By Beverly Davis
At SPARK! we teach the creative process. It’s a way of thinking. A problem-solving methodology. We define the creative process as “Inspiration with iteration and collaboration leads to innovation.” We refer to these as our “Ations” of creativity and teach them to the kids.
This way of thinking sharply contrasts with most public-school curriculum. Too many schools are teaching children to memorize facts. Too few are teaching them how to think. SPARK! gives children the opportunity to try, miss the mark, try again and continue on this process until they are satisfied with their creation.
There is a giant swing at SPARK! that resembles a lion head-shaped door knocker. We use this installation to illustrate the creative process. On his travels through Europe, artist Rolando Diaz was inspired (Inspiration) by the very large lion head door knockers he saw on castles throughout the country. When we decided that the alcove in the lower level of SPARK! needed a special installation, Ro recalled his travel memories and sketched his swing concept.
Once the concept was approved, we approached Pascale Pryor, an artist who works in 3D sculptures, and asked her to translate the concept into a 3D piece (Collaboration). Pascale provided a paper machete prototype that brought some of the lion’s facial features into focus. The machete was approved and sent with the drawing to the welding team of Byron Zarabbi and James Bauer (more Collaboration). Byron and James created a small-scale mock-up that really started to capture Ro’s vision. The work was approved and the team installed the full-size lion head at SPARK! It was beautiful.
As we compared the swing to Ro’s original drawing, we thought a little more work could be done to meet the vision of the lion’s wild mane (Iteration). Another small-scale mock-up was created in which gold and copper curls were added. This began a circular process of Collaboration and Iteration as Pascale, Byron and James set about adding hair, painting eyes, sharpening fangs, adding whiskers and even modifying the design of the swing. After a few weeks, everyone stood back and admired the swing (Innovation) as it exists today. A gorgeous work of art resulting from the efforts of a creative team.
Children are often amazed to learn that a team of four, “adult, professionals” went through several rounds of trial and error to get it just the way they wanted it. Kids don’t typically have the opportunity to work on projects through the process of iteration. Our schools don’t allow for iteration or collaboration. SPARK! encourages these important steps to let children focus on the process of learning and thinking with less emphasis on the final product.
-Beverly Davis, CEO