Creative Collaborators

door mural Front Door MuralThis piece was conceived and painted by Rolando Diaz, a Dallas-based and internationally lauded artist, to capture the idea that children metamorphose through exercising their creativity. The theme of butterflies and metamorphosis is used throughout SPARK! to ignite the spark of creativity inherent in all children.


Butterfly DoorsEnvisioned and designed by Pascale Pryor and brought to life by James Bauer and Byron Zarrabi, these  beautifully fabricated metal doors reinforce the theme of metamorphosis. The creative process on these  doors began with Pascale’s concept and a small paper mock-up. Byron and James then  used the mock- up to craft the doors that hang in SPARK! today!
Gallery MuralThe gallery floor is teeming with the abundance and diversity of life found on the ocean floor. This 3,000 square foot mural, planned and painted by Rolando Diaz, seeks to amaze children with its scale and vibrancy, while it brings to mind the sheer volume of possibilities and opportunities ahead of them.


Soda Can ButterfliesThe soda can butterflies atop the columns represent the drive and determination of our volunteers. Thousands of volunteers, from children to SMU faculty and  students, have helped to create the tens of thousands of butterflies which adorn the columns of  the SPARK! gallery.
ShipwreckConnecting the gallery level to the studio level’s Climb, Crawl, Slide sculpture is a wonderfully imposing shipwreck designed by James Bauer, Pascale Pryor, and Byron Zarrabi. Committed to an authentic feel, Pascale welded over 1,400 faux rivets to the sides of the ship. Their masterful metalwork combines with the whimsy of gauge clusters, levers, and a helm to add to the nautical atmosphere of the gallery level while providing a seamless transition into the studio level.

Wings Designed and created by James Bauer and Pascale Pryor, the metallic and airbrushed wings above our stage represent the act of transformation in the gallery.  They serve as a photo opportunity for children to see themselves as a bird, dragon, bug or butterfly in flight. The wings were originally created for the 2014 State Fair of Texas and blended with SPARK! theming so well that after the Fair, Pascale knew they would be perfect for SPARK!
Icicle-Task-Force IciclesThe gallery ceiling  is dotted with icicles to accent the cool colors of Rolando’s mural and to stand in contrast to the warm tones of Raymond’s mosaic. The icicles were developed by the Icicle Task Force, which consisted of: Devon Davis, Rolando Diaz, Any Dueck, Phil Dueck and Cody Owen. The final icicles were produced by a concerted effort of Devon, Cody and Rolando.

MermaidThis mermaid, created by Pascale Pryor and James Bauer, looks up at the Shipwreck and sits at the base of our gallery stairs. Vexing the captain of “Seas the Moment” the mermaid caused the untimely wreck, in spite of the lighthouse warning.  Using a donated mannequin from Neiman Marcus, Pascale spent more than a month welding the scales together for her tail. Read a Q&A with the artist on our blog.
Kensie---Lion-Swing Lion Head Door Knocker SwingSuggested in Rolando’s earliest concept drawings, the ridiculously over-sized lion head door knocker was created by Byron Zarrabi, James Bauer and


Percussion AreaStep back in time to a 1950’s store front.  Two recording booths anchor the percussion area beneath a canopy of red lattice work.  The percussion installation includes drums, strikers, shakers and symbols from around the world.  Step up and discover your inner musician.  Often used for programming purposes, the percussion area was designed by Jamal Mohamed. Mohamed is the Director of the Meadows World Music Ensemble, and a percussion instructor and dance musician at SMU.
Car WashLynn Raines repurposed a 1985 Jaguar and added elements such as a giant rotating bristle brush, license plates, a stop light and blower to make this car wash installation come to life. Don’t forget to look inside at the toy engine! You’ll find a mass of mini figurines, including minions.

Suspended Flight21-year-old Trevor Donaldson was one of the Creative Installation Competition winners. He recycled plane parts into a beautiful swing. Read more about Trevor’s project on our blog.
Space TunnelMallory earned her Gold Award for Girl Scouts for this interactive, space-themed tunnel at SPARK! She was inspired by her Aunt, who works for NASA. Read more about her project on our blog.

Climb, Crawl, Slide Structure

Envisioned and overseen by President & CEO Beverly Davis, the Climb, Crawl, Slide Structure is certainly the shiniest jewel in the impressive SPARK! crown. When considering how to best utilize the space with a balance between studios and free-form play areas, Beverly decided to elevate the CCS above the studios, essentially doubling the valuable floor space. Inspired by The City Museum of St. Louis, Beverly insisted on multiple points of access to as many features of the CCS as possible to encourage exploration.  Spiraling “Slinky” climbs, stairs and slides around the historic columns tie the space itself into the CCS.

Fred Peña of Booziotis and Company Architects took Beverly’s ideas and breathed architectural life into them. Incorporating donated and repurposed materials into his designs, Fred produced exceptional plans that captured Beverly’s vision. Fred’s work was sent to Scott Armstrong, a partner and structural engineer with Armstrong-Douglass. Scott crafted structural plans that exceeded the City of Dallas’ requirements, ensuring the safety of kids who visit SPARK!