SPARKcon was founded in 2006 by Beth and Aly Khalifa and Designbox to showcase, celebrate and influence the creative momentum of the Triangle region of North Carolina. SPARKcon uses an open-source organizational approach to empower diverse creative thinkers to be inspiring community leaders.
SPARKcon is a program of Visual Art Exchange, a Raleigh non-profit whose mission is to support emerging artists and connect the community to the arts.
SPARKcon’s “creative potluck” of SPARKs or creative themes such as art, music, film, fashion, geek, circus, etc. is put together by passionate individuals who volunteer their expertise and are deeply embedded in a specific local scene. Using a combination of networking and open calls for participants, organizers create diverse and representative events to show off local talent and connect disparate creative scenes. SPARKcon grows every time a new person gets involved with a SPARK category, creating their own event, or joining in to help an existing one. It’s an open-source, “for the people, by the people” approach with an intentionally dynamic focus.
September 2012 will be our seventh annual SPARKcon. We’re still a loose association of volunteers open to any passionate individual or group who wants to get involved. We’re still grass roots—our money comes from our pockets and the pockets of others excited to support local creativity. The ideas and showcases come from inspired people who have the ingenuity to say “What if…?” and the motivation to then help make it happen.
Put lots of creative people together in one room, give them a common mission, and the ideas fly fast and furiously. All told, the four workshops held in September of 2006 filled 60 big pages of flipchart paper. But in the end, some core ideas and common themes emerged as essential for the Triangle to earn the distinction “Creative Hub of the South.”
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