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Photos by Tracy Jones - Joe Sampson is the executive director of One Spark. He leads a team in the year-long effort of creating the crowdsourcing festival for Jacksonville's downtown.
Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Oct. 16, 201312:00 PM EST

Workspace: Joe Sampson, One Spark executive director

by: Tracy Jones

As the facilitators of creators for one of Jacksonville’s most success productions, One Spark’s office reflects the event it creates with its open environment that encourages originality.

One Spark is led by Joe Sampson, an outspoken proponent of fostering a Downtown culture for Jacksonville. He previously worked in marketing and event promotion prior to heading the crowdfunding event.

“We’re really proud of the brand and how the community has embraced it since we’ve come online last year,” he said.

For its inaugural festival, One Spark had more than 130,000 people attend, Sampson said, and is poised to grow next year’s event, scheduled April 9-13. The undertaking of organizing the event is a year-round process, he said, which is why One Spark moved into an office on Laura Street in The Jacksonville Bank Building.

The group of eight employees co-leases the space and shares a kitchen with Station Four, a web design company. Previously, One Spark had its headquarters in the Main Library. The City Council lent the space to One Spark until it found a more permanent solution.

The office features an open space with some furniture from CoWork Jax. The rest is from IKEA, which Sampson drove down to Orlando with a truck to pick up. One Spark’s promotional artwork hangs on the walls and was created in-house by One Spark’s marketing design director, Chad Landenberger.

In the corner of the office sits Sparky, a black sculpture shaped like a “1” created by one of last year’s creators, Peter Blunt.

“It’s kind of perfect for us,” Sampson said.

Prior to moving into the space, Sampson wanted to pick a location with an open floor plan so One Spark’s team could learn from each other and communicate effectively. The group often listens to music all day, which is picked by the first person who turns it on, Sampson said.

“As frustrating as co-working can be, it is absolutely essential for a collaborative, creative environment,” Sampson said.

The group is beginning the process of accepting creator applications starting Dec. 1. But no matter how piled up with applications the team gets, they remain focused on the end product and its importance to the city, Sampson said.

“It’s sort of the beginning of the reshaping of the entire ecosystem here in Jacksonville,” Sampson said. “It’s an accelerant to lead Jacksonville to a place where startups in the West Coast are starting to think of Jacksonville as a great place to move and launch their business.”

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