SPARK! Events


Creativity Confab

SPARK! was pleased to host the 2019 Creativity Confab to ignite discussions about why the development of creativity is important for children and how SPARK! provides that opportunity. Six local expert panelists from various spheres of influence chimed in on the discussion.  Our panelists included:

Charles Eisemann

Sculptor and Long-time Supporter of the Arts in Dallas

Scott Rudes, Ph.D.

Vice President, National Arts Schools Networks

Laree Hulshoff

Philanthropist and Founder of Aging Mind Foundation

John Paul Batiste 

Chairman, Arts and Culture Advisory Commission, City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs

Maya Delgado 

Actress, Singer, Dancer, and Founder of “HeARTS of Maya”

We are grateful to Neiman Marcus for their generous sponsorship of World Creativity and Innovation Week. The community is coming together to ignite the spark of creativity inherent in all children! We invite you to support creativity by bringing your time, talent, and treasure to the children of Dallas. Please click here to get involved and click here to make a donation.

Kevin Hurst Of Neiman Marcus Talks Student Creativity Showcase

SPARK! has partnered with Neiman Marcus and Fossil to host the Student Creativity Showcase for kids in second grade through high school. We spoke with Kevin Hurst, Director of Charitable Giving and Volunteerism at Neiman Marcus, about the importance of creativity and the benefits of participating in the Showcase.

Why is it important for kids to have ways to express their creativity?
Research shows that students who identify as creative tend to graduate at higher rates, score higher on the SAT, become more engaged civic leaders and are more creative problem solvers.  In this day and age, we all face obstacles.  Having the skill set to creatively resolve issues will provide a tremendous advantage for them as they navigate through school and their careers.

How will children benefit from participating in the Student Creativity Showcase?
This is a new and exciting opportunity for students to showcase their interests and creativity with their peers across DFW.  They are being asked to express their interpretation of creativity in a truly artistic fashion.  Normally, “the arts” are limited to one or two genres.  The Showcase has four main categories for them to submit and compete in by age group.  What I like about this is that there is room for collaboration.  One student, for example, may sing a song, another may dance, and a third may combine the singing and dancing to create a music video – imagine how cool that could be!  Of course each category and age group winner will receive an award and bragging rights.  The “Best of Show” winner has the opportunity to have an experience with a professional in their field of interest. Talk about a truly unique hands-on learning experience.  I only wish I had this opportunity at that age.

Why is creativity important at Neiman Marcus?
Among some of the Neiman Marcus core organizational values are to “be memorable”, “be bold” and “be the best.” Without creativity you are limited to the possibilities of providing the ultimate customer experience.

What do you look forward to most about the Student Creativity Showcase?
For me personally, I enjoy the visual and performing arts, so I am anxious to see those submissions.  You never know, the Showcase may discover the next creative genius and superstar. What is great about the timing of the contest is that it concludes during World Creativity and Innovation Week which includes the Creativity Confab at SPARK!  The Confab itself always has an interesting group of panelist and I always learn something new.

Besides being a sponsor, how else is Neiman Marcus involved in the Student Creativity Showcase?
Neiman Marcus has so many talented associates, so we will have key people playing a role in the judging of the submissions.


Student Installations @ SPARK!

Mallory’s Gold Award project at SPARK! is complete! We’re excited to celebrate this Girl Scout’s success. Take a look at what she learned about the creative process on her journey to its completion. For a complete project overview, see this previous blog post.

We’re so grateful for kids like Mallory, who work to make the community a better, more creative place. She is only the first of many students that SPARK! plans to work with on installations in our space. In fact, applications are currently being accepted for the Creative Installation Competition. Details are as follows.

Open to:

  • High School Students
  • College Students
  • General Public

Competition Launch – October 5th – All those interested in competing are invited to visit SPARK! from 4:30-6:30 and will be given a spec sheet on the competition with insights as to what SPARK! is seeking. The opportunity to tour the facility will be a huge asset in designing your submission. Spec sheets will be available at the SPARK! office from October 3, 2016 through October 21st . Unscheduled tours will not be offered, but SPARK! is open to the public every Saturday between 10-4 and you are welcome to use this time to scope out your installation site and brainstorm your project. (Admission fee required.)

For more information on the competition, click here, or contact Community Engagement Manager Lori Carey at lcarey@sparkdallas.org.


Catapulting Success

By Beverly Davis

This summer, more than 2,800 children engaged in the creative process through SPARK! Summer Programming. In the last week of camp, children experienced iteration and collaboration by designing and building a catapult. Working in teams of two or three, campers drew out their designs on paper and brought their vision to life. As the campers were constructing and testing their designs, they iterated to improve the catapult design and increase the launch distance. When they finished their projects, we asked the campers how they utilized the creative process. See the images below for some of their responses!

School is back in session and group reservations are coming in at a rapid pace. A donation of $50 will provide materials and equipment for four children to experience SPARK! creative programming. Show your support with a donation on North Texas Giving Day, September 22. Bookmark this page: northtexasgivingday.org/npo/dallas-spark

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Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep Interns

Three new interns from Cristo Rey Dallas College Preparatory School have joined our team! We’ll be working with these students for the 2016-2017 school year and teaching them the ins and outs of running a non-profit organization. They will help with everything from marketing and events to programming and more. Keep reading to meet Mark, Esperanza and Imanol.

Mark Martinez, 14

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1. Tell me your favorite thing about SPARK! I like the creativity and openness to new ideas. All of the staff are easy to talk to and very welcoming.

2. What are some of your hobbies? One thing I like to do is go to Six Flags, because I seek adrenaline. Video games are another thing I do in my free time. Last but not least, I love to play baseball.

3. Tell me about your family. I live with my mom. I am also close to my sister, grandmother and grandfather. My mom and dad are from America, but their parents are both from Mexico. My great grandfather on my mom’s side is 103-years-old.

4. How are you creative? I am creative because I think outside of the box and solve problems that other people might not have figured out.

5. If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? If I could eat lunch with anyone, it would have to be Picasso. I want to know what he is like and learn to be as creative as him.

Esperanza Torrijos, 15

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1.Tell me your favorite thing about SPARK! My favorite thing about SPARK! has been the playground. Here, kids can be kids. They are able to be creative, have fun, open their minds, explore and make new friends.
2.What are some of your hobbies? My hobbies include dancing and reading. Dancing has always been my passion, specifically jazz and modern. My favorite type of books are mystery and psychology.
3. Tell me about your family. I have two older brothers and one nephew, whom I love dearly.
4. How are you creative? I’m creative by not being a follower. I always take that extra step towards being open minded with myself and others.
5. If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? The band One Direction. Because it would be an awesome experience getting to know them better and having them in the same room as me.
Imanol Rodriguez, 15
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1.Tell me your favorite thing about SPARK! The people here are very nice and they make me feel very welcome.
 
2. What are some of your hobbies? In my free time I like to play soccer with my friends, go to the mall and buy shoes and read books about psychology.
3. Tell me about your family. I have four brothers and one sister. My brothers are all younger than me and my sister is the oldest out of all of us. We all like to play soccer and other sports.
4. How are you creative? I always think of ways to create something new and better.
 
5. If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? One specific person would be my mom because I cherish every moment I get with her.

 


NTGD: Success Story #1

The countdown to North Texas Giving Day begins! We’re sharing one success story a week until September 22 to show the impact of our programming. In this story, one student from Communities in Schools shares how proud she was to see her work on display at SPARK! Every $25 donation goes towards materials to make projects like these possible. PLUS, donations of $25 or more made through the NTGD website are eligible for bonus funds and prizes from Communities Foundation of Texas!

A Successful Second Visit

In April of 2015 we celebrated World Creativity and Innovation Week and invited 24 students from Communities in Schools to experience creative immersion during the first-ever SPARK! field trip. These students practiced recycled art by designing and painting hubcaps to be installed on our wavy bridge. SPARK! opened the week of June 9 and that week, two of these students and one teacher visited SPARK! for a second time. One young lady found the hubcap she painted on her first visit hanging from our bridge and quickly showed-off her creation to her friends. She was so proud to see her hubcap displayed and to know that something she created was valued. She shared her pride and joy with SPARK! Staff, quoting: “It’s really amazing to know that a hubcap can be made into art and that my experience … could be so great.” Take a look at the young lady’s reaction.

After witnessing the uptick in this young lady’s self-definition as creative during her second visit, the Metamorphosis Project idea was sparked!

The exercise of figuring out how to decorate a hubcap will lead to deeper and stronger problem-solving skills as she matures and this boost to her self-esteem will help build her confidence. The perceived risk-taking of exploring the SPARK! environment and exercising her creativity provide positive reinforcement that she’ll apply to her next growth opportunity. Repeat visits to SPARK! will continue to build self-esteem, develop problem-solving skills and produce the types of experiences that lead to more successful academic performance and stronger career possibilities. Stay tuned for next week’s story!

 

 


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.