Come for TEDxJacksonville — Stay for the Arts, Culture and Outdoors Scenes

TEDxJacksonville returns to the historic Florida Theatre for our 2017 conference “We, The People” on Saturday, October 14.

By Miya Kusumoto, TEDxJacksonville

Our TEDxJacksonville volunteer team wants you to enjoy every minute of our conference and all your time spent in Jacksonville. Here’s a primer of our day and some ideas on how to explore the city.

First, our all-day conference features 13 speakers, 3 musical performances and so much more. Don’t be a wallflower — we want you to engage with everyone at our conference: fellow attendees, speakers and our team.

Your day at the conference will include the chance to enjoy food from one of Jacksonville’s best restaurants for lunch plus engagement opportunities during the breaks and led by host Hope McMath during the show. And you’ll get a TedX Jacksonvillechance to have your voice heard.

After a day of energizing ideas, stay for our Afterglow street party in front of the Florida Theatre.

Now, here’s a look at our speakers for 2017:

Cynthia Barnett, Gainesville — An environmental journalist and author who has reported on water and climate worldwide, Barnett shares stories of rain to engage people about the weather and climate.

Brenda Bradley, Ph.D., Accokeek, Md. — A certified health coach, Dr. Bradley is passionate about sharing new research on eating and helping people avoid excessive weight gain and preventable illnesses.

Amy Donofrio, Jacksonville — An educator and advocate for her students who won the national kindness award, Donofrio will discuss the false label of “at-risk youth.” She calls for a culture change in designating these students as at “at-hope youth.”

Shari Duval, Jacksonville — Duval founded K9s for Warriors, a nonprofit that has rescued hundreds of dogs and hundreds of veterans, through a program pairing highly trained service dogs with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disability and traumatic brain injury.

Manal Fakhoury, Pharm.D., Ocala — With experience as a pharmacist and a mentor for prisoners, Fakhoury will share a new perspective on strategies to tackle the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Melanie Flores, Atlanta — An MIT graduate and educator, Flores developed a child-friendly version of a world-famous MIT class to demonstrate what children are capable of when storytelling, imagination and design converge.

Ellen Freidin, Miami — An attorney and redistricting reform expert who has fought for fair districts, Freidin has seen up close how both Republican and Democratic politicians have used gerrymandering to gain 

tedx jax

political advantage.

Jeff Galloway, Atlanta — A U.S. Olympian who became “America’s Coach” while writing a column for the world’s leading running publication, Galloway has created innovative training methods for runners to reduce aches, pains and injuries.

Chris Hand, Jacksonville — An attorney with a long record of public and civic service, as speechwriter for former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham and Chief of Staff for former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, Hand will share his first-hand knowledge on how to fight City Hall — and win.

Chad Houser, Dallas — Houser founded Cafe Momentum, a Dallas-based restaurant and culinary training facility, that has delivered a transformative experience. Cafe Momentum provides a 12-month internship program for young men and women coming out of juvenile detention.

Marc Hudson, Jacksonville — As Land Protection Director at the North Florida Land Trust, Hudson is dedicated to the preservation of the environment and proposes an innovative eco-utility solution that would preserve the environment, put citizens in rural areas to work and improve our green infrastructure.

Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, Jacksonville — “Dr. Q,” chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Mayo Clinic in Florida, will share his story of growing up as an underprivileged child and migrant worker to become a world-renowned neurosurgeon. He looks to build bridges within institutions and countries through education, patient care and research.

Jaimison Sloboden, Jacksonville — A traffic engineer with 24 years of experience in transportation projects, Sloboden knows it’s no accident that Jacksonville and the State of Florida consistently rank among the worst places in America for pedestrian and bicycle fatalities. He shines a light on the steps we must take to inspire change and create “complete streets.”

And we can’t wait to see our performers light up the stage as well:

Nicolle Guerra, Miami — The sound that is GUERRA emerges from the musical collaboration between vocalist Nicolle Guerra and bassist Ariel DLP. Smooth, funky, soulful and powerful, their sound combines influences propelled by a love for the grooves and rhythms of Cuba, New York City and Miami.

Arjola Miruku, Jacksonville — A pianist and nationally certified teacher of music who runs PLAY Academy of Arts, Miruku has instructed musicians at TCU and Texas Wesleyan University as well as in her private studio. In her active performing career, Miruku has served as the featured soloist many times and specializes in both solo and duo piano music.

UNF Chamber Singers, Jacksonville — The UNF Chamber Singers have performed with acclaimed guest conductors in the region and in international concerts in Italy, Portugal and South Africa. Under the direction of Dr. Cara Tasher, the singers work to deeply understand the music they sing and the culture from which it came.

Ted Schedule jacksonville

For more information on our conference, go to our “We, The People” event page!

Things to Do While in Town for TEDxJacksonville

While enjoying your stay in Jacksonville, we invite you to explore Jacksonville and find out for yourself why we love our city and our people so much.

Whether you are a thinker, maker, doer, dreamer or anything in between, Jacksonville has something special to offer for your next adventure. Jacksonville is home to artists, scholars, performers and explorers, and there’s never a shortage of activities to fill up your free time.

On the Water

As the largest city by geographical area in the contiguous United States, Jacksonville’s unique size and location foster diverse ocean and river spaces that allow for exploration in what feels like primitive Florida. Take a kayak through the salt marsh ecosystem of the Intracoastal or let yourself be overwhelmed by the enormity of the driftwood washed up on Blackrock Beach at Big Talbot Island.

Cool Neighborhoods
Explore historic St. Augustine or take a walk through the Riverside Avondale Historic District to daydream about what life was like when Northeast Florida was the bustling “Winter Film Capital of the World.” Check out a movie at the locally owned Sun-Ray Cinema in 5 Points and get excited to spend some quality time at the historic Florida Theatre for our conference. If you get hungry while exploring beautiful Avondale, we recommend Biscottis. Be sure to leave room for a massive and delicious piece of cake for dessert.

Local Arts Scene
Watch TEDxJacksonville talks from two of our favorite artists, both with studios at CoRK Arts District, for inspiration as you seek out local arts in and around Jacksonville. Watch Chip Southworth and Barbara Colaciello, then visit one of the many art museums, galleries or street art murals.

Must-Sees in Jacksonville
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is a must-see stop, and in addition to the permanent gardens, exhibitions in October include “Bijoux Parisiens: French Jewelry from the Petit Palais, Paris,” exploring the intersection between French history, art, and fashion; and “Mediterranea: American Art from the Graham D. Williford Collection,” examining how American artists of the late 19th and early 20th century represented the Mediterranean regions in their work.

From the Cummer Museum, walk (or bike) under the Fuller Warren Bridge and along the Riverwalk for some stunning river views. Once downtown you can stroll to find the latest projects by Art (Re)public, which brings street artists from around the world to paint monumental murals on the sides of historic buildings.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville is one of our favorites downtown, centrally located next to Hemming Park, showcasing modern and contemporary works from the 1960s to present. Project Atrium is just one of MOCA’s exhibits, featuring installations in the vast Atrium Gallery of the museum, by emerging and mid-career artists. Each installation is not only stunning due to the magnitude and intricate architecture of the space, but also because visitors can watch the artists install their work, offering a unique behind-the-scenes look at the process that is usually kept hidden.

During the week of our conference, Gabriel Dawe’s work, “Plexus No. 38,” will be showcased in the Atrium and with miles of colorful thread, these three-dimensional weavings are remarkable. In addition to Project Atrium, MOCA exhibitions in October also include “Another Side Revealed: Art with a Heart in Healthcare” and “Margaret Ross Tolbert: Lost Springs.”

Amazing Dining Options
Before leaving downtown, grab lunch or dinner at one of the many downtown restaurants. If you are in the mood for a burger or other pub food, try the delicious Bellwether or Spliff’s Gastropub. Great sandwiches can be found at Olio, Superfood & Brew and D&G Deli. For Mexican, try Burrito Gallery; for Thai, Indochine; Italian, Casa Dora; and French, Candy Apple Café. You can’t go wrong with any of these restaurants, and they are all within walking distance of MOCA. For dessert, be sure to check out Sweet Pete’s, the amazing Willy Wonka-esque gourmet chocolate and candy emporium located in the restored historic Seminole Club Building.

History Must-Sees
Once you have seen all of downtown, if you are in the mood for some science and history, visit MOSH, the Museum of Science and History on the Southbank of the St. Johns River. Bike or walk over the Main Street Bridge and take a stroll around Friendship Fountain before taking some time to explore the interactive science and history exhibits and the planetarium. Permanent exhibits range from Northeast Florida’s manatees, dolphins and whales to Jacksonville’s electricity and other resources. In October, exhibitions will include “African Americans in World War II,” “Ancient Rome: Epic Innovators and Engineers,” and “Manufacturing Victory: The Arsenal of Democracy.”  

After visiting the museums, we suggest grabbing a bite to eat and then attending a show by The 5 & Dime theatre company downtown. In October, the hilarious live stage show, “Evil Dead: the musical” is on the agenda. The 5 & Dime took the stage as a performer at our 2013 TEDxJacksonville conference.

Our diverse indoor and outdoor activities are sure to please even the pickiest explorers. We hope you’ll enjoy our sights and our people while visiting.

For more information, please visit:

For Dining Options visit:

About the Author