Designbox founded SPARKcon in 2006 and built it’s growth for the first 10 years of its existence. We determined the need for SPARKcon after many creative meetings and ideation sessions about the future we wanted for Raleigh and for NC. We saw that there was outward excitement and momentum for the technology scene of the area, but the larger creative scene went somewhat unnoticed. The creative community was fragmented and disconnected and the whole city was losing because this vibrant community was underground and under-appreciated. We were inspired by Richard Florida’s ideas about the creative class being essential to the ultimate economic success of a city, and decided to do something.
It’s an open-source, “FOR THE COMMUNITY, BY THE COMMUNITY” approach with an intentionally dynamic focus.
Designbox developed the entire festival, including:
• Founding Principles, Mission and Vision
• Open-Source Organizational Structure
• Inclusory Methods of Building Yearly Events
• Logistical Operations and Liaison with the City
• Partnerships with Venues, the City, Talent and Vendors
• Brand Identity and Messaging
• Marketing and Promotion
• Event Production
SPARKcon is a an annual 4-day festival Designbox created in 2006, and it has grown each year since. SPARKcon is a 100% volunteer creative festival with hundreds of volunteer visionaries and organizers, more than 2,000 creative talent in 200+ events with over 100,000 people attending the downtown area to enjoy it.
Each segment of the creative community plans their own “SPARKs” to showcase their talent. SPARKcon’s goal is to connect and educate emerging, creative leaders through training, interdisciplinary collaboration, and an open source structure leading to the creation of a unique four-day creativity explosion in Downtown Raleigh. Each category, or group of activities, is called a “SPARK” (musicSPARK, fashionSPARK, etc.) and is organized by volunteers who create programming that best represents their art form, whether a performance, an exhibition, showcase. or interactive digital game. This open source leadership structure allows any organizer, talent or audience member to create and add value to the experience in their own way.
The website must function as a tool to speak to different groups of people as the festival dates get closer. The site is a customized WordPress CMS and is flexible enough to organize lots of quickly changing information. Browse capabilities enable the schedule to be viewed by day, event type or participant. Social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube are used to connect with various creative communities.