The 2nd Annual SPARK Photo Festival ran from April 1 to April 30 and was a celebration of photography, the artists, dreamers, innovators, storytellers, professionals and enthusiasts behind the camera lens. As with every year, April marks the arrival of numerous photographic exhibits and artists, workshops, lectures and other related photographic events and activities in multiple locations throughout Northumberland, Peterborough, and the Kawartha Lakes.
SPARK addresses the need of photographers at all levels, enthusiast, student, commercial, and fine art, to develop an audience through the process of exhibit and publication. By doing so, photographers are encouraged to broaden their skill set and knowledge level, as well as reach out to previously unexplored audiences. The SPARK Photo Festival acts as both an incubator and a focus in this process of discovery.
The importance of the print in creating a sense of community cannot be over emphasized. While I have a great deal of respect for the power of the internet, there is no better place to create meaningful and memorable contact between people, and thus build community, than through the process of exhibit.
What were some of the Festival highlights?
The highlights of of the festival are of course our SPARK Showcase Exhibit, always a Heritage exhibit, and student participation, and for Year Two I would say the Juried Themed Exhibit. The latter was very successful in that the quality of photos, the number of exhibit competitors, and the attendance to the Awards Celebration were all impressive. Perhaps the biggest indicator of success would be the increase by 45% in the number of exhibits, including a 60% increase in the numbers of students. SPARK is truly a community celebration of photography.
What will future contestants have to look forward to?
Future contestants for SPARK 2015 can look for an earlier closing date for Registrations — 30 November 2014, a registration cost that is not being increased, a repeat opportunity to participate in a JURIED Exhibit, and more active participation by the Venue hosts of Exhibits. We hope to have repeat of the Focus on Nature photography workshop for kids, an on location shoot workshop by renowned photographer yet to be found, and an auction of photos from 2014 Showcase and Juried Exhibits. It is yet to be confirmed that all of these expectations will be met as our Organizing Committee will begin meeting and planning only in June. We are taking a step to recruit more volunteer leaders to enhance our Committees that make SPARK a success and so I would appreciate if you can let people know that SPARK 2015 will be an event for 3 counties — Peterborough, Northumberland and City of Kawartha Lakes — and we welcome new volunteers. Further there are hospitality packages through the area B&B’s for visitors who come to participate in the SPARK festival. After 30 November people can plan their festival visits using our website to choose exhibits, workshops and events to take in.