Story of SPARK

The performing arts community, world wide, is one that enriches the lives of those that partake and those that bear witness to the plethora of stories that bring us together and help us understand each other in our expression of human life and experience. In an effort to make more of these connections, a group of artists and educators in the Great Lakes Bay Region – either making their home there currently or having grown up there – have come together to bolster access to performing arts training for high school students from communities of Black, Indigenous and people of color.

In an a la carte style curriculum, our efforts hope to bridge the gap between local students and industry professionals so that each recipient of a Spark Award has the opportunity to expand their knowledge in an artistic expression of their choice. We also strive to provide on-going mentorship in navigating the perils of a working life as an artist – what that may look like, and how to go about acquiring the skills to establish oneself as a leader in the community.

Whether or not a student aspires to become a professional artist, we believe that deepening one’s knowledge and skill of a performing art form will greatly impact how they carry themselves through the world. 

How it Works

  • Students apply to the SPARK Artistic Mentorship Program

  • Scholarship recipients are chosen and notified of their award

  • SPARK students meet virtually with the Advisory Team to discuss their artistic and training goals

  • The Advisory Team matches SPARK students with working professionals for training and mentorship. The SPARK scholarship dollars pay directly for student training.

  • In addition, SPARK students meet 2-3 times throughout the school year with members of the Advisory team for mentorship discussions, creating long-term connections in the industry