ASU Associate Professor of Music Education Evan Tobias believes there’s music in everyone.
So, he proposed a project for Spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity based on that theory. Tobias created multiple areas and diverse music-making opportunities to appeal to youth, teens and adults.
“It’s designed to engage people of all ages,” Tobias says. “There are some activities for the very young and families. At night, there’s the hip-hop group Shining Soul. They are very well known for their performances, but they’re also going to show you how to create beats.”
Since its inception, Spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity has offered an immersive and participatory environment to celebrate the work of creative people. Set for noon to 10 p.m. Friday, March 17, and Saturday, March 18, Spark! is purposely held during Spring Break and Spring Training.
“The original concept was we wanted a place for people of any age and any creative ability to come and feel they could express themselves creatively,” says Cindy Ornstein, Mesa Arts Center’s executive director.
“Because it is purposely scheduled to be during Spring Break for most of the schools, people come from across the Valley. Plus, it’s something free to do during Spring Break.”
Even though Spark! is OK for kids, it’s safe to leave them with the sitter at night.
“It’s family friendly, but in the evening, it’s a little more adult, in terms of offering swing dancing on one night, and Latin dancing on another with a dance band,” Ornstein says.
“All of the hands-on activities continue into the evening, but they change a little. It doesn’t mean it’ll be inappropriate, but there’s a little more of a nighttime club scene environment.”
Admission to the event is free, but for $5 to $10, guests can try their hand at studio art classes. The one-hour workshops are led by Mesa Arts Center teaching artists. Workshops include flameworked beads, nature’s design drawing demo, watercolor, scientific glassblowing, improv, ink and watercolor botanical drawing, enameling on metal and acrylics.
Spark! is a truly local experience, says Ornstein, who formerly ran the Flint Cultural Center Corp. in Flint, Michigan.
“Because we have so much talent here, we decided that it would be really wonderful to focus on Arizona artists and give some Arizona artists the resources to do something big.”
Spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity, Mesa Arts Center, One E. Main Street, Mesa, 480.644.6500, mesaartscenter.com/spark, noon to 10 p.m. Friday, March 17, and Saturday, March 18, free.