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On a recent Monday night, the SPARK group led by Candy Canning met in the Gem Center for the Arts to share creative work that was, well, “sparked” by the word "ember:" a construction creating fire and smoke, a new plant started from a 30-year-old plant, music, a glass mosaic, among others. The new word for this month is "oasis" and anyone is welcome to share a creative work inspired by the word and join a creative community at the next SPARK meeting, Monday, June 12 at 6 p.m. Bringing a treat to share would not be unwelcome. You might even see me there with a poem.

I mention SPARK first, because its creation was the genesis for what is today the Catalyst Arts Collaborative, housed in the Gem Center for the Arts at 2417 W. Bank Drive, a turn off Vista Avenue at the iconic sign of the endlessly scrubbing washerwoman. Canning is the visionary driving force behind the Gem Center, Catalyst and SPARK, which is just one of its many programs. “My medium is people. I like to connect with people and to facilitate growth in other people,” she explains.

Driek Zirinsky, a collector and a writer, loves living with art all around.

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