Our Staff

Riverside Avondale Preservation Staff

Shannon Blankinship

Executive Director

Shannon is a long-time resident of Jacksonville’s urban core neighborhoods and believes Riverside and Avondale are the heart of our great city. Shannon grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, receiving a B.S. in Environmental Economics and Political Science. After working for the Delaware Riverkeeper in Philadelphia, she moved to Jacksonville, Florida and received her J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law with an emphasis in pro bono community service and the Environmental Certificate. 

Shannon worked at St. Johns Riverkeeper for nearly a decade, starting as Outreach Director, guiding the bi-annual Eco Heritage Boats Trips, hosting River Ruckus at the Riverside Arts Market, and leading the annual River Friendly Yards program, plus more. Once becoming Advocacy Director, she worked to develop policy action plans, legislative strategies, and administer the Water Policy Group. Her focus issues were resiliency and growth/land development.

Previous Experience:

Shannon served as the first Chair of Resilient Jax (now the Jacksonville Climate Coalition), a coalition of community organizations working together to elevate concerns regarding resiliency in Jacksonville. Other committee work includes serving on the 2014 COJ Consolidation Task Force, the Groundwork Jacksonville McCoys Creek Restoration Task Force, the COJ Planning Department Adaptation Action Area Working Group, and the COJ Special Committee on Resiliency as a Special Expert. 

In May 2021, Shannon became Executive Director of Riverside Avondale Preservation. In this role, Shannon continues to focus on preservation. She is an advocate for the land and water that defines our neighborhood, the walkable streets that lead to independently-owned businesses, and the historic homes that shape our community. She oversees staff, manages our office, The Buckland House, seeks grants, grows our membership, and works to continue celebrating this fantastic neighborhood through historic events like Home Tour, Garden Tour, Luminaria, and promoting the Riverside Arts Market.

John Silveira

Market Director

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 more than 50 markets throughout the country and continues to educate communities about healthy eating.

Previous Experience:

John’s past volunteer service includes: President, California Federation of Certified Farmers’ Markets; President, Pleasanton Downtown Association; Member, Brentwood Neighborhood Advisory Committee; Chair, State of California’s Direct Marketing Task Force; 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 RAM’s vision into reality. If there’s any time left over, you’ll find him at the beach with his wife or fishing in the Florida Keys.

Chloe Kuhn

Market Manager

Chloe is a lifelong Floridian who moved to Jacksonville after graduation from the University of Florida in 2016. She quickly planted roots in the urban core and is delighted to join the Riverside Arts Market (RAM) team. Weekly visits to RAM were one of the first ways she felt connected to the city, and she is excited to help future visitors to the Market build that strong connection to the neighborhood, and to Jacksonville as a whole.

Chloe can be found every Saturday at RAM and would love to meet you (and your dogs) at the information booth. Outside of work, she spends time with her latest foster pet, hiking or biking through our local city & state parks, or watching a movie.

CONTACT CHLOE for questions and more information about the Riverside Arts Market.

Marisa Whittemore

Digital Media Manager

Marisa, a Jacksonville native and local artist, is the Digital Media Manager 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 have allowed her to grow and bring more knowledge and depth to each role she takes 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.

CONTACT MARISA for questions about events, to share news, photos & more.

Savanna Stillwagner

Marketing & Communications Intern

Savanna is currently a junior at the University of North Florida, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Multimedia Journalism. Raised in both Florida and Oregon, she has a passion for traveling and seizing learning opportunities wherever they arise. As the Marketing & Communications Intern at the Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP) and Riverside Arts Market (RAM), she is ecstatic to maximize these opportunities to kickstart her career in journalism. In her free time, she enjoys visiting the beach, exploring Jacksonville, and meeting new people. She is dedicated to playing a leading role in the future of journalism, utilizing media and marketing to adapt to an ever-changing industry. She is thrilled to collaborate with RAP and RAM in their mission to preserve such a significant piece of history in the heart of Jacksonville!

Kandice Clark

Creative Placemaking Specialist

Kandice Clark, a Jacksonville native born in the heart of Riverside, is a devoted placemaker celebrated for her community activation, artists’ advocacy, and work in revitalizing spaces. Her most recent project, The Petite, was a pop-up artspace series in downtown Jacksonville that featured a different artist and baker every last Friday of the month from July to September 2023. The event celebrated Jacksonville’s diverse and expanding art community through vision, sound, and taste. Throughout the event, from concept to completion, Kandice was praised for her ability to work with all stakeholders as well as the artist community. As Founder of the Black Mural Map, Kandice worked to manage project installations, connect businesses with artists, and provide narrative insight and meaning behind the impactful murals that shape our community through storytelling. As a detail-oriented leader and supportive manager, Kandice will be able to help RAP direct this brand-new position through a micro-strategic planning process as step number one.

As a mom of three young future artists and wife of a talented local artist, Chris Clark, Kandice’s involvement in arts & culture doesn’t end after a day in the office. She is excited to bring her passion for this work to a neighborhood she truly loves.

CONTACT KANDICE for questions about Community-supported Initiatives, Events, and Project Implementation.

Casey Roth

Development Manager

Casey serves as Development Manager, serving as a community liaison and business steward of RAP and RAM. Casey brings together important businesses, members, and vendors to expand our organizational capacity.

Rooted in the community, Casey joins our team having formerly served at the Jacksonville Public Education Fund where he supported the Duval County Teacher of the Year program. Casey co-founded Jacksonville Global Shapers, organizing the “Shaping Florida 2022” conference – a project that was highlighted at the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Annual Summit in Geneva. Casey initiated the Young Professional Delegation of Jacksonville, a group that elevates young professionals into pivotal decision-making roles, ensuring their voices contribute to shaping the future.

Personally, Casey’s passion for arts, including poetry, cinema, literature, music, and culinary arts, inspires him to infuse creativity into everyday interactions and community projects. You can find him at the next poetry open mic in Riverside soon!

CONTACT CASEY for questions about Membership, Sponsorship and Development.

Elaine Akin

Elaine Slayton Akin is an Arkansas native who moved to Jacksonville in 2021 by way of Nashville, Tennessee. Elaine has a B.A. in English from Lyon College (Arkansas) and an M.A. in art history from the University of Memphis (Tennessee). Before RAP, she worked in programming and development in arts institutions and museums, such as the Thea Foundation, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and First Art Museum. She also veered into more hands-on creative work directly with artists, including Nashville-based sustainable fashion designers Ceri Hoover and Elizabeth Suzann. Most recently, she worked as the Member Relations Officer at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.
As a part-time Archivist for RAP, Elaine shares her time working and volunteering at Riverside Presbyterian Church in communications and community outreach. She lives, works, and plays in Riverside Avondale and is excited about the future of this cornerstone community of Jacksonville, as well as what we can learn from the objects and records left behind by our predecessors. In her spare time, you’ll find Elaine traveling, walking the neighborhood with her husband Tim and dog Enzo, or freelance writing about art at a coffee shop.

Vacant Roles


The Historian position at Riverside Avondale Preservation helps to communicate our history with the community. The Riverside and Avondale neighborhoods were established fifty years apart and have attracted a wide variety of residents, including celebrities, artists, and prominent figures in Jacksonville’s foundation. This role will allow an individual to dive deep into history and be able to tell our story, contribute their knowledge to maintain historic documents. For more information, visit our Jobs page.