Sparc’s 35th Anniversary


The 35th Celebration was held at SPARC’s historic home since 1977 – the Old Venice Police Station | 685 N. Venice Blvd. Venice, CA 90291

Highlights: The Siqueiros Award to muralist Francisco Letelier, The Judy Baca Social Justice Award to community leader Maria Elena Durazo on behalf of the workers of Los Angeles and The SPARC Founders’ Award to key SPARC supporter Antonia Hernandez and the California Community Foundation.” In honor of Mary and Armando Durón, official renaming of our gallery to “The Durón Gallery.” A retrospective exhibition, food/drink marketplace, Mobile Mural Lab, and live music by jazz & blues legend Barbara Morrison, dancing music curated by KCRW DJ Tom Schnabel, KPFK’s Global Village host Betto Arcos and dublab’s Carlos Nino.

The Siqueiros Award was given to muralist Francisco Letelier; as a Chilean exile he arrived to Los Angeles in 1985 carrying parts of a national culture that had been silenced by a military dictatorship. Letelier creates art that crosses disciplines and cultures while building connections between nations and individuals. Known for his words and his images, Letelier’s perceptive writing and spoken word unite with his legacy of creating powerful visual art. Based in Venice, the artist has created murals, public artworks and private commissions throughout the United States and Latin America as well as in Europe and India.

The SPARC Founders’ Award was given to key supporter of SPARC’s work and awarded to Antonia Hernández, President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Community Foundation (CCF). Hernández is nationally recognized for a career spanning three decades in social action and the nonprofit sector, expertise in philanthropy and a lifelong devotion to underserved communities. Established in 1915, CCF is one of the largest and most active philanthropic organizations in Southern California, with assets of more than $1 billion. In partnership with its more than 1,200 individual, family and corporate donors, the foundation supports nonprofit organizations and public institutions with funds for health and human services, affordable housing, early childhood education, community arts and culture and other areas of need.

The Judy Baca Social Justice Award was given to a key community leader and awarded to Maria Elena Durazo on behalf of the workers of Los Angeles. Maria Elena Durazo is widely regarded as one of the most powerful and savvy union organizers in the United States. On May 15, 2006 she was elected to serve as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, an organization, which represents more than 800,000 workers through more than 300 separate unions. SPARC recently produced a digital mural “Gente del Maiz” for the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex named after her late husband.

SPARC was founded in 1976 by renowned muralist and Distinguished UCLA Professor Judith F. Baca, filmmaker/director Donna Deitch, and artist/teacher Christina Schlesinger. Since 1993 Debra J.T. Padilla has served as Executive Director. SPARC has been a catalyst for social change through the arts and a home for artistic innovation – creating public art as a vehicle to promote civic dialogue, foster cross-cultural understanding and address critical social issues. SPARC engaged 400 at risk youth in painting a ½-mile long mural (The Great Wall of Los Angeles) on the concrete wall of the Los Angeles flood control channel — a scar where the river once ran, built parks in debris filled land, hung photographic tapestries in senior centers, built sculptures for children to play on in vacant lots and produced hundreds of the most iconic murals of Los Angeles. Today SPARC has contemporized the historic mural processes through the incorporation of technology in the UCLA@SPARC Digital/Mural Lab.

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