Nationally known recording artists and 200 SPARC students – with and without disabilities – will take the stage together for a night of music, dance, visual art, and inspiring human connection for what has become one of Richmond’s favorite and most anticipated annual performances.
SPARC’s LIVE ART: DREAM will be presented on Sunday, June 11, at 5 p.m. at Richmond, Virginia’s Altria Theater.
LIVE ART is SPARC’s inclusive program for students with and without disabilities. Working together in a variety of visual and performing arts classes for one year, students with a range of disabilities alongside typically developing students, rehearse their performances while building relationships and understanding of one another using SPARC’s unique ACE (acceptance, compassion, and empathy) curriculum. The program, now in its fifth year, culminates in an annual mega-show, featuring nationally and regionally recognized recording artists and performers performing with each class collectively performing visual and performing arts. This year’s show, titled LIVE ART: DREAM will feature:
- Three-time Grammy Award winner and lead singer of the band Matchbox Twenty Rob Thomas
- Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Award Winner Paul Williams, accompanied by his longtime collaborator, Chris Caswell, noted composer, arranger, and lyricist
- Multi-platinum, multi-Grammy Award winner and SPARC alumnus, Jason Mraz
- Grammy, award-winning, multiplatinum-selling singer-songwriter, Colbie Caillat
- Musician, finalist on season 14 of “American Idol,” and Richmond, VA native, Rayvon Owen
- Magician, comedian, and television personality, Justin Willman
- Actor, director, producer and screenwriter, Josh Radnor and musician and actor, Ben Lee as Radnor & Lee
- Local artists and performers – Desirée Roots, Susan Greenbaum, Steve Bassett, Daniel Clarke, Samson Trinh, David Fisk, the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra String Ensemble, Host of Sparrows, City Dance Theatre, and the Henrico High School Sound Sensations Choir.
LIVE ART was created in 2011 by Erin Thomas-Foley, SPARC’s senior director of education. Her vision for the project has inspired strong support from community partners, donors, artists, musicians, teachers, students, and families. All students participate tuition-free thanks to thanks to major project funding by Altria Group, Jason Mraz Foundation, the Stanley and Kim Markel Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia*, CapitalOne CAPabilities Network, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Memorial Foundation for Children, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts among others.
LIVE ART is more than just a concert event. Ahead of the show, more than 200 students with a range of developmental disabilities (like autism, Williams syndrome, Down syndrome) and hearing and vision impairment have participated in performing arts classes alongside the regular line-up of SPARC students.
Each class is set to collectively perform its visual and performance art with the featured musicians in the concert. “This is a show not to be missed,” Jason Mraz says. “It’s an all-inclusive program that features children who may not have a chance to have their talent featured in an original production on a large stage. It levels the playing field for all.”
Tickets are are available online at SPARC and at altriatheater.com or by calling 800-514-3849.
Community partners for LIVE ART: DREAM include: Faison School for Autism, the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH), JAMinc., Richmond Symphony, St. Catherine’s and St. Christopher’s Schools, City Dance Theatre, Collegiate School, Northstar Academy, Virginia Commonwealth University Music Education, VCU ASPiRE, VCU Institute for Contemporary Art, Host of Sparrows, and public school systems across metropolitan Richmond.