SPARC is the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community, a 31-year-old organization inspiring young people to reach their full potential through quality training in the performing arts.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Martin Montgomery is a graduate of Longwood College and has been filming live events, short films and commercials for over ten years. His work has won several film festivals, two regional Emmys and one of his films took part in the Cannes Film Festival in France. He is always seeking new ways to evoke emotion through moving images and discovering new topics to explore.
William Gaff has been a creative storyteller for the past 15 years. He has produced and edited hundreds film and video projects for broadcast, corporate and non profit organizations, advertising and event films. His work has won a regional Emmy and has been nominated for a national Emmy.
William was named by his peers as one of the 25 most influential event filmmakers in the world two years in a row. His documentary-style event films have gained national attention as some of the most unique films in the industry. He continues to explore ways in which filmmaking and journalism are merging and evolving into exciting new ways to tell stories.
In recent years, SPARC has seen dramatic, positive results when students with special needs participate in our classes. These students develop their self-expression, understanding of others, and ability to focus. Unfortunately, many students with developmental disabilities and hearing impairment are passed over in the performing arts and never given the opportunity to perform on a major stage or have their moment in the spotlight. Having personally witnessed the powerful benefits of performing arts education in these students' lives, Erin Thomas-Foley (SPARC's Director of Education) created a unique, virtually unprecedented program that is breaking new ground. LIVE ART is at the leading edge of arts education, integrating performing arts curriculum with special education to create a major performance event.
As a multi-disciplinary, inclusive educational program, LIVE ART is building relationships among arts organizations, educators, teaching artists, donors, musicians, students, and families to expand arts opportunities for students with developmental disabilities, hearing impairment and typically developing students alike. A partnership of this magnitude is rare and is a testament to the power of the project.