Huge and heartfelt thanks to everyone who came to Spark Salon! What a fun and inspiring night full of Girls Rock Lab rockstars, future video game makers, and stimulating conversation with Robyn and Rand. You raised $46,033 in profit (far exceeding our goal of $40,000), ensuring that we are able to make sure cost is not a barrier to people discovering the creativity needed to forge the path to their best future. On behalf of all our patrons and program participants, thank you for making Spokane a place where people can imagine bright futures and have access to the experiences that lead them there.

Take a moment to peruse the beautiful images by Hamilton Studios, our in-kind sponsor, available on our Facebook page. While you're at it, follow the page to stay abreast of new and exciting programs!


About 2018's Event with Robyn & Rand Miller

 

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In 2017 we launched Spark Salon, our annual fundraiser and paddle raise, to much success. It is a chance for us to share our mission with you while enjoying delicious food, wine, live music, and inspiring conversation. Every year, one of our co-founders, New York Times Best-Selling author and Spokanite Jess Walter, sits down with inspiring and innovative guests with Spokane roots in order to raise funds to keep our youth programming, community events, and membership available at no cost.

Our 2018 event brought video game developers Rand and Robyn Miller of Cyan Worlds back to center stage. They sat down with Jess to share the story of creating their first big video game, Myst (which was the single best-selling PC game for a decade) and it’s sequel Riven, as well as their new ventures into Virtual Reality. Guests were presented with the chance to hear how Rand and Robyn forged their path to a creative life, including the trials and joys along the way.

During the night, we also highlighted one of the key areas of our mission: keeping youth programs available at no cost to participants. To do this, every year we share with you some of the awe-inspiring, big-dreaming kids who participate in our programs.  At the 2017 event, one of the Girls Rock Lab bands rocked our ears and hearts and we were excited to invite another band to perform at this coming year’s event, The Unifoxes. Spark Central youth patrons also had a chance to present video games ideas to the video game supergiants! 

This year we added a fun and successful dessert dash to the night, featuring desserts from local sweet-makers. We rely on in-kind donations from businesses and individuals to make the event the best it can be, and donations from local organizations made this a roaring success. If you are interested in donating, please email kate@spark-central.org for more information.

Sponsoring the Salon is a great way to promote your business to a select audience while supporting Spokane's youth as they forge their paths to brighter futures. For more information, download our Sponsorship Packet. Please contact our development coordinator Kate Reed with any questions.  509-688-7240 or kate@spark-central.org. 

 

ABOUT OUR GUESTS

ROBYN MILLER is video game creator, digital artist, musician, writer, and film director. He co-designed Myst, the single best-selling  video game from 1993-2002 through his company with brother Rand, Cyan Worlds. He co-directed and co-lead design to the game's sequel, Riven. After it's release, Robyn left Cyan to work on independent projects and currently runs Zoo Break Production with partner Mishca Jakupcak, an award-winning producer, writer and director. They both live in Seattle. 

RAND MILLER is co-founder of Cyan Worlds, where he remains CEO.  After the success of Myst and Riven, he continued to be a pioneer in the video game industry. In August of 2016, Cyan released the virtual reality adventure game Obduction, where the player finds their character transported to strange alien worlds but with human elements within the settings. The player must explore and solve puzzles to figure out how to return home. He lives in Spokane.

JESS WALTER is the author of eight books. He’s been a #1 New York Times bestseller, finalist for the 2006 National Book Award and the PEN/ USA Literary prize in both fiction and nonfiction, and won the 2005 Edgar Allan Poe Award. His work has been published in 30 languages and his short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Harpers, McSweeney’s, Esquire and more. He is also president of the Spark Central Board of Directors.

Special thanks to our generous sponsors:

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And thanks to the Community Building Foundation for a $2,000 Paddle Raise Match grant!

 

Highlights from 2017's Event with Julia Sweeney & Maria Semple

We're so pleased to share that you raised $28,231, blowing away our goal of $20,000! Thank you for helping close the opportunity gap by removing barriers to the experiences that ignite innovation, imagination, and creativity for everyone. 

Last year, Jess sat down with Spokane-born-and-raised former SNL star and best-selling author Julia Sweeney and Seattle-based TV and novelist Maria Semple as they talked about their creative origins. It was a hilarious insight into the many roads we can take to find our creative power. Take a moment to peruse these photos taken by Hamilton Studios. It looks like everyone is having a good time!

 
 

Special thanks to our generous sponsors from 2017's event: