The biggest editor in town resides at a storefront in Kendall Yards: Sir Hamish Snozzelwit III - aka “Snoz” - a parsnips-loving hippopotamus who promises to sit on anyone who doesn’t know how to properly place a comma.
Welcome to the imaginary and totally creative world of Spark Central!
For the last five years, Spark Central has succeeded in breaking down barriers to creativity for anyone interested in drawing, painting, computer coding, playing music, building Legos or building a fort out of blankets and cushions.
“We use the word creativity in the broadest sense,” says Wilson Faust, program manager.
When COVID-19 hit and shut down classrooms and after school programs, the non-profit really had to flex its creative muscle. Volunteer instructors like The Spokesman-Review’s Shawn Vestal quickly moved online to a live Facebook feed called “Creativity in Captivity,” which is meant to help people stay creative while they are isolated. Other popular classes also moved online.
Spark Central works closely with nearby schools.
Together with students at nearby Holmes Elementary School, Spark Central’s West Central Publishing Union publishes the West Central Express, a small newspaper written by students for their neighborhood and school.
“West Central is our primary focus and we love our neighborhood,” says Nicole Adamson-Wood, Spark’s development director. Children from low-income families often start school with a big learning deficit because cost prohibits them from participating in creative programs like art or music. “That’s one of the reasons why we work very hard to keep our youth programs free.”
Volunteer writers, musicians and visual artists help keep the programs going. Spark also accepts donations and grants, and it charges a small fee for some adult programs to help keep the youth programs free.
Spark Central hosts some very popular summer camps - including Girls Rock, a musical program for girls who form a band and record a CD - but summer plans are put on hold for now.
And Snoz? He’s taking some needed time off, snacking on parsnip chips and reading up on works of classic American literature so he can be ready to edit the next edition of the West Central Express.