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10924729_10152633112652686_6092065181002474772_n(1)Spark Media Project (formerly Children’s Media Project) provides workshops, programs, and projects that teach critical viewing of media, encourage youth to be creatively engaged in Media Arts, and offer employment and growth opportunities for youth.

Spark has three programs that support its mission: Media Education Programs, Forge Media Apprentice Production House, and Exhibitions. (Learn more about them below!)

Spark Media Project and Mill Street Loft are merging to become a new entity. Spark Media Project was founded as Children’s Media Project in 1994 by former Executive Director Maria Marewski, who lead its efforts until 2008 and defined the organizations role as a cornerstone to the Poughkeepsie arts and culture scene. Nicole Fenichel-Hewitt, her successor, has dedicated her professional career to a diverse range of work in the humanities and arts. Over the past decade at Spark she helped grow the organization to include programs such as Forge Media, Spark’s apprentice production house; and the Reel Expressions International Youth Film Festival. Its name was changed to Spark Media Project as a way to promote inclusivity of youth of all ages. Nicole will head both organizations until the merger is finalized. She will then continue to serve as executive director of the new merged entity. With combined missions of fostering self-expression and personal development through the arts, the merging of these two organizations is a natural fit. This would not have been possible without support from the Dyson Foundation and New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON).

Current Offerings:

Media Education Programs at Spark encompass workshops that explore media analysis and the creation of media, using best practices in arts education and national standards for assessment. Spark programming teaches technical, artistic and workplace skills to young people; as well as life skills such as confidence, decision making, leadership, and positive risk taking.

The Forge Media Apprentice Production House is the branch of Spark that creates high quality, professional media productions. The Forge Media Production House focuses on producing media that can artistically compete with mainstream media. Production House also gives students that excel in Media Education programs the opportunity to work with professional film artists.

Spark Exhibitions are focused on the presentation and celebration of diverse, independent youth media art. Our Exhibitions encompass all of our goals: to encourage youth creativity, to invigorate our local community through the arts, and to showcase the incredible work done by this next generation of media-makers.

Our approach is grounded in the creative process, teaching an awareness of, and an opportunity to practice, what it is to imagine something, strategize steps to accomplish it, and then produce it. Our methods are grounded in mentor-ship that emphasize feedback, self-reflection, and independence.

Our organization strives to maintain a stimulating and nurturing environment through finding balance between valuing both process and product.

Becoming Spark Media Project

In January 2015, Children’s Media Project became Spark Media Project.
This change reflects the growing population of teens and young adults
in our programs who don’t resonate with the term “Children.”
Find out more in the video below!