TEDxFSCJ Salon: Leonardos of the 21st Century


2019 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the quintessential Renaissance man or “polymath” whose genius spanned an astonishing array of disciplines.

In today’s digital age, poets and scientists, designers and architects are rediscovering this vision, cultivating expertise in multiple fields and challenging the boundaries that separate the arts and sciences.

Join TEDxFSCJ for Leonardos of the 21st Century, a salon exploring how the Renaissance or polymath ideal is finding renewed expression across the First Coast. Hosted by local artists Princess Simpson Rashid and Mark Creegan, the evening will feature five creative innovators:

  • Ben Atkinson, ecologist and poet at Flagler College

  • Jonathan Cantor, architect and Vice President atRS&H, exploring how built environments impact human health and the health sciences

  • Caitlín Doherty, Director, MOCA Jacksonville

  • Clark Lunberry, UNF Professor of English, interdisciplinary scholar and artist whose work includes poetry installations

  • Kedgar Volta, Creative Director of Castaño Group, connecting digital and physical environments through interactive media

The salon will be held Thursday, February 28,
7-9 p.m. at MOCA Jacksonville.



Ben Atkinson

Ben Atkinson is an assistant professor of natural sciences at Flagler College. In recent years, he has returned to poetry as a creative outlet and tool for understanding the world. Ben’s work ranges from poems published in literary magazines and galleries to published articles on reptiles and amphibians in scientific journals and books. Field research has taken him to Belize, Bermuda, Honduras and across the U.S. Active with Ancient City Poets, Ben shares his work at Corazon Cinema and Café in St. Augustine. He also reads locally in Jacksonville. Last year, he debuted poems for the Southeastern Sister Cities Reading Tour, Sing Out Loud Festival and JaxbyJax Literary Arts Festival. Ben holds a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology and conservation from the University of Florida.


Jonathan Cantor

Vice President and Healthcare Market Leader for RS&H, Jonathan has spent his career focusing on the development of healthcare and life science environments. As an architect, Jonathan understands how the built environment directly impacts the health and productivity of patients, staff and researchers. Over the past decade, he has created multiple design studios that focus on evidence-based design decisions to improve those outcomes. Jonathan served for six years on the Board of Directors for BioFlorida, which focuses on the growth of the life science industry in Florida and is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.


Caitlín Doherty

Born on South Uist, a small island in Northwest Scotland, Caitlín’s journey to Jacksonville highlights her passion for the arts, community and education. Having acted as the chief curator and deputy director for the Broad Art Museum in Michigan, the exhibitions and speaker curator at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar and the inaugural director of Lismore Castle Arts in Ireland, Caitlín has engaged with and provided leadership to artists, students and communities around the world. Furthermore, Caitlín has taught a variety of courses at Ireland's Waterford Institute of Technology and University College London. Caitlín holds master's degrees from the University of Edinburgh and the University of St. Andrews. Currently, she serves as the Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville.


Clark Lunberry

Clark is a professor of English at the University of North Florida. Along with his interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching, Lunberry creates site-specific “writing on water | writing on air” art and poetry installations, placing large-scale poems on water and windows. Recent installations have been completed in Uppsala, Sweden; Oxford, England; Paris, France; Toronto, Canada; Tokyo and Hiroshima, Japan; Durham, England; Stanford University; the University of Georgia; and at the University of North Florida. To view his work, please visit


Kedgar Volta

Kedgar has been a vital part of the Jacksonville arts and creative community for over a decade. As co-founder and Creative Director of Castaño Group, he uses interactive technology and his talent for design to create innovative ways to communicate in digital and physical environments. After emigrating to Florida from Cuba, Kedgar began his career at Brunet-García Advertising where he created internationally recognized work running the gamut from typography to animation. He has been a featured artist at Art Basel Miami Beach and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and has been awarded multiple National ADDY and Emmy Awards.In 2015, he was named Emerging Artist of the Year by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville.



Mark Creegan

Mark is an assistant professor of drawing and design at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He is also an artist whose work alternates between various media such as painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, installation and performance. Underlying Mark’s incredibly diverse practice is a thoughtful exploration of abstract form, repetitive mark-making, color, humor, and use of found and discarded materials. Hairnets, shark’s teeth, used watercolor sets and combs are just some of the diverse array of objects Creegan employs into minimalist arrangements or large-scale installations which are often used as spaces for performative action. Creegan currently lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and received an MFA degree from Florida State University.


Princess Simpson Rashid

Princess is an American painter, printmaker, blogger, art activist, competitive sport-fencer and coach. Her work has been part of exhibitions and private collections in museums, art centers and galleries across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Portugal. Locally, Princess has been recognized by various organizations including the Florida Watercolor Society, Tampa Regional Artists and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. Princess was born in Georgia and studied printmaking and painting at Escuela de Artes Plastica in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and earned her B.S. in Physics from Georgia State University.

TEDxFSCJ Salon: Art (Re)Defines Us


WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2016 FROM 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.

Art (Re)Defines Us: From the Host

Great art transforms the lives it touches.  That’s why we look to art to illuminate who we are, to challenge comfortable fictions and speak uncomfortable truths, and to inspire us to think, see, and hear anew.

TEDxFSCJ is partnering with OneVoice and the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA Jacksonville) to host a salon that addresses how art in its many modes—painting, poetry, spoken word, and historic neighborhoods—contribute to the flourishing of communities.  The evening will include music by Mal Jones, creator of the Lyricist LIVE, an open mic street party held the first Wednesday of every month during the downtown Art Walk, as well as TED talks, audience discussion, and four expert panelists who have made lasting contributions to Jacksonville’s artistic community.

The salon will be held Wednesday, September 14th, at the MOCA Jacksonville, from 6-8 pm. Check-in and live music begin at 5:30.




Recording artist, Founder of The Lyricist Live, emceee, award winning Jacksonville Hip-Hop/Folk artist, educator and documentarian Mal Jones hosts The Lyricist Live at downtown vision’s monthly “Jacksonville Artwalk.” A Bronx Born, 23 year resident of Duval County, Mal is a pioneer of the Jacksonville indie Hip-Hop scene and creator of Hip-Hop education based school programs that use hip-hop culture as an educational tool. In 2013 Mal  became the first Hip-Hop artist in Florida history labeled a “Folk Artist” by The Florida Folklife Program and Division of Historical Resources for the traditional skill of improvisational freestyle rapping. In addition to hosting a number of Hip-Hop workshops that focus on writing and literacy, Mal runs a state funded apprenticeship program awarded by The Florida Folklife Program that teaches the traditional skill of freestyle rapping. He's currently in his 2nd year of curating the folk apprenticeship program.




Tiffany is a poet, performer and graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars. An educator as well as artist, she teaches poetry workshops, magazine production and oral interpretation at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.  Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has most recently appeared in Compose Journal, Coda Quarterly, Bridge Eight and on Swamp Radio, a live radio and podcast experience celebrating the culture, art and history of Northeast Florida, where she is both occasional co-host, interviewer and frequent contributor. She recently completed an audio chapbook for Eat Poems and was previously featured in The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens' exhibit, Reflections: Artful Perspectives on the St. Johns River.



Ebony is a writer, performer, educator, and human rights activist from Jacksonville, where she is a board member of The Performers Academy. She is the first woman to establish her own chapter of the international poetry organization, Black on Black Rhyme. Ebony is a 2015 Southern Fried Poetry Slam double finalist as well as the winner of Florida Urban Culture’s 2015 award for Most Influential Artist.  Her 12 years of professional experience include performances at the New Orleans House of Blues, Essence Festival, Nuyorican Café, and the Denver Mercury Slam. Her discography comprises three critically acclaimed poetry albums, and she is the author of a nationally accredited, artistically centered K-12 STEAM curriculum and children’s book series in use in some 48 programs nationwide.



Christina is a long-time advocate for Jacksonville’s urban neighborhoods, with significant experience in historic preservation and the use of arts and culture as tools for community development.  A resident of Historic Springfield, she recently retired from a twenty-year career as an attorney specializing in real estate law and now serves as Executive Director of Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council, Inc.  She is a founder of Jacksonville PorchFest, an annual music festival that brings thousands of people to Springfield to enjoy dozens of performances on porches and in parks throughout the historic district.  A board member or chair of several other civic organizations, Christina recently completed her goal of visiting each of the fifty United States and believes Jacksonville is poised to end its reign as America’s most underrated, unappreciated, and misunderstood city.



Roosevelt is a painter working in surreal, abstract, and figurative modes. A native of Jacksonville, he received his BFA from the Atlanta College of Art (now the Savannah College of Art and Design), and his work is currently on display at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens exhibit, LIFT: Contemporary Expressions of the African American Experience.  he was awarded the Savannah Individual Arts Assistance Grant and has twice placed first in the Jacksonville-area Beaches Fine Arts Series.  His work has been commissioned by the Ritz Theatre and LaVilla Museum in Jacksonville, the Emmanuel Church in Tampa, and the Boys and Girls Club in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and his paintings have been featured on the covers of Savannah Scene, Folio Weekly, and Contemporary Arts Today.

Art (Re)Defines Us: From the Host

Why is the topic of this event important to you?

Art exercises a tremendous influence over our personal identity and public values.  Learning to understand, appreciate, and strengthen that influence enriches our lives as individuals, but also and equally important, it helps us take greater responsibility for the character of our communities and determine whether and to what extent our public artistic and cultural spaces embody the principles we profess.

This is what initially sparked my interest in hosting a salon on art and community, but my interest has been spurred on by many of the fascinating, provocative conversations that have taken place in Jacksonville over the past year.  On WJCT’s Community Thread with Melissa Ross, for example, I saw some great conversations about downtown development and arts education.  This summer, I attended the opening of the Cummer Museum’s exhibit, LIFT: Contemporary Reflections on the African American Experience.  I also had the opportunity to attend several public conversations about the exhibit and the subject of race and art, most notably the conversations hosted by Nyah Vanterpool of UNF’s OneVoice.  All of these conversations generated such passion, such engagement, such thoughtful exploration of injustice and hope, inequality and courage, that I simply felt compelled to explore this topic myself.  Continuing this ongoing conversation about how art embodies our shared democratic values seems to me to be a kind of debt we owe to our forebears and fellow citizens, a great unfinished work requiring renewed dedication and engaged devotion.

I’m especially excited that TEDxFSCJ will be partnering with MOCA Jacksonville to host this salon.  This partnership signals the first in what will ultimately be many examples of collaboration between TEDxFSCJ and the wider community.  The spirit of TED and TEDx thrives when it engages real communities, real people, and real issues with passion, dedication, and rigor, and that’s what I hope this salon will help to further.

- Paul Hendrickson