Spark Media Project (Spark) 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.
At a time when global competition defines the needs of the American workforce, the fact that many area youth do not go on to pursue a higher education, and more than 40% of Poughkeepsie youth do not graduate from high school, calls for new and innovative approaches to engaging young people as life-long learners and creative workers.
Spark Media Project (Spark) aims to create opportunities for all young people to develop the communication, critical thinking and problem solving skills and habits of mind they will need to become active participants in the 21st Century.
We believe an education in the Media Arts offer unique opportunities for youth to acquire hands-on knowledge and experience that will foster the development of literacy, life, and workforce skill, (such as awareness and critical thinking). We are committed to the proposition that achieving literacy through the media arts and associated technologies should be an essential part of every young person’s education.
Spark is committed to becoming the go-to Media Arts education resource in the Mid-Hudson Valley for young people, both in schools and in community-based settings after school. Spark is also committed to being a resource for teachers, administrators, community practitioners and parents who wish to help achieve literacy, and to develop life and work skills in their young people. We provide programs and services through a comprehensive, sequential curriculum that begins with understanding the various forms of media and the messages they convey, and culminates in the creation of original work that presents each participant’s unique expression of their ideas and responses.
The scope and scale of this vision requires many participants, partners, and supporters who share our beliefs and values—a steadfast dedication to the success and well-being of all young people, a belief in the distinctive qualities that the media arts can bring to this purpose, and a deep understanding that Spark’s vision of the future can only be realized if it becomes a community-wide undertaking.
For the past 20 years, we have been providing thousands of students annually with access, understanding and experience in the tools and creative choices that are needed to produce quality media. We define success by the engagement, output and development of the young people who take part in its programs and services. We are especially dedicated to those young people living in Poughkeepsie who do not have access to the tools and training that are needed to engage in the Media Arts.
Every one of our efforts results in a media product that provides tangible evidence of each young person’s engagement in the program. Whether a short animation, radio program, video documentary, narrative film, or an ad for a local business, the results are shared with the public through our community events and social media platforms.
Our production house, Forge Media, allows our students to delve into the Media Arts in a professional context where more experienced student join with Forge production staff to undertake contracted projects for area businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Our distinctive mix of exposure, training, presentation and actual working assignments adds an authentic dimension to each participant’s experience. These experiences help to produce more general learning skills that apply across many disciplines and work environments. Creative problem solving, oral and written communication, and learning to work as a team are just a few of the interdisciplinary abilities that Spark participants acquire in these real-world, hands-on settings.
Over time, the sense of accomplishment that often accompanies the successful completion a project helps build participants’ confidence and motivation to take on advanced study in the media arts, or to further pursue a career in the field. We are committed to documenting these results, and to building on the success of our alumni as an inspiration and resource to each succeeding group of Spark participants.
Ultimately, these are the outcomes that most distinguish Spark’s work, and merit consideration for an investment in the future well-being of area young people and our communities.