EdSpark Open House Sparks Interest Among Educators

Jan 8, 2014

Deborah Gianoulis, CEO of The Schultz Center discusses EdSpark, one of the newest venues for the One Spark Festival, with those in attendance at the EdSpark Open House.
Credit The Schultz Center

Tuesday's polar temperatures did not deter those hoping to be a part of One Spark's first venue designed specifically for educators and students.

The EdSpark open house was held Tuesday evening at The Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership to a healthy turnout of interested educators, parents and students. Organizers said more than 100 people were in attendance.

"At one point, Joe [Sampson, Executive Director of One Spark] asked the audience 'How many of you are interested in being Creators?' and over half of the people in the room raised their hands," said One Spark spokeswoman Meredith O'Malley Johnson. "I think that was a great indicator."

One Spark is a non-profit aimed at connecting ideas in art, innovation, music, technology and science with the resources to get them off the ground.

The organization held its inaugural crowdfunding festival last April with more than 130,000 attendees and 406 project entries in 59 venues.

In November, the Schultz Center announced its partnership with the One Spark Festival to launch EdSpark, a new festival venue for those competing for funding with projects designed to enhance learning and teaching. 

EdSpark will be one of the more than 70 venues anticipated for this year's festival. Educators, parents and students will have the opportunity to showcase their projects during the festival on the second floor of the Wells Fargo Building in downtown Jacksonville, Johnson said.

The Schultz Center will serve as curator for the new space.

WATCH: Schultz Center CEO Deborah Gianoulis on how EdSpark was formed

"What we know about Duval County is educators are so anxious to share ideas and come out of the isolation of their school or district," said Schultz Center CEO Deborah Gianoulis.

Gianoulis said the new venue will provide a platform for those in education to think outside the box.

"This will allow educators and students to really have a voice," she said.

So far, about 40 people have registered as creators of an education-related project for this year's festival, according to One Spark. The registration deadline is Jan. 31.

For more information, you can visit SchultzCenter.org or call (904) 348-5757.

You can follow Rhema Thompson on Twitter @RhemaThompson.