For 35 years, SPARC (Social & Public Art Resource Center) has upheld its mission of using public art to make the world's built environments more beautiful, livable and humane.
On Oct. 20, SPARC will throw itself a birthday party with entertainment supplied by an artist of irreproachable humanistic credentials: Barbara Morrison, the legendary jazz, blues and gospel singer who has recorded more than 20 albums.
Morrison's list of collaborators over the years is so extensive -- Ray Charles, Ron Carter, Etta James, the Count Basie Orchestra, Dr. John, Terence Blanchard, Tony Bennett, Joe Sample, Nancy Wilson -- that it almost would be easier to draw up a roster of people she hasn't played with than those she has. Also spinning records at the Oct. 20 bash will be music producer/radio hosts Tom Schnabel and Betto Arcos.
Founded in 1976 by muralist and UCLA Professor Judith F. Baca, filmmaker/director Donna Deitch and artist/teacher Christina Schlesinger, SPARC has worked on projects throughout the United States, as well as in Latin America, Europe and India. Its signature project was recruiting 400 at-risk youth to help paint a half-mile long mural (The Great Wall of Los Angeles) on the concrete wall of a flood-control channel in the San Fernando Valley. Baca will personally lead tours of the Great Wall between 4 and 7 p.m. on Oct. 6 and Oct. 13 as part of the 35th festivities.