by Rebecca Austin
You know the saying “ You should have been there” which is always followed by “ I wish I would have gone.” On Wednesday night the 23rd of January the beginning of something beautiful and beneficial to the people of Jacksonville. Much like a secret code that fuels an army, the group of individuals that attended this meeting will be able to say “ I was there at the beginning”.
One Spark is an arts and innovation based festival with the goal of connecting creators, innovators and investors that will be held on April 17 to 21 in Downtown Jacksonville. Bringing together an accumulation of creativity: Art, Music, Science, and Technology through downtown venues of different calibers, with the want and need to put Jacksonville on the pedestal that it so long has desired. The event is 5 days that will bring over 100,000 attendees that can register via app or kiosk on the day of the event as they find their way through downtown’s venues and restaurants. Attendees will be able to vote on what creators they think in their opinion, to be the most innovative and creative. The exposure for these creators will not only invest interest into downtown but give them part of the investment with a starting crowd funded investment of $250,000. On top of that, the Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan has pledged up to $1 million in capital for chosen creators who participate in One Spark from his Stache Investments Corp., an investment company he formed in 2012 that focuses on entrepreneurial ventures in Northeast Florida. These venues will be hosting musicians, artists, innovators and scientists to showcase the future of Jacksonville. The deadline to register for the event is February 22 for the creators that want to be a part of history.
Jacksonville is known for The Jaguars football team, the St. Johns River and Lynyrd Skynyrd, a band that made Southern music appreciated by being small town boys that had a dream. There isn’t much you can say about creators and innovators that most don’t already think they know. They are the reason why cities gain recognition and bring others to desire the opportunities of a lifetime.
Musicians and artists alike, know that where you are from is the most important thing. Home is where the heart is and Jacksonville has lost its heart for the creative, which would make it a staple on the map. Why let another city claim fame on something or someone of that caliber in which a city like Jacksonville could have been known for and grown prosperous because of it?
If we want something, we cannot just take it; we all know that we have to work for it. This is not a letter of lessons that we all as adults and most of us humans know. We are at the beginning of a new age, the fresh beginning to a city that has the nickname as the Bold City. If we are so “bold” then why are we allowing our city to rot away as we let shopping malls, fast food restaurant and reality TV shows soak up our energy, time and money. We could give it back to the city that we so call “live “ in but in reality are only living off of.
One Spark has come to light up downtown for 5 days and with over 500 creators; musicians artists, innovators and scientists, this event is sure to break the image of a dead downtown and put the spark back into the dreamers. All creators are to register by February 22 to be considered for this event. Naturally, this festival is to showcase the hometown creators and talents yet those from all states are urged to come be part of history.
One City, One Spark
by Rebecca Austin