By Jessica Bailey
A group of Syracuse University students raised over $886 at a two-day fundraising event to renovate Spark Contemporary Art Space. The fundraiser took place Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct. 20, with the aim of reconstructing the space after years of use. Friday saw over 100 people attend, while Saturday had a smaller turn out of about 40.
Spark was started in 1999 by grad students who were struggling to get their work shown in more mainstream galleries and wanted a space where anyone could be free to show anything. SU students Casey Yorke, Khaelin Damm, Tyler Rhinehart, and Jordy Brazo currently manage the space and inherited it from grad student Matthew Williamson.
“If you’ve ever been in the building it’s a bit of a mess,” Damm says. The sign no longer lights up, the bathroom door is broken, and the walls are covered in the scrawls of the hundreds of piss-stained hands that have passed through over the years. The space is run non-profit which Damm says means: “We barely make enough to pay our rent every month and we barely do that most months.”
The aim of the fundraiser was to help clean up the space so that there can continue to be a place in the community for “a more art-oriented social scene.” Damm says that the biggest obstacles to raising the money that “a lot of people don’t have it.”
Spark has also been a space for musicians to play and the fundraiser saw bands Virgman, Koala, and Gridline Base Band pass through on Friday, and then Steep, Milking Diamonds, and Professional Victims. Boiselle & Fratboy had to drop out of the Saturday line-up as the opener due to lack of equipment. Local artists also donated pieces to be sold at the event.
Spark Contemporary Art Space is located 1005 E Fayette St. The closest Connective Corridor stop is Syracuse Stage.