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Sparkplug
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SPARKPLUG

In meeting with artists while selecting exhibitions for the gallery, DCAC’s Visual Arts Committee found that many artists were working in a vacuum. The camaraderie, friendly criticism, and community they experienced in art school were no longer available. We decided to try to create a structure in which artists could work as a collective and perhaps regain, or even experience for the first time, a support network that would stimulate their work and give them access to artists of like minds.

In 2007, Sparkplug was launched as DCAC’s artists collective.

Every two years, participants are sought from all communities in the Washington, DC area to bring together artists from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences in order to foster their development as individuals and as a group. About 10 members participate for 2 years, meeting on a monthly basis to critique each other’s work, discuss exhibitions around the area, and visit each other’s studios. Through this process they try to find common ground and further their practice.

DC Arts Center offers members of Sparkplug a place to meet, helps to organize studio visits, provides opportunities to hone presentation skills, and make connections with arts professionals such as curators, collectors, and established artists. In addition, DCAC organizes two curated Sparkplug exhibitions: one each year.

CURRENT MEMBERS

Héctor Cataño, Eric Celarier, Alexis Gomez, Sarah Jamison, Ashley Ja’nae, Zofie Lang, Kelly Posey, Katie Pumphrey, Renée Regan, Julie Wills

View Current Member Bios

SPARKPLUG MEMBERS

Sparkplug Prototype; 2007: Djakarta Jacobs, Ian Jehle, Jennifer Foley, Lea-Ann Bigelow, Karen Joan Topping, and Laurel Hausler

Sparkplug 2007-2010: Blair Murphy, Deborah Anzinger, Karen Joan Topping, Kathryn McDonnell, Peter Gordon, Michael Matason, Lisa McCarty, Jenny Walton, Lea-Ann Bigelow, and Mark Planisek

Sparkplug 2010-2012: Chajana denHarder, Chandi Kelley, Dafna Sternberg, Matt Smith, Todd Gardner, Joseph Hale, and Blair Murphy

Sparkplug 2012-2014: Amy Hughes Braden, Lee Gainer, Piper Grosswendt, Michelle Lisa Herman, Rebecca Kallem, Corwin Levi, Rachel Schmidt, and Stephanie Williams

Sparkplug 2015-2016: Casey Snyder, Brendan Smith, Jerry Truong, Michael Booker, Megan Maher, DeLesslin George-Warren, Fabiola Alvarez Yurcisin, David Ibata, and Jerome Skiscim.

Sparkplug 2017-2018: Héctor Cataño, Eric Celarier, Alexis Gomez, Sarah Jamison, Ashley Ja’nae, Zofie Lang, Kelly Posey, Katie Pumphrey, Renée Regan, Julie Wills

SPARKPLUG EXHIBITIONS

2007: Chamber Play; artDC International Art Fair in Washington, DC from April 27 to May 30. Curated by Lea-Ann Bigelow.

2008: DCAC’s Sparkplug; Exhibition at DC Arts Center from May 2 -11 with Artists’ Talk on May 10. Curated by Lea-Ann Bigelow.

2008: E32. Participation in slide presentation at 5C Cultural Center in New York City on September 16.

2009: Sparkplug: NEW WORK; Exhibition at Arlington Arts Center, Jenkins Community Gallery, Arlington, VA, from June 19 to August 22 with Artists’ Talk on July 22. Curated by Lea-Ann Bigelow and Blair Murphy.

2009: Findings; Exhibition at DC Arts Center from October 16 to November 15 with Artists’ Talk on November 8. Curated by Lea-Ann Bigelow and Blair Murphy.

2010: Facts and Fictions; Exhibition at DC Arts Center from June 18 to July 19 with Artists’ Talk on July 11. Curated by Blair Murphy.

2011: Something Other Than The Present; Exhibition at DC Arts Center from June 17 to July 17 with Artists’ Talk on July 16. Curated by Blair Murphy.

2012: Loose Ends; Exhibition at DC Arts Center from June 15 to July 15 with Artists’ Talk July 15. Curated by Deborah Anzinger.

2013: External Memory; Exhibition at DC Arts Center from June 7 to July 14 Artists’ Talk July 14. Curated by Chandi Kelley.

2014: (inter)Related; Exhibition at DC Arts Center from June 6 to July 13 with Artists’ Talk July 13. Curated by Allison Nance.

2015: Dis/Satisfaction: Permission to rewrite history, it’s personal; Exhibition at DC Arts Center from February 13th to March 15 with Artists’ Talk on March 15th. Curated by Kathryn McDonnell.

2016: Power (I Know It When…); Exhibition at DC Arts Center from October 21 to December 4 with Artists’ Talk on November 17. Curated by Lea-Ann Bigelow.

2017: Process & Practice; Exhibition at DC Arts Center from February 17 – March 19 with Artist’ Talk on March 12. Curated by Andrew Johnson.

SUBMIT

In 2007 Sparkplug was launched as DCAC’s artists collective. Participants are sought from all communities in the Washington, DC area with the goal of bringing together artists and curators from wide range of backgrounds and experiences and are given an environment in which to foster their development as a group. Each year we feature an exhibition of the entire Sparkplug group.

Around 10 members participate for 2 years, meeting on a monthly basis to critique each other’s work, discuss exhibitions around the area, visit each other’s studios, and meet with arts professionals such as curators, collectors and established artists. Through this process they try to find common ground in their practice and work despite the diversity of their styles, mediums, background and education.

Sparkplug is not currently accepting applications for new members.

HOW DOES SPARKPLUG WORK

DCAC

  • Provides an advisor who will coordinate monthly meetings and facilitate the planning process for Sparkplug exhibitions and events;
  • Provides administrative support to Sparkplug—maintaining a roster of collective members, scheduling activities, developing and maintaining Sparkplug’s presence on the DCAC website and in the newsletter;
  • Provides opportunities for artists to publically present their work and helps artists hone their presentation skills;
  • Organizes a “Blitz Crit” event for Sparkplug members, bringing together a group of local curators for an evening of critiques;
  • Makes the gallery or theater available for monthly discussions and critiques;
  • Works with Sparkplug artists to identify essential outside expertise (legal, technical, curatorial, etc.) and brings knowledgeable professionals to share information at meetings;
  • Provides a section of the website for information about Sparkplug members and their work, including links to members’ websites and a section about alumni members;
  • Hosts two group shows of Sparkplug artists at DCAC and finds curators to work with the artists for those exhibitions.
ARTISTS

  • Meet monthly to discuss their own and others’ work, plan exhibitions, and discuss topics related to professional practice;
  • Identify training and resources that will assist in their artistic development;
  • Maintain DCAC membership at the $60 membership level or above while in Sparkplug (membership includes 20% off all DCAC tickets and events; 15% off first five purchases at Utrecht Art Supplies; bimonthly calendar of events; FREE 2’x2′ square at 1460 Wall Mountables; invitations to member meetings and events);
  • Create new works during their two-year membership in Sparkplug;
  • Provide work for Sparkplug shows and related projects as requested;
  • Abide by the exhibition contracts for Sparkplug shows at DCAC;
  • Represent Sparkplug at DCAC events;
  • List their participation in Sparkplug in their professional materials (bio, website, blog, etc.) and provide a link to DCAC’s website, www.dcartscenter.org, on their own websites.