Community Engagement

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.


A brown paper bag

Story doodling worksheet



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.


Black Construction Paper

Oil Pastels


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:


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
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

Take A Tour of SPARK!

With Ribbon Cutting just 3 days away, excitement is building around the SPARK! opening.  It’s impossible to describe or imagine the fully immersive, creative environment we’ve built.  So, I’m thrilled to share this short video tour.

Fostering Creativity by Developing TEDx Talks – For Kids 10 – 18

SPARK! is excited to offer our first programs with TEDxSMU.  TEDx Kid Talks help our youth develop their great ideas into good and great presentations.  We love TED Talks as they help to develop confidence in young presenters, spark new thoughts in the audience and make us think like a kid once again.  Creativity springs to life when kids are invited to share their ideas with a city wide audience.  We’re partnering with TEDxSMU and DHD Films to create a unique opportunity for kids 10 – 18.

On July 15 we present: “Turn Your Great Idea Into a TED Talk.”  150 spaces are available – please register:  TEDxKidsInfo  This session is perfect for any kid who has an idea they believe needs to be heard, for those who wonder what a TED Talk is, and those who’ve begun working on their TED Talk.

Then on August 7th we’re here to help coach the kids through their audition tape, record their presentation and post to the TEDx web site.  TEDxSMU staff will be on-hand to assist with the final tweaking and preparation for recording.  Professionals from DHD Films will be set-up in the SPARK! recording booths to video the audition tapes.  All auditions will be uploaded to the TEDxSMU submission page.

For more information: TEDxSMU Kids 2015

Spread the word and let’s hear what the kids are thinking about.




SPARK! Teen Board Inaugural Meeting



Introducing the inaugural SPARK! Teen Board. These teens are full of good ideas and ready to pull up their sleeves and get to work.  We have 14 youth who have signed on for a year of service to bring new ideas to SPARK!

At our first meeting, we got to know each other and worked on a creative installation project to paint recycled hubcaps. We talked about what it means to be on a board and what board positions exist. Next month, we will elect members to leadership positions and begin talking about a long term creative project.

We are thankful for these teens who have given their time to SPARK! Stay posted for more updates as we make progress!


North Texas Giving Day

Thanks to everyone who attended ‪‎IgniteSPARK‬! and made North Texas Giving Day a success for SPARK! We raised a total of $13,506, won a $2,500 prize, AND ended the night with some amazing looking birdhouses. Thank you, thank you, thank you!