Community Engagement


Girl Scout Gold Award At SPARK!

Sixteen-year-old Mallory Rasco is working towards earning the highest achievement in Girl Scouts: the Gold Award. This seven-step project aims to impact the community in a big way. Lucky for us, Mallory has chosen to make an impact on SPARK! We can’t wait any longer to share her plans for a permanent installation in our creative environment. Read on to learn how she is transforming one long, dark tunnel into an out-of-this-world adventure.

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What was your source of inspiration for this project?

At the beginning, I was mainly thinking of big environments that would be interesting for kids to explore. That was when I initially thought of space, but then when I started thinking of cool details and activities to be in the tunnel, I used more of my personal knowledge. I’ve always enjoyed star gazing and Astronomy. I went to a weeklong Girl Scout Camp where I studied the stars, and I enjoyed myself immensely. I used all that I’ve learned to make the tunnel interesting and exciting for people to explore. So in total, my inspiration drew from my personal experience with studying the field and what I have enjoyed from my adventures.

What are some exciting elements of the project that we can expect to see?

Throughout the tunnel, it will look like a spaceship. There will be a control panel where kids can feel like they’re flying through space. I’m excited for this because I have been able to acquire actual pilot seats from Southwest Airlines to use for my project, so it will feel more genuine. And, at the end of the tunnel, I’ve designed it so it will look like the kids are floating in outer space, with constellations and stars and planets. Everything in there will be for kids to play with and enjoy themselves.

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From start to finish, how long do you expect to be working on this project?

I really started moving on this project at the beginning of June when I started thinking of the details in the tunnel. I am hoping to be done with most of the construction by the end of July. Then, I will finish up any last details and work on the paperwork for the Girl Scout Council in the first half of August, right before school starts. So, the entire project will last about two and a half months, basically all of summer.

What does earning the Gold Award mean to you?

Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award means the world to me. I have been a Girl Scout for eleven years, and everything has led up to this. I have already earned my Bronze and Silver Awards; to receive the Gold and finish the journey would give me the most amazing feeling. I will feel so satisfied with all the work I have done and the difference I can make for the kids.

Tell me why you chose to do your project at SPARK!

The first time I came to SPARK! I learned all about their message and goal. This is what told me that I needed to do my project here. I love everything that SPARK! promotes such as creativity and confidence. All of this is so important for children to hear, so that when they grow up, they can make a change in the world that we need.

How do you think this project will impact the community?

I hope that my project will impact children most of all. I want them to see how I brought something from my imagination to real life. I hope it will inspire higher confidence in themselves and their decisions when they design something or think of a different way to complete a task. It will teach them that if they work hard enough they can accomplish anything.

If you’d like to donate supplies to help Mallory with her project, check out her list of needs here.


Success Story: Camellia Gets Creative With Clay

At SPARK! we measure the success of a student’s visit in two ways:

  1. Did we help increase their self-definition as a creative individual?
  2. Did they begin to understand and use the creative process as we define it? (Inspiration with Iteration and Collaboration leads to Innovation.)

During her second consecutive week in our summer camp program, Camellia (or Cam), took another shot at sculpting. We are so thrilled to hear about her new understanding of creativity because of it. Here’s her story.

Name: Camellia

Age: 13

What school do you go to? J.L. Long Middle School

What sort of creative activities do you do at school? I’m not in art class anymore. The only creative thing I do is doodle on the sides of my papers.

Do you wish there were more opportunities to be creative at school? Yes. I’d like to work more with clay since I don’t buy it and I don’t have a kiln or any tools.Summer-Camp-Success-Story2

Tell me about your experience with sculpting clay at SPARK! for a second time this week. I did a wolf head. Ms. Raines gave me tools that helped me make the fur. I didn’t know I had to hollow things out. I like sculpting now because it is satisfying to do whatever you want with it and see at the end how beautiful it is. Clay is fun to use because it’s squishy.

Do you think it’s important to try things twice? Yes. I went all out the second time and did something I wanted to do instead. I finished in two days. It took some patience.

Did you improve? Yes.

How did you use iteration during your second sculpting experience? When I was doing the snout I noticed it was too long so I had to cut off different parts to see if it looked normal. The ears were hard because I had to put the back of them on first and then the curving inside. One ear looked kind of weird. I didn’t know if I should leave a part of it missing. I eventually made it look like it was cut off a little bit half way down. I definitely had a problem with the eyes. I couldn’t figure out how to do it with them open so I decided to do it with them closed. For the mouth, I just did lines to signify where it was. I wanted jowls to look more obvious so I had to add more clay to it.

Summer-Camp-Success-Story1Are you proud of yourself after seeing the final product? Yes. It looks better than what I thought it would. It does at least look like some sort of dog. Not a cat or anything. The fur actually looks like fur not just clay and triangles. It looks like a wolf.

Did you consider yourself creative before you came to SPARK! for camp? Yes.

At SPARK! we try to help kids understand that creativity isn’t just fine arts. Do you feel like you have a better sense of that now? I still identify creativity with art but now I see how it can relate to other things such as writing, ideas and stories.

What’s the most important thing about being creative? The most important thing is being able to do what you want. Putting whatever you think of onto paper.


Dallas Art Fair Partners with SPARK!

In April, over 100 high school students experienced total creative immersion and engaged in an in-depth creative project at SPARK! To kick off World Creativity and Innovation Week, SPARK! partnered with the Dallas Art Fair & Neiman Marcus to execute the Slot Art Collaboration Project, leading these students through the creative process and guiding them in the discovery of their unique creative abilities.

For this project, the high schoolers were asked to illustrate an answer to the question: “What inspires you?” The result was a collaborative sculpture connecting each student’s individual creation. The inspirations depicted by the students are proof of their creative minds coming to life while immersed in the SPARK! environment. “Dallas is fortunate to have SPARK!” said Autumn Hill, Learning Coordinator at Dallas Contemporary. “It was delightful to see so many smiles and such unrestrained creativity coming from our student group – a combination that I greatly attribute to this welcoming facility and its warm staff.”

A huge THANK YOU to the Dallas Art Fair and Neiman Marcus for making this possible! Come see the sculpture for yourself when you visit SPARK! this summer. Starting June 4, we’ll be open every Saturday from 10am – 4pm! In the meantime, check out these pictures of their inspiring creations!

Slot-Art-Sculpture

 


New Toys at SPARK!

Giant Light Bright

Brace yourself for a blast from the past. We’re certain you’ll feel nostalgic when you get your hands on the bigger than life-size version of this beloved toy. While attending an IAAPA conference in Orlando, Florida, the SPARK! team decided a Giant Light Bright was a great way to engage kids in fun, creative play. With more than five colors to choose from, guests can create words and images with sidewalk chalk-sized pegs. You can even black out spaces with black-colored pegs! The Giant Light Bright is available during all public events as well as scheduled group visits.

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Giant-Light-Bright

Web-Enabled Photo Kiosk

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words – and we believe you’ll have LOTS to say about SPARK! Check out the kiosk, strike a pose in front of the green screen and select from several SPARK! themed backdrops to get those creative juices flowing behind (and in front of) the lens. Be your own photographer and jump in front of scenes including the capsized ship and multi-colored mermaid. Throw a party or event at SPARK! and you’ll receive printing privileges for these special, hand-held memories. Customized backdrops with company logos or names are available for private events.

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Spend Your Birthday At SPARK!

Looking for a unique twist on birthday parties?

Celebrate at SPARK! and let your guests explore their creativity in our fully-immersive, creative environment. Get lost in the 6,000-square-foot Climb, Crawl, Slide Sculpture or join a creative, instructor-led activity. All before you cut the cake.

Why is creativity so important to us? Because kids who identify as creative individuals are more likely to receive higher test scores, finish high school, go to college, get good jobs and become contributing members of society. Sure beats a goody bag, right?

SPARK! birthday parties are not only an opportunity for friends and families to create and play together, but a chance to teach kids how to give back, even on a day that’s about them. All the proceeds from parties benefit our programs and support our mission to ignite the spark of creativity inherent in all children.

Find more information on our birthday party packages here.


Halloween Spooktacular Featured Activity – Story Doodling

In celebration of our first-ever public event on October 31 at SPARK! we’re sharing three featured activities happening that day. Our first post was an overview of how oil pastels and black construction paper can be used in a project to spark creativity in kids ages 8–10 before they outgrow Halloween. More on that here.

Our second activity is story doodling on trick-or-treat bags, another craft we believe can challenge kids to think beyond what they know and tap into their imaginations to produce original work. According to a study on Drawing Development in Children by researcher Viktor Lowenfeld, kids enter the the “pseudo- naturalistic stage” around age 12. Meaning art is no longer a spontaneous activity because their focus has shifted towards creating “adult-like” naturalistic drawings. We’re confident that this activity will teach kids to be less critical of their work by helping them slow down and enjoy the process. Here’s how it works.

Materials:

A brown paper bag

Story doodling worksheet

Markers

Instructions:

Utilize the worksheet as a brainstorming exercise. Next, review your worksheet to use it as inspiration to design your bag. Select your favorite doodle(s) and repeat across the surface of your bag.

Final Product:

Story-Doodling (1)

During the Halloween Spooktacular, you’ll also get to explore our newly renovated Creepy Crawl, see the Mad Scientist in action, and stop by all 13 treat stations. This event is open to families with children in 2nd grade through high school. No drop-offs are allowed. Admission is $8 in advance; $10 at the door.

Stay tuned for the next featured activity: Spooky Jars


Halloween Spooktacular Featured Activity – Haunted Landscapes

We’re so excited to be hosting our first-ever public event, Halloween Spooktacular, on October 31 at SPARK! While you’re here, you’ll get to explore our newly renovated Creepy Crawl and participate in creative, Halloween-themed activities as a family. See the Mad Scientist in action, decorate your own trick-or-treat bags and stop by all 13 treat stations. This event is open to families with children in 2nd grade through high school. No drop-offs are allowed. Admission is $8 in advance; $10 at the door.

Take advantage of this event as an opportunity to lead your children down the path of self-discovery and help them identify as creative individuals. (Before they decide they’ve outgrown Halloween.) Take a note from researcher Viktor Lowenfeld on the stages of creative and mental growth, explained through drawings by Betty Edwards.

According to his studies, during the dawning of realism stage (occurring between the ages of 8–10) children find that generalization doesn’t suffice as a form of expression for reality. Instead, children spend more time on detail imitating reality. And while we sometimes suspend reality for Halloween, SPARK! offers art activities that challenge children to think abstractly and independently.

To kick-start their creativity, we’ve decided to give you a sneak peak of a few activities happening the day of our October 31st event. (All materials are included with admission.) First up: Haunted Landscapes with one of our favorite instructors, Vet.

Materials:

Black Construction Paper

Oil Pastels

Objective:

Using oil pastels, create your own haunted landscape against a black backdrop and then take your masterpiece home and hang. We suggest skeletons, ghosts, monsters and mummies. This activity is suitable for all ages.

Final Product:

Haunted-Landscapes

Stay tuned for the next featured activity: Storydoodling on Trick-or-Treat Bags

 


Stop Motion Video – All the Rage

Stop Motion Video
Stop Motion Video was unveiled at SPARK! this Saturday. SPARK! explores and ignites creativity by introducing children and families to a number of different disciplines. Instructor Lynn Raines created a wide assortment of props taking visitors from the streets of Dallas to the waves of the bay. Check out the fun on our You Tube Video
SPARK!
is now taking reservations for group visits, check out our calendar of events and join the creative movement.


Only 1 Week Left to Register

Shoes & Stories, sponsored by Marsha Clark & Associates, is destined to be an annual event.  I’ve been saying that I believe this will be my favorite event this year.  I believe it ever so much more now.  Last night visual artists Lynn Raines and VET led the SPARK! staff through our own shoe decorating experience.  Lynn’s warm-up exercise was really great, giving us all a confidence level we likely would not otherwise have had.  If I may so say, I believe we produced some really fun shoes.  If you have girls between second grade and high school you have only 1 week remaining to sign them up for this fabulous event being held August 15.  Enroll Now

SPARK! Staff Design Own Shoes

SPARK! Staff Design Own Shoes