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
PRESIDENT, DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE CO-CHAIR
Born and raised in Detroit, MI, Sandra began her professional life as a registered nurse where she developed mad organizational skills. After moving to Spokane in 1992, raising two daughters and serving on the Boards of the Spokane Symphony and the Fox Theater, she "drank the Kool-aid" to become a fundraiser (it's a thing!), first for the Spokane Public Library and now for KSPS Public Television. She is a dedicated Spokane booster and delighted to participate at Spark Central.
PAST President, CO-SECRETARY
Jessica Wade is a senior account director 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.
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.
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.
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.
Despite being a lawyer, Rick Eichstaedt loves art, literature, and the creative side of life. When Rick isn’t chasing his two children, he's working for justice as a lawyer and acting as adjunct professor of law at Gonzaga University. Rick is also a resident and proud cheerleader for the West Central neighborhood.
Recently retired from a tremendously rewarding career as a teacher/administrator in public education, Mike is really excited about his next chapter in life, which will include extensive involvement with projects that bring together and support all people of Spokane.
Salon Committee Chair
Michelle is the President of Starry Financial Group and has lived in Spokane her whole life, raising 2 amazing children, Michael and Margaret, who are also active in arts and literature. She is passionate about the arts in public education and local sustainability, and has been driven by community outreach from her teenage years. Michelle is a past member of multiple development committees in Spokane, including the board of the YWCA, Spokane Children’s Theatre, and St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute. When Michelle isn’t focusing on her participation in community oriented programs for Spokane, you can find her with her husband, Dave, her dog, and two crazy kittens. An admirer of Spark since its inception, Michelle is thrilled to be joining its board.
PAST BOARD MEMBERS TO WHOM we are grateful:
VINCENT ALFONSO (2015-2019)
STEPHANIE DELAROSA (2015-2019)
JESS WALTER (Co-FOUNDER, 2014-2018)
ERIC WOODARD (2015-2018)
Rebecca Chadwell (2014-2017)
PAMELA MOGEN (2015-2016)
Joy Peltier (2015-2016)
DEBRA PARK (2015-2016)
Our advisory board is made of dynamic community leaders, West Central residents, and Spark Central volunteers who share their wisdom and advise us on our practices. We are so grateful to the insight offered to us by these individuals:
Nance Van Winckel
OUR STATION STAFF
Executive Director · CHIEF ENGINEER
Brooke Matson is a poet, book artist, and educator. She attended Gonzaga University where she received 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 was awarded the Spokane Arts Award for Collaboration in 2016.
DEVELOPMENT director · COAL-SHOVELER
STATION MANAGER · STATIONMASTER
Wilson is a Spokane native with passions for learning, creative problem-solving and chicken. He discovered Spark Central as a volunteer after returning to Spokane from a seven-year stint in Seattle, where he graduated from the University of Washington and worked in the field of political research. Wilson is a long-time enthusiast for roleplaying and strategic games, doodling and fiction-writing. He is energized and propelled by helping and learning about the needs and interests of others.
PROGRAM MANAGER · TRAIN CONDUCTOR
Melissa is a Houston, Texas native who found herself in Spokane five years ago thanks to EWU’s creative writing MFA program. She is an emotional sponge and problem-solver who loves to read, write, and explore, and when in doubt says YES to new experiences. Melissa seeks to give others support, warmth, and respect in everything she does, and is as passionate about helping learners of all ages gain skills as she is about learning and doing new things herself.
WEST CENTRAL PUBLISHING UNION
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 Penelope Bucket has been an editor for nearly 77 years, is a Virgo, and loves water chestnuts. She highly recommends time travel, particularly the Cretaceous 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.