“Enjoy what you create. Look more. Read more. Explore. Make mistakes. Make friends. Be ethical. Never stop learning.”
ArtSparcs helps people cultivate their inner creativity and think better through entertaining art-based brain building programs and products.
The seed of idea came to me about 4 years ago when I found myself smack in the middle of a major creative block. I was scheduled to teach an art class and couldn’t muster any fun new ideas for it or my own art. To make matters worse, my computer went on the fritz and had to be in the repair shop for several days. I hadn’t realized how addicted to technology I had become. I was- in a word- foul. I figured I’d carry out my technology banishment with as little harm to the people I loved as possible and headed to my family’s shack on the Crooked River to “earth” myself. After about an hour of rocking on the front porch, my mind began to weave together ideas I had been thinking about for months- the neuroscience of gambling, neurogenesis (how the brain makes new neurons), creativity, and oddly enough, the psychology of the playground. I grabbed a writing tablet and spent the rest of the day penning ideas in words and sketches.
What came out of that time on the porch was the practice since developed called the Sparc Method (Strategically Placing Arbitrary Randomized Constraints). Sparcing employs the addictive elements of gambling to serve the brain in healthy ways by creating experiences with art that are rewarding and enriching. It doesn’t matter what the creative experiment produces- it could be a mess of mud- the real product is the literal restructuring of the brain that comes with the process itself. When we’re involved in creative experimentation, our brains make new pathways between distant areas. These new pathways are the key to cognitive vitality and innovative thought. The word innovation has become cliche in business, but there’s hard science to inform how to improve the cognitive processes that comprise innovative thought. ArtSparcs is the place where neuroscience and creativity come together to ignite possibility.
Innovative thinking isn’t just good for business. ArtSparcs was first piloted at Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital as a neurologic enrichment for stroke survivors. The art from that pilot speaks more eloquently than I can about how quickly the brain can be changed through experimentation with art. A gallery of that work can be found on our website.
In July, Drs. Bert and Judi Herring, Allison Holdridge and I formed ArtSparcs as a company. We are a motley crew with experience in medicine, research, design, production, rocket science, education, art, neuroscience and business. We believe that the intentional collision of our diverse experiences is our greatest strength (it certainly makes for delightful and lively conversations!)
Starting a new business is exciting and incredibly risky. Each of us has major personal stakes at risk in this venture, but unlike gambling, this risk is calculated. We’ve each taken it because what we have to offer provides an experience unlike anything on the market. Each of us believes the products and programs we develop have the power to transform people’s lives. As you get to know us, you’ll understand why we believe that’s a risk well worth taking.