Warning: This is going to be a picture-heavy post. It is also going to be a Jacksonville-centric post. Jacksonville, Florida is where I live and I don’t often get a chance to brag about it, but I’m bragging today, because today, my daughter and I went to One Spark.
What’s One Spark, you say? If you live in Jacksonville and you’re saying that, you really need to come out from under your rock a bit more often. One Spark is a huge crowdfunding festival and it’s happening right now in downtown Jacksonville. It continues through Sunday, April 13, 2014, so (if you’re reading this near its posting date) you still have plenty of time to experience it. You should; it’s awesome.
The point of One Spark is to give Creators a chance to get the attention of investors who can help them make their creative dreams real. Thanks to some generous sponsors, there are big pots of money to be won, but any and all people who attend have the opportunity to support any project that wows them. That’s where the crowdfunding comes in. One person may only have a few dollars to give, but there were forty thousand visitors there the first day. If only a fraction of them decide to give what they can to a favorite project, their contributions could add up quickly, and I sure hope they do, because we saw some amazing projects.
I’m getting ahead of myself, though. It all started with free parking at the convention center and a free ride on the Automated Skyway Express.
This took us to Hemming Plaza, where we checked in at the One Spark kiosk. You need to check in to vote and contribute, so by all means, check in. We saw lots of cool things in Hemming Plaza, including a tipi under a tree and a giant goldfish in the fountain.
It was hard to decide where to go from there. Art and entrepreneurs were everywhere. We saw art being made right in front of us.
We saw it passing by.
We saw the amazing new mural by Shaun Thurston in the atrium of the Museum of Contemporary Art.
My daughter plunked herself down on the floor to take it in. After a while, my purse started feeling heavy, so I told her I would sit on a bench while she finished doing whatever it was she was doing.
“Appreciating,” she said.
Once we were finished appreciating, we started to feel hungry. There were many options, including a food court, but my daughter had seen a restaurant with potstickers on the menu, so her choice was already made. It turned out to be a good choice. She had the potstickers and I had the tofu curry. It was almost too pretty to eat, but I somehow forced myself.
The restaurant was Pho – A Noodle Bar. As soon as she tasted her potstickers, my daughter started texting all her friends to recommend this restaurant. I don’t text, but I blog, so I’ll add my recommendation here. Go to Pho. The prices are reasonable and the food is wonderful. The service is prompt and friendly, too.
Once food had been acquired, I went in search of coffee, which I found in the place my daughter calls the Temple of the Money Gods (the Bank of America building), which had some interesting Creators in the lobby. Then we went to another Temple of the Money Gods (the Wells Fargo building) to check out the Creators on the second floor. I kept seeing the word “EdSpark” and wondering who Ed was until it finally hit me that all these Creators were trying to to fund projects that were educational. My daughter homeschools her children, so we spent a lot of time at EdSpark. I found a great quote on the wall.
I also found a place where I could be photographed with deely boppers, a feather boa and butterfly wings. Sorry about my expression; I think I was trying to explain the camera to my daughter.
EdSpark alone had over forty Creators. Once we made it out of there, it was getting late and we needed to head back to Hemming Plaza so we could catch the Skyway back to the convention center. On the way, we saw this:
There was so much amazing art and enterprise at One Spark that we could only see a fraction of it in one day. While I was writing this post, my daughter called to ask me if we could go back tomorrow and take the kids.
Of course, I said “Yes.” We should really be making tie-dye, but One Spark only comes once a year.