SPARC makes us happy

Published 10:25 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2018

An organization founded to promote art and use art to engage and enhance the community and economy of Suffolk is off and running, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

Founded just last year by downtown restauranteur Ed Beardsley, SPARC — which stands for Suffolk’s Prime Arts, Retail and Culinary — has grown and already is in the process of transforming the community. It includes working artist studios, an artisan’s gallery and community-based projects like public artwork, art education and outreach.

Inaugural projects have included Second Saturdays, which invites hundreds of people downtown on the second Saturday of each month for things like visiting the open studios, purchasing original artwork by local artists and craftspeople, art activities for children and more.

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There are studios, workshop space and gallery space at four North Main Street locations, all in the 100 block.

Original public murals are also in the works, as are art workshops and art collaborations between professional artists and the public. The organization also hopes to see downtown Suffolk named as an official arts district.

In important recent developments, the organization has received its official nonprofit status and welcomed a board of directors, an advisory board, an executive director and a manager for the SPARC Shoppe, located at 126 N. Main St.

These moves will bring continuity, help hone the mission and vision of the organization and focus the actions that feed the mission and vision. We are pleased to see SPARC growing and taking the right steps to become successful in its goals.