The national SPARK mentoring program gives young artists the chance to get their creativity crackling.
Twenty-one-year-old Matthew Lutton got his creative SPARK to stage a production of his work ‘The Gathering’ at last year’s Artrage festival.
Working with his mentor, festival director Marcus Canning, gave him the breakthrough to take the work with his independent company Thin Ice to the next level.
‘SPARK was great in putting me in contact with Marcus and bring my show to reality – allowing the development of an enormous technical show that couldn’t have been mounted except through the festival. The program also brought me into contact with other young emerging artists and realise the value of collaborations across the country.’
Megan Samardin, a Brisbane local who is presenting a theatre production exploring her Aboriginal/Russian heritage, and Imara Savage, a Sydney-based community dancer who has studied in Brazil, tell similar stories of the value of the SPARK program.
SPARK assists 18–26 year olds to break onto the national arts scene, providing support, training, advice and funding for outstanding young and emerging dancers, theatre makers and visual artists.
Each young artist chooses their mentor, and develops a professional partnership to expand their networks, develop their skills and raise their profile.
SPARK program manager Bella Sipthorp said that the mentoring allows young and emerging artists to take risks and build careers.
‘SPARK enables artists to make bold choices and take on greater career challenges with the support of a mentor. The program can really accelerate a young artists’ career development, by exposing them to broad industry networks and giving a national profile to their work,’ she said.
SPARK is the Australia Council for the Arts’ national young and emerging artists’ mentoring program, and is managed and the mentorships facilitated by Youth Arts Queensland.
Applications for the SPARK 2006 program are now open to young and emerging dancers, theatre makers and visual artists, and close by the 6 May.