OUR HISTORY

Before Spark Central, there were two organizations:  Spark Center and INK Art Space. The seeds of the original Spark Center were planted in Summer 2014 when local community leaders Jim and Joe Frank of Greenstone Homes, Ben Stuckart of Spokane City Council, Vinny Alfonso of Gonzaga University's School of Education, and Debra Park, a Kendall Yards resident, gathered to talk about library and education needs in the West Central Community. Greenstone Homes and Greenstone Foundation made a commitment to move forward with plans to create a “library of the future” for West Central community and beyond.

On the other side of town, INK Art Space, a youth arts education program founded by Spokane novelist Jess Walter and artist/developer Dan Spalding in 2014, was growing thanks to the leadership of Mischa Jakupcak, an award winning writer, director and film producer.

Spark Center and INK Art Space collaborated closely for a year, and by July 2016, these two mighty organizations merged to form Spark Central, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a focus on igniting the creativity, innovation, and imagination necessary for people to forge the path to their best future.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Kate Lebo

President, DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE CO-cHAIR

Kate is a writer, teacher, and baker raised and educated on the wet half of Washington State. Now a proud resident of Spokane, she’s the author of the cookbook Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour, and Butter, and her writing has appeared in Best American Essays 2015 and Best New Poets. She comes with a long history of arts organizing, including half a decade working for Richard Hugo House, Seattle’s literary arts center.

Jess Walter

PAST PRESIDENT (yes, it's an office)

Jess Walter is the author of eight books, most recently the #1 bestselling novel Beautiful Ruins. A former National Book Award finalist and winner of the Edgar Award, Jess lives in North Spokane with his wife and his three children.

Jim Frank

Treasurer, DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE CO-CHAIR

Jim was born and raised in Spokane.  Graduated form Gonzaga University with a degree in Chemical Engineering and later a Juris Doctorate degree.  Practiced environmental and natural resource law for 10 years and then founded Greenstone Corporation in 1983.  CEO of Greenstone Corporation a regional real estate and development company.

JESSICA WADE

Vice-President, Program Committee Chair

Jessica Wade is a senior account executive at DH, a PR, advertising and branding firm. She is an English nerd who loves writing (and editing even more). She also paints watercolors (expressionist, colorful, animal subject matter). She loves nature walks, her office plants, opera, and good conversation with friends.

Rick Eichstaedt

Despite being a lawyer, Rick Eichstaedt loves art, literature, and the creative side of life. When Rick isn’t chasing his two children, he directed the non-profit law firm, the Center for Justice, is an adjunct professor of law at Gonzaga, and serves on the Spokane Art Commission. Rick is also a resident and proud cheerleader for the West Central neighborhood.

VInny.png

Vincent Alfonso

Vincent C. Alfonso, PhD, is former Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Fordham University, New York City. He is now the Dean of the School of Education at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

ERIC WOODARD

Secretary

Eric has taught at Lewis and Clark High School for 24 years. He is
married to his high school sweetheart, and he has two teenage
daughters.

JAMES KASHORK

James Kashork brings over 20 years’ experience in founding, leading, and growing non-profit organizations. He founded Spokane Urban Ministries, a faith-based, 501(c)3 non-profit affordable housing development corporation. Whether it’s through program development or creating spaces that meet the needs of the community James believes strongly in creating opportunity for others.

 

STEPHANIE DELAROSA

Stephanie Delarosa is the head of the Greenstone Foundation.


OUR STATION STAFF

Brooke Matson

Executive Director // CHIEF ENGINEER

Brooke Matson is a poet and educator. She attended Gonzaga University where she received her B.A. in English and her M.A. in Educational Leadership. A National Board Certified Teacher, Matson taught for seven wonderful years at Mead Alternative High School, and has presented workshops to K-12 teachers in Washington and Idaho on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and integrating human rights concepts into curriculum. She is a 2016 Artist Trust GAP recipient and was awarded the Spokane Arts Award for Collaboration in 2016.

KATE REED

DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR // COAL-SHOVELER

Kate Reed is a jane-of-all-trades who loves to do everything and meet everyone all the time. Her interests are often intense and fleeting, but there are some constants: writing, reading, testing her cartwheeling skills, jumping on as many bandwagons as she can manage. In addition to working at Spark, she hangs out with her husband and son, teaches at Whitworth University, and is the fiction editor at Rock & Sling

ERIKA Prins SIMONDS

PROGRAM COORDINATOR // CONDUCTOR

Erika Prins Simonds is a career multipotentialite who plays ultimate frisbee, reads the news and draws weird creatures for fun. She moved to Spokane to attend Whitworth University. More than a decade later, she still can't bring herself to leave. She lives in downtown Spokane with her husband and two cats. 

TAYLOR WEECH

VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR // STATIONMASTER

Taylor Weech is a born-and-raised Spokanite who lives to bring people together, especially at the intersections of art and activism. She edits the quarterly zine Love & Outrage, writes poems, and rabble-rouses with the Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane.  


PROGRAM COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Sharma-Shields.png

SHARMA SHIELDS

SCABLANDS LIT

Sharma Shields is the author of Favorite Monster: Stories and The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac: a novel. She grew up in Spokane and recently received the Spokane Arts Imagination Award. Her passions include public libraries, women in literature, and monsters from mythology & fairy tales. She lives on the South Hill with her husband, writer and artist Simeon Mills, and their two young children.

Ellen-Welker.png

ELLEN WELCKER

SCABLANDS LIT

Ellen Welcker is a poet whose book,The Botanical Garden, won the Astrophil Poetry Prize in 2010. She works for the Bagley Wright Lecture Series on Poetry, and together with the writer Sharma Shields, is building Scablands Lit, an organization that supports writers in the Inland Northwest. She lives with her husband and two kids in Spokane.

IMG_1792.png

Liz Rognes

Girls Rock Lab mastermind

Liz is a writer, musician, and teacher. She teaches writing in the English department at Eastern Washington University and has worked in the past as a music teacher and a curriculum writer for youth music camps. Her writing has been featured in various publications, and she has released two music albums. She loves to sing, and she lives in Spokane with her partner and their son. She is proud to be one of the founders of Girls Rock Lab!

brittan-Hart.png

BRITTAN HART

RIVERSIDE STORYBOOK

Britt is the main creator and organizer of RiverSide StoryBook, an art journal for teens. Her own creative work includes photography, writing, and the occasional impulsive painting or poem. She is currently a sophomore at her own school, which is not public. Britt loves Spokane, Indaba coffee, and classic literature.


WEST CENTRAL PUBLISHING UNION

Snoz

Snoz

Assistant to the Editor

Sir Hamish Snozzelwit III, affectionately known as Snoz, is a hippopotamus amphibius with a proud weight of 3,000 pounds. He prefers swamp lettuce to the iceberg kind, and admits a partiality to parsnips. Having written twenty-two essays on the subject of the Oxford comma, Snoz will sit on anyone who forgets to put it in its proper place.

Editor Bucket

Penelope Bucket

Magnanimous EDITOR

Editor Penelope Bucket has been an editor for nearly 77 years, is a Virgo, and loves water chestnuts. She highly recommends time travel, particularly the Cretacious Period. She prides herself on having good taste in imaginative stories, and wishes everyone to know that Snoz owes her a new desk for chewing away the left corner of hers--an aggressive habit that simply MUST stop.