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Nicole Holderbaum will create two murals during One Spark, both focusing on the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Apr. 9, 201512:00 PM EST

One Spark creator wants to brighten schools, lives around world

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by: Kendall Toothe

The walls of schools in low-income Jacksonville neighborhoods may soon be adorned with brightly colored murals if a One Spark creator has her way.

“I want to do something good while I’m alive. I use art to make things better for everyone else,” explained One Spark creator Nicole Holderbaum. “I want to inspire others to do the same and live happier lives.”

Her project is Art for Jacksonville’s Youth and Beyond, which is located in Hemming Park.

If she wins at One Spark, Holderbaum plans on using those funds to paint the murals. If she wins one category, she will be able to budget $500 per school and be able to paint murals in 15 different schools. If she wins two categories, she plans on painting in 30 different schools.

“Creativity leads to confidence in students,” she said. “The way I can contribute is by creating murals in schools. It will visually stimulate students and make them more excited to learn; ultimately make the school experience better.”

Holderbaum emphasized the importance of creativity and the ability to live from within. She is a local Jacksonville brand ambassador for STRATA clothing line, whose slogan is “Live From Within.”

To live from within is to live a life driven by intuition, a positive attitude and strong faith, and to coexist in society without conforming to it. To her, living from within gives students a sense of identity.

“Art should be funded because it inspires creativity and gives you a reason of for being,” Holderbaum said. “Art gives you confidence, and confidence allows you to grow as a person.”

At One Spark, Holderbaum will be painting two different murals, one with the help of children. The first mural will be 32 feet long and 12 feet tall, which she will be painting alone. Children will have a chance to paint on the second mural, which will be 16 feet long and 8 feet tall.

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is sponsoring her project, making the zoo and its animals the focus of her murals at One Spark. The larger mural will highlight the different things going on at the zoo, such as animals and their habitats. The smaller mural will spotlight the 45 conservation projects of the Jacksonville zoo.

Shaun Thurston, a past One Spark winner, has been mentoring Holderbaum.

“He gives a lot of good insight,” Holderbaum said. “Even beyond One Spark, he gives great life advice.”

Holderbaum’s dream project is to be able to travel around the world and continue painting murals in schools.

“Somebody motivated me to live from within; to be guided by intuitions, instincts, and passion,” explained Holderbaum. “I hope to do the same for others.”

Kendall Toothe is a University of North Florida student who is a member of Ignite Media Jax, an independent news agency covering the One Spark festival.

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