.
“I believe One Spark has the potential to be incredibly important to Jacksonville. I also believe that Jacksonville is the perfect guinea pig to attempt an event like One Spark. We’re certainly large enough and house an incredible amount of creative and innovative people.”
According to local filmmaker Mark Pennington, it’s possible to build a home that will last more than 500 years and is environmentally responsible — all for the price of a “vinyl-clad, production-built box.” That’s the premise behind Pennington’s "Hope for Architecture" documentary and movement.
“It’s about shifting paradigms and examining the current construction practices of homebuilding through the lens of whether or not it is good for us,” Pennington said.
To help prove his point of responsible residential construction, Pennington enlisted the help of a few friends, including Clay Chapman, Damon Noisette and various local musicians who worked on the film’s original soundtrack.
“On average, a new construction home built today has an estimated life expectancy of 50 to 80 years,” Pennington said. “These ‘new’ homes will ultimately be torn down and end up in a landfill after one generation of use. Most people just don’t realize that we have essentially been building millions and millions of disposable homes.”
Thought up well before One Spark was announced, the Hope for Architecture movement has already been in production for close to a year.
“I’ve been following along and filming the progress of the first Hope for Architecture home, which is almost fully completed,” Pennington said. “It’s the story of a builder trying to change the world, one brick at a time."
011 teaser from C. Clay Chapman on Vimeo.
A flowing oak tree, Florida native species including a roseate spoonbill, manatee and sea turtle, the St. Augustine Lighthouse and a cabbage field come together to make up “A Land to Remember,” St. Augustine artist April Whitt’s four stained-glass-on-glass mosaics she created for One Spark.
“It depicts Florida through my eyes,” Whitt said. “Although the cabbage field is tucked in the background, it is the most important part of my piece. The men working the field represent people I have met personally volunteering at a local food bank [in Hastings]. I hope I can bring a little awareness of what is going on inside one of the richest counties in Florida.”
The 4-foot-by-6-foot montage of Florida scenery uses old windows as canvases.
“This piece is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while,” Whitt said. “One Spark gave me the opportunity to finally do it. One Spark has provided all of us a stage to tell our story through our medium of art, our ideas and letting us connect directly with the crowd.”
According to Whitt, events like One Spark will help revitalize downtown.
“Before moving to St. Augustine, I lived in Jacksonville for six years. I would drive through downtown almost daily, but only ventured in for jury duty, a good concert and to watch the Jaguars play,” she said. “Jacksonville, more specifically Downtown Jacksonville, needs more things like One Spark to draw the people in.”
What started as a class project for a graduate history class at the University of North Florida has evolved into a clever One Spark project. Co-creators Josh Salestrom, Bryan Higham and Tony Rossodivito are the guys behind Jacksonville Music History Tour Smartphone App, a smartphone application to direct users on a tour detailing Jacksonville’s musical heritage.
“The sites included represent a period that ranges from the early 20th century until the late 1970s,” Salestrom said. “It will feature such notable names as James Weldon Johnson, his brother John Rosamond Johnson, Ray Charles, Woody Guthrie, The Beatles and Lynyrd Skynyrd, among others.”
Salestrom, Higham and Rossodivito have enlisted the help of some local organizations for research assistance.
“We’ve been working closely with the staff at the Ritz Theatre & Museum, who have been incredibly helpful and supportive in helping learn more about the area,” Salestrom said. “The Stetson Kennedy Foundation has aided with the Woody Guthrie aspect as well.”
Throughout their research, the trio found that the area’s music history isn’t confined to a single genre.
“There are important sites that represent everything from social anthems to folk music to rock ’n’ roll,” Salestrom said. “By highlighting these aspects, we hope to reconnect Jacksonville to its musical heritage."