Interview with Sonya Sparks, Sparks Gallery Owner/Director, San Diego
The Sparks Gallery in the Gaslamp area of San Diego is opening its doors for the month of June for a
|Sonya Sparks, Gallery Owner, and Director|
preview exhibition of works of artist nominees for the San Diego Art Prize. The gallery is owned and operated by Sonya Sparks, a San Diego native with a business background and a passion for helping emerging artists and bringing quality fine art to the San Diego area.The 4500 sq ft gallery is in the mid-stages of renovation and is a work in progress – the building itself is documented on the San Diego Historic Register since 1867 when the lot originally sold for $150.00. Since then, the building has been used as a theater for a variety of performances including vaudeville in the 1920’s and other functions, a hardware store, and a rug and carpet store. Sparks is renovating the space in keeping with the ‘spirit of the original architecture’.
Sparks received her BA degree at the University of San Diego where she majored in business and and minored in art. Her family who is interested in the arts exposed her to the museums of Balboa Park and instilled an appreciation for historic buildings. While at USD, Sparks found a particular affinity to documentary style photography. She commented that studying photography and art was a good counterpoint to studying financial and business coursework. When she left school, Sparks went on to work in the field of online marketing, social media and web development. While living in San Diego , Sparks identified a need to develop the art community and felt she wanted to make a contribution to its growth.
In 2011, she began investigating ideas about building a gallery in the family owned historic building at 530 Sixth Avenue. To bounce some ideas around, Sparks gives credit to former teacher and mentor, Paul Turounet, a photography professor at the University of San Diego. Together, they discussed ways in which a gallery could connect with newly graduated artists, providing a transition from school and place for exhibiting their work. Sparks spoke of her concern about the “disconnect between art creators, collectors, and educators” and her desire to create a gallery that would reach out to local arts organizations, as well as providing a space for performances including puppet shows, poetry and short story readings and dance.
Sparks visualizes the gallery as an open space where the staff is approachable and the work is affordable for new collectors. She also wants the gallery to educate the community about art. The gallery which plans to formally open sometime in late 2013, is accepting artist submissions and hopes to exhibit a combination of painting, sculpture, mixed media, and installation. Sparks says she is looking for work that expresses a message, tells a story and elicits a response.
|Interior Space of Sparks Gallery - Renovations in Progress|
Sparks wants to invite everyone to the opening of ‘New Contemporaries VI’ on Saturday June 8th, 7-10 pm. To RSVP, you can reach Sonya at:
Those wishing to follow the details of the renovation and the gallery’s transformations can do so on Sparks’ facebook page. There is no doubt that the Sparks Gallery will make a tremendous contribution to the San Diego art scene and we look forward to the grand opening later this year.
|Sparks Gallery 'name' added to front window of gallery|