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To profoundly influence young people’s lives through exceptional performing arts education.

Testimonials and research prove that SPARC’s programs are profoundly important in the lives of young people. Every SPARC program is planned, executed, and evaluated with extraordinarily high standards for quality. SPARC’s faculty and program leaders are among the top talents in their fields; they use their experience and professionalism in forming life-changing, long-term, positive relationships with SPARC’s students. Young people participating in SPARC’s programs cite these programs as profoundly influencing their lives — their confidence, their social skills, their sense of safety and acceptance, their influence on others, their poise and professionalism, and even their chosen careers. “SPARC saved my life” is heard so frequently that it no longer seems surprising.


To inspire the creativity, confidence, and character of every young person in our community.

We believe that every single young person in our community would benefit from SPARC programs. We are committed to improving the lives of every young person in the Richmond region through high-quality, culturally relevant, and innovative programming. We will serve more students in the future by continuing the excellent programs already in place; refining the cultural relevancy of our curriculum; leveraging partnerships and relationships to reach new, diverse student populations; and continually evaluating whether each of our programs is accepting of all students.

In this regard, we acknowledge that some youth have more barriers to participation than others, and we are dedicated to removing these barriers for young people most impacted by societal inequality, including but not limited to disabilities, color, LGBTQ+, English Language Learners, and low income families. (For purposes of our strategic plan (see below), we will use the phrase “underserved youth” to encapsulate these groups.)

SPARC is positioned to expand its work in this way because we have a proven track record of innovation in arts education, and we know from experience how impactful and effective it can be for our community. Through our innovative approaches to arts education, SPARC is poised to help the Richmond region address issues of inequity, social injustice, discrimination, and other negative societal forces that challenge every community.



The following goals and strategies detail the areas in which we most need to focus and invest during 2017-2020 in pursuit of our vision. These strategic initiatives will help to sustain and enhance the excellent, life-changing programming already underway, while also opening doors to new opportunities for the youth of our community.

  1. Expand and refine quality performing arts education for underserved youth.
  2. Communicate the magic of SPARC to drive participation and broad understanding of the organization.
  3. Increase collaboration to best serve our youth and community.
  4. Broaden our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  5. Strengthen internal operations to ensure continuation as an effective and impactful nonprofit.

* Strategic and tactical implementation steps to infuse these goals throughout all SPARC programs and operations are forthcoming. If you are interested in more information about SPARC’s Strategic Plan, please contact Ryan Ripperton, Executive Director and Chief Inspiration Officer, at RRipperton@sparconline.org or 804.353.3393 ext. 225.

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