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Meet the Team

Have you ever wondered who the people behind the Riverside Arts Market were? Well, here's your chance to get to know them:

John Silveira

Senior Market Manager

John Silveira

About:

John, a US Navy veteran returned to Florida in 2015. While he was away he spent some of his time studying at Chapman University in San Diego and aboard the USS Ranger. His duty stations included Fighter Squadron Two, Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Operation Deep Freeze and Naval Air Station Alameda. Shortly after returning from the South Pole he began his twenty three year non-profit career with the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association.

His passion for healthy communities, local businesses and the agricultural arts led to the creation of the largest Market Association in the country. John was instrumental in creating the first hospital based farmers' market in the San Francisco Bay Area with Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser now sponsors over fifty markets throughout the country and continues to educate communities about healthy eating.

Previous Experiences:

John's past volunteer service includes: President, California Federation of Certified Farmers' Markets, President, Pleasanton Downtown Association, Member, Brentwood Neighborhood Advisory Committee, Chaired State of California's Direct Marketing Task Force and Co-Chair State of California's Department of Agriculture's Technical Planning Committee.

John spends most of his free time dreaming and looking for new ways to turn that vision into reality. If there's any time left over you'll find him at the beach with his wife and Golden Retriever.

About RAM:

"For me, managing the Riverside Arts Market is yet another stop on my journey to help others in reaching their potential. We help a diverse group of the community and all of them have different obstacles that they encounter along their road to success. We want to address and remove those obstacles so the rising tide will continue to float all boats!"

Marisa Whittemore

Social Media and Events Coordinator

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About:

Marisa, a Jacksonville native and local artist, is the Social Media and Events Coordinator for Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP) and Riverside Arts Market (RAM). As a marketing and communications professional, Marisa has worked in a variety of industries that has allowed her to grow in many aspects and bring more knowledge and depth to each role she has taken on. Her passion and knowledge for all things social media arose when she realized the positive and meaningful impact a good social media strategy can have for a brand. When she's not working, you can find Marisa daydreaming of new art ideas, working on her art commissions at home and spending time with her dogs and family.

Previous Experiences:

Since graduating from college, she has worked for brands and companies like Rip Curl, Advanced Disposal, JAXUSA Partnership, The Gnarly Pit and Lady Rebel Stained Glass.

About RAM:

"As someone who has always loved and admired the Riverside Avondale neighborhood, I am very happy and grateful to be a part of such a wonderful organization that works to preserve its historical features as well as promote the businesses, arts and culture that resides within the community. As a local artist, it has also been an amazing experience to dive deeper and be more integrated in the operational side of Riverside Arts Market. I love getting to know all the makers and growers and helping them grow to reach their goals."

Harriet Armani

Concierge

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About:

Harriet came to RAM as a visitor on opening day 2009, signed on as a volunteer and two years later accepted the staff position of Onsite Volunteer Supervisor. To boot, RAM utilizes Harriet's graphic design skills to promote the RAM brand and various events. A love for quaint communities with a history led her to Micanopy, which was settled in 1821 and was the first distinct US town in Florida. While living there, she co-chaired the Micanopy Fall Harvest Festival. She is a native of Jacksonville and, for the most part of five decades, has been a resident of the Riverside and Murray Hill communities. She loves art, food and the outdoors so RAM is the perfect spot for her!

Previous Experiences:

While Harriet was studying photography toward a cinematography degree in Gainesville, she took a job with a printing company which led her to graphic design. She has since applied her design skills in the healthcare management field, visiting the nation's capitol as an ambassador for the elderly, at ATP Tennis and currently for C3 Media Group.

 

About RAM:

"At a time when the economy was in a protracted recession, Riverside Arts Market opened. This allowed many people who may have been laid off from their job or otherwise financially challenged to pivot to their creative skills. Many of those artists, makers and growers are still vendors at RAM.
The market is a terrific place for locals and also for vacationing individuals and families — offering art, food, entertainment, and more.
I am happy to have my RAMILY, which includes visitors as well as vendors and staff, and so proud to be a part of Jacksonville’s finest weekly event."

Shannon Blankinship

Executive Director

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About:

Shannon is a community advocate and has focused her work on environmental protection and advocacy. She began her career with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and was an Intern with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

She moved to Jacksonville in 2009 where she could walk to nearby markets, restaurants, and parks, so she made Riverside her home.

In May 2021, she transitioned from her role at the St. Johns Riverkeeper to Riverside Avondale Preservation as Executive Director.

Previous Experiences:

Shannon has had a long standing career in community advocacy and outreach. She served as the Outreach Director for the St. Johns River Keeper for nine years before joining Riverside Avondale Preservation.

In 2020, Shannon became Chair of Resilient Jax, a coalition of non-profit organizations, businesses, and individuals collaborating on resiliency solutions. Riverside Avondale Preservation is one of Resilient Jax’s founding members.

Frank Widner and Roy Peak

Specialized Support at RAM

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About:

Riverside Arts Market would not be what it is if it were not for these two extraordinary men! Frank and Roy have been providing support to RAM since the very beginning and are the backbone of our story. They show up every Saturday to help us put on the best market we can be. Frank,  helps us start the day by setting up and ending the day at break down every Saturday. And Roy, provides his master expertise when it comes to sound. The River Stage would not be a premier performance spot if it were not for his skillset.

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