Open to writers, visual artists, and musicians of all kinds, SPARK is a participatory creativity event that takes place four times each year.
I started this project in 2008 to propel myself out of a creative slump and was thrilled to find so many willing and enthusiastic participants. As it turns out, I’m lucky enough to know many talented writers and artists. For some of them, writing or art is their profession. Others tuck creative time into the free spaces of a day—ten minutes here, a half hour there. Many of the SPARK participants didn’t know one another, nor did they ever meet in person, but they all share some common traits: a desire to gain inspiration in a new way, the willingness to try something new, and an openness to receiving the gift their muse delivers.
The project’s rules are simple. Writers send artists a story or poem, and artists send writers an image of their painting, photograph, or sculpture. During the ten-day project period, each person uses their partner’s piece as a jumping off point for new work of their own. People are allowed to respond to their partner’s work in whatever way they wish (although writers are asked to keep their pieces to 1,500 words or less).
The goal is simply to give writers and artists a challenge, a new way of looking at the world and their work, and a chance to inspire another creative soul. Thus, some of the resulting work is considered final by its creator; some is not. Again, the goal was not to create a perfect poem or a salable work of art, so as you view the work please do not judge what you see as such. In fact, I’d ask you to suspend judgment as much as possible and simply look at these groupings to consider how each person’s work influenced their partner’s.