Spark Contemporary Art Space
Run by Holly Rodricks
Syracuse, New York
Spark Contemporary Art Space is completely volunteer-run. At the moment, we are exclusively a space and do not offer any equipment to our clients, due to budget constraints. We, ourselves, rent the space, so we use the money we make from various events throughout the month to pay our landlord.
I stepped into Spark in the capacity of director several months ago and have been brainstorming with other volunteers to come up with funding ideas. We would love to be able to boast a PA system and media equipment (projectors, DVD players, mini DV tape decks, etc.) to accommodate the artists and musicians we host better, but it is impossible with our current budget. Our plan is to procure outside funding through grants, if possible.
EL: Can you tell me a bit about how you make programming decisions?
HR: In response, we do primarily rent the space for exhibitions, screenings, and performances, and this is how we cover our costs. Typically, in such cases, I am approached by interested parties; after some basic discussion, I am able to determine whether this is an event that can be run independently by the client or will require our assistance. Regardless, we always promote locally and attend and participate in almost all Spark functions. While much of our programming is initiated through outside proposals, we also reserve some time for ourselves. For example, I have run several concerts over the past two months already. Additionally, the last Saturday of every month is Spark Video, a screening featuring local and international work curated by one of our group or someone we choose from the community. We also reserve the space for shows we curate, as well as, for a venue to show our own work.
EL: How do you divide up tasks?
HR: As the director of Spark, I carry full financial and administrative responsibility. I also handle a major part of building maintenance. I am currently being assisted by 7 volunteers in smaller capacities. One individual assists me in maintaining the space and completing major repairs. Two others are working on grant proposals. Yet another has agreed to work on graphic design-related projects. Everyone lends a hand in some way, and the contributions of an invested group of people are truly what makes this endeavor possible.