SPARK! Events


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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Photobooth


SPARK! Birdhouses

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Looking for silent auction items or center pieces for your next big fundraiser? We have more than 50 birdhouses decorated by volunteers and children to fill that need!

Each wooden birdhouse was constructed by a Boy or Girl Scout working towards earning a badge, then was decorated by volunteers as part of North Texas Giving Day.

In October of last year, TexProtects used our birdhouses as center pieces during a fundraiser at the Dallas Arboretum and graciously split half the proceeds with us. As a thank you for including us, we always decorate one birdhouse for the organization that we’re partnering with.

If you’d like to own one for yourself, visit our gift shop during your next visit.

Contact Marketing and Events Coordinator Mollie Jamison at mjamison@sparkdallas.org or 214-421-7727 if interested in incorporating our birdhouses into your next event.


The Dallas Festival of Ideas

The countdown is over! It’s time for The Dallas Festival of Ideas on Saturday and this year we’re attending as participants. This completely free festival is broken up into five City Tracks. We’re joining The Educated City Track from 11:30–12pm in The Women’s Museum to talk about our favorite topic: creativity.

Executive Director Beverly Davis will break down the “ations” of the creative process and explore how Inspiration, Iteration and Collaboration lead to Innovation. (That by the way, is our definition of the creative process.) Attendees will get to use their imaginations to craft a Creativity I.D., engage in conversations about their earliest memories of the creative process, and share their ideas around the “ations” of the creative process.  Join us if you’re able.

A printable schedule of events can be found here.


Chinese New Year 2016

Happy Chinese New Year! We’re celebrating by unveiling one of our newest projects, a Chinese dragon-shaped slide. Kids can climb through the dragon’s mouth then slide down his spiral body. The body is covered in scales – which were made by volunteers using plastic plates and paint. Co-founder and board member Devon Davis was the lead designer on this project and we are so thankful for his hard work! Check out a few photos of the Chinese Dragon slide below or come see it in person on our next public Family Day.

Dragon-Head Dragon-Body (1)

 


Creativity: Define It

According to Merriam-Webster.com, the definition of creativity is as follows

: The ability to make new things or think of new ideas.

Our new idea? Redefine creativity and apply it to the SPARK! teaching philosophy. We define creativity as

: A sense of wonder that invites exploration and the discovery of new possibilities.

Sounds a little more exciting, right? We believe creativity is a language to be learned and the best way to instill creativity in children is full, creative immersion. All SPARK! instructors are practicing creative individuals who engage learners by leading them through the creative process. We believe that creativity is an iterative process. Our physical environment and creative programming support this belief by giving children opportunities to explore, fail, refine, and take risks.

If you want to start teaching your kids about the creative process now, don’t miss our February Family Day this Saturday. For the first time ever, you can purchase tickets in advance and add an instructor-led activity to your visit.


Birthday Party Success

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We’ve successfully hosted our first-ever birthday party at SPARK! It included piles of pizza, creamy cake, and exactly 35 friends and family. Under the direction of a SPARK! instructor, kids made bows and arrows from PVC pipe. The birthday boy, nine-year-old Perry, gave us a brief recap.

 

How many times have you been to SPARK!

Two

What was the best part about having your birthday at SPARK!

The jungle gym

How was it different from other birthdays?

It’s bigger and much more fun

Do you think your friends had fun? What was their favorite part? 

Yes. Playing Perrianator (that’s this game where I’m a robot and if I touch them they become a Perrianator too)

How do you feel about the creative activity you did for your party?

It was fun. The bow was hard to use but using the drill was cool.

Do you want to come back to SPARK! again? If so, why?

Yes. To play on all the stuff.

What did you learn about being creative, while at SPARK! 

You can make stuff out of trash

 

Call 214-421-7727 or email events@sparkdallas.org to book your next birthday celebration at SPARK! For more information on pricing and packages, click here.

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Artist Spotlight: Pascale Pryor

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Photo credit: David Halloran

Creative Collaborators Pascale Pryor and James Bauer recently finished a permanent installment at SPARK! So we sat down with Pryor to get a few answers about the magical, mermaid-making process.

Q. What did the creative process for this installment look like?

A. The mannequin was donated from Neiman Marcus. I had two to choose from. I welded each scale, starting at the waist and then went down and built the tail. Then James built a little bracket to screw into the concrete, and hold to the floor. The tail looks a little funky at the end, but it helps stabilize her. So she has more than one point of attachment to the ground. After welding I painted and installed it. I took the mannequin and got her a wig to match color of scales. I used the same paint to match the fabric and scales. I tried to make it as fluid as possible. Then finally just a little bit of makeup.

Q. Were there any unique challenges in making this piece?

A. We talked about doing a mermaid sitting on a rock. Even though I took the mannequin’s legs off, it was more of a standing body than a sitting body. I tried to design a rock that was very minimal but I couldn’t make it look good. So I decided to make her standing up. Another challenge was the amazing amount of scales I welded while trying to keep a fluid movement.

Q. How long did it take you to complete?

A. Way too long. I don’t write down my time. But I know I worked on it for a good month.

Q. What was your inspiration for the mermaid?

A. I’ve been wanting to make a mermaid for awhile and this was the perfect opportunity to propose it to SPARK! I was most interested in making a tail that had movement. Something elegant, yet simple.

Q. What was the most rewarding part about making the mermaid?

A. When I could see the movement that I was looking for and when it started looking like I was following the right line. Because it’s one scale at a time. If you look at the tail it’s not straight and stiff. It has a twist and a curve. If you stick scales together in a row, you’ll get something that looks like an ice cream cone. I’ve seen mermaids look like that before and I think they look too stiff.

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Photo credit: David Halloran

For more information on Pryor, check out her website here.


SPARK! Family Days

At SPARK! we believe in the benefits of families creating things together. We’re hoping you feel the same way. That’s why we’re testing SPARK! Family Days. One Saturday a month through March, SPARK! will be open for families to come explore, play, create and learn with one another. In addition, have fun scaling our 6,000-foot Climb, Crawl, Slide Sculpture and participate in creative activities. Price is $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Call 214-421-7727 to learn more about group pricing.

Sound like fun? Mark your calendars for one of the following dates:

Sunday, November 8 from 1–4pm

Saturday, January 9 from 1–4pm |Sponsored by The M.R. and Evelyn Hudson Foundation

Saturday, February 6 from 1–4pm | Sponsored by Comerica

Saturday, March 5 from 1–4pm | Sponsored by Comerica

Want to know more about Family Day featured activities? Find instructions on how to make a Chihuly-inspired sculpture here.


Halloween Spooktacular Featured Activity – Spooky Jars

With the Halloween Spooktacular only three days away, here’s our third and final featured activity, Spooky Jars. In case you didn’t catch the first two, we’ve shared blogs on Haunted Landscapes and Story Doodling on Trick-or-Treat Bags.

Like the first two activities, this one also helps kids identify as creative individuals. Between the ages of 14–16, researcher Viktor Lowenfeld shows that kids enter The Period of Decision;  the point in which they decide if they are or are not creative individuals. Their natural development of artistic abilities and creative inclinations will stop unless a conscious decision is made to continue and improve. Activities such as Spooky Jars, help kids broaden their understanding of art and learn to be creative across a variety of mediums.

Supplies:

Glass Jar

Battery Operated Tea Light

Paint + Small Sponge Brush

Fine-Tip Sharpie

Instructions:

Using a small sponge brush, coat the inside of an empty glass jar with your favorite color paint. (Stay away from dark colors.) Once dry, decorate the outside with a black, fine-tip Sharpie. Drop in the tea light and place somewhere for others to see!

Final product:

Spooky-Jars (2)


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