Artist Spotlight: Heather Sparks
Published: November 18, 2021
Categories: Fall Campaign
From now through December 31st as part of our end-of-year campaign, we’ll be sharing stories from artists from across Washington State about the ways they are taking care of themselves and their communities. We hope you will join us in making a gift in support of artists now! Make a gift at artisttrust.org/donate
Heather Dawn Sparks
Shadow & Light
How did you first find out about Artist Trust? What is your history with Artist Trust?
Washington artist collectives. Community centered networks of the arts.
How has the Artist Trust community been meaningful or beneficial to you?
Artist Trust provided much needed affirmation in a time of uncertainty, and helped me cover essential life needs when other forms of support weren’t available. Artist Trust has not only been a source of support but also a source of inspiration for how to design distributive and adaptive systems able to respond to the changing needs of localized cultural communities.
What has the last year and a half been like for you and your artistic practice?
The past year and a half has represented a momentary state of liminality, a transition from what was to what is becoming. Liminal space is where all transformations take place, integrating new perspectives into subconscious and spiritual planes in a process of evolutionary growth. As a non-binary spectrum thinker deeply connected to plants and animals, I have found creative purpose in supporting the shift away from extractive systems towards regenerative abundance producing systems.
What has inspired you or brought you hope?
I am inspired by the powerful outcomes when collective effort is invested into regenerative systems. In my 11th year collaboratively rewilding a prior industrial rock quarry, integrating habitat orientated artist facilities, I have witnessed the exponential growth of plant biodiversity and wildlife alongside human cultures. When we unite our creative forces, we have the power to solve the biggest climate and humanitarian crisis of our time.
How have you taken care of yourself and your community during this time?
Innovating new methods and employing technology allowed me to find ways to collaborate with artists across space. Techniques formerly applied to live event installation and performance were transferred into lightbox animations and digital murals as ways to continue contributing to collective dialogue and well being.
Commitment to expanding our artist run community gardens provided the sustenance of food security. Each seed planted connects to a sense of place, each seed that grows connects to community through the celebration of feast. Creativity sparks joy from the magic of daily existence.
At a time when there’s so much ongoing trauma and grief, what support do you think artists and artist communities need right now, and in the future? How can arts organizations be part of community healing?
Artists are sensitive conduits, tapping into collective grief to translate into healing and life giving creations. In this time of grief, we need hope expressed through actions that center the bio-diversity of ecology and human cultures. Support looks like funding, highlighting, and offering skills that support the merging of art and nature, Including conservation, rewilding, food security, and sustainable systems. When we uplift Indigenous, marginalized, diverse, and land based creatives, we advance collective understanding, expanding our access to solutions and methodologies. Arts organizations serve as collective cross-cultural gathering places, uniting multi-disciplinary = collaborations, and growing the strength of artist networks. Arts organizations are able to effect localized change through the redistribution of resources to cultural practitioners and community led arts initiatives.
Why is it important to support individual artists right now?
Artists are sensitive conduits, tapping into collective grief to translate into healing and life giving creations. Artists on the frontlines are working the edges of change. Artists create collective systems of mutual aid and information exchange. Artists weave the well being of collective movements through inspiration and advocacy. Artists are truth speakers, communicating through alternative languages.
Why do you think it’s important for people to support Artist Trust as donors?
Artist Trust networks across the Pacific Northwest to connect and support a broad range of artists and art disciplines, building relationships through adaptive accessibility and long term dedication to the arts.