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Updates from Supporting Performing Arts in Rural Communities

Online Network

Supporting Performing Arts in Rural Communities (SPARC) now has an Online Network up and ready for you! Join the Network (either with a new profile or connect through your current social media) to create a profile for yourself/your organization to start connecting/sharing/collaborating across regions/provinces and beyond!

Join the Network here at  For more information about it and why we made it, visit

If you experience any difficulties or errors in registering, posting etc., please let us know! This Network is new and will surely have glitches we haven't yet discovered.

SPARC Network - what's next?

For over the last year, SPARC has been primarily funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation through a Seed Grant to one of SPARC's lead partners, the Haliburton County Community Co-operative. SPARC is happy to report that we have now successfully completed that funding and we thank OTF for their generous support. Visit for our OTF Evaluation (its a great read!).

Now some of you may be asking...what's next for SPARC?

A big part of SPARC's work over the past year has been network research and collecting evidence to submit an application to the Ontario Trillium Foundation to scale-up SPARC's Network across Ontario. SPARC will focus on connecting with creators, producers, presenters and animateurs in rural and remote communities to work together in the development of  needed, sustainable supports/services while identifying access issues to current services.

The Arts Council ~ Haliburton Highlands has developed into the lead partner role of the SPARC Network Steering Committee and has now submitted a 3 year Grow Grant to OTF in support of SPARC.  

Among our plans is future SPARC Symposia - currently the next one is forecasted for Fall 2016 in the Haliburton Highlands. We are excited to build upon the success of the 2014 SPARC Symposium and bring new voices/viewpoints together with past delegates to continue to learn about each other's projects, passions, innovations and challenges to help collectively sustain and grow the performing arts in rural and remote communities across Canada and beyond.

Visti for more details on SPARC's 3 year plan (there's a lot more!).

In the short term, SPARC has entered into a new, transitional phase with a focus on convening conversations and the activation of its new Online Network. SPARC had the good fortune to be funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation with staff support over the past year but, due to the Federal election, decisions on several submitted funding applications to Canadian Heritage have been delayed. One result of this delay is that SPARC is not currently able to sustain a staff person.

Funding ups and downs are a matter of course for the non-profit world and simply present a challenge that SPARC’s Network Steering Committee is excited to tackle. As rural communities well know, limited resources are quite often met with resourcefulness and innovations, and help to provide a true test of the sustainability of a project.

As SPARC enters this new phase, it wishes to thank its Network Coordinator, Elisha Barlow, for her dedication and leadership. SPARC is also thankful for and continues to enjoy a supportive relationship with the Arts Council ~ Haliburton Highlands.

SPARC is quite hopeful for the outcome of its applications to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for a 3 year Grow Grant as well as other requests to the Ontario Arts Council and Canadian Heritage. It remains hopeful for a positive result to these funding requests but has decided to acknowledge this pause in funding as an opportunity to continue to develop SPARC as a grass-roots provincial network.

SPARC’s Network Steering Committee is excited to lead this next stage of SPARC and encourages creators, presenters, producers and animateurs in rural and remote communities across Ontario to join the conversation in SPARC’s new Online Network.