SPARC Announces New Executive Director

Posted February 12, 2010 by sparconline
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Ryan T. Ripperton, SPARC's new Executive Director

The Board of SPARC  (School for the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community) announces selection of a new Executive Director-Ryan T. Ripperton.  He will begin his leadership March 17, 2010– simultaneous with SPARC’s upcoming 30th Anniversary and the public phase of its comprehensive campaign for expanded programs and facility.    

Ripperton was selected as the outcome of a national search process.  Jerrold Samford, Board President, stated:  “The search process was thorough and inclusive – it yielded just the right leader to guide SPARC’s vital future!  Ryan will also be a great addition to the cadre of arts organizations and leaders in the metro area.” 

 Ripperton added:  “As a musician and a professional, I am a passionate supporter of the arts, and deeply committed to advancing quality performing arts training and life lessons for young people.  I am honored to have been chosen to join the leadership of this wonderful organization that does so much to serve the youth of the Richmond community.”

 Ripperton served for more than seven years as Executive Director of a national music fraternity (Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity) and its related Sinfonia Educational Foundation, headquartered in Indiana.   

 The organization’s mission, operations, facilities and financial resources, as well as strengths and challenges, closely match SPARC’s in many ways.  There, he successfully expanded programs, outreach, partnerships, financial resources and technology; and he strengthened governance and a volunteer network.    

He holds a Bachelor  of Music Education from the University of North Carolina, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern Indiana.  He also is a member of the American Society of Association Executives.  He, his wife Danielle, and daughter Ella, are eager to embrace the community of Richmond.


Lights Up Education Weekend, January 23-24

Posted January 15, 2010 by sparconline
Categories: Uncategorized


Come celebrate a weekend of youth and the arts at the Genworth BrightLights Education Center at Richmond CenterStage. All programs and performances are free, but registration and tickets are required.

“Lights Up” presents over 30 workshops, master classes, lecture-demonstrations and live performances featuring the Resident Companies of Richmond CenterStage:

  • Richmond Symphony Orchestra
  • Richmond Ballet
  • African-American Repertory Theater
  • Richmond Shakespeare
  • Theater IV/Barksdale Theatre
  • Virginia Opera
  • SPARC (School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community)
  • Elegba Folklore Society

The weekend also features the Latin Ballet of Virginia, Richmond Boys Choir and Friends of City Dance.

Genworth BrightLights Education Center at Richmond CenterStage is located at 600 E. Grace Street, Richmond, VA 23219.

FREE Family Festival and Open House

Saturday, January 23, 2010

12 to 5 p.m. – Education Workshops, Classes and Lecture–Demonstrations (Registration opens at 10:30 a.m. and continues throughout the day in the Carpenter Theatre Lobby. Registration is on a first come, first served basis.) Workshop Descriptions & Schedule

7 p.m. – “Lights Up” Performance in the Carpenter Theatre featuring young performers of Resident Companies.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

3 p.m. – “Lights Up” Performance in The Carpenter Theatre featuring young performers of Resident Companies.

To reserve tickets, click the following link:

VIDEO FLASH: SPARC Alum Jason Mraz on Sesame Street

Posted November 4, 2009 by sparconline
Categories: Uncategorized

Pop star and SPARC alumni Jason Mraz taped an episode of the long-running children’s television series “Sesame Street” which will air this year during the show’s 40th anniversary.  Take a look!

VIDEO PREVIEW – “Aladdin, Jr.” in Rehearsal

Posted October 24, 2009 by sparconline
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VIDEO FLASH – New Voices for the Theater 20th Anniversary

Posted October 19, 2009 by sparconline
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Co-produced by Freewill Films and SPARC, this video honors the 20th anniversary of New Voices for the Theater, Virginia’s largest and most prominent high school playwriting progam for young writers.  Check it out!

SPARC Earns Raves and Applause at CenterStage Grand Opening

Posted September 18, 2009 by sparconline
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les_mis[1]SPARC was greeted with applause and acclaim when a talented cast of 35 students, alumni and guest adult professionals took to the stage to perform selections from “Les Miserables”, accompanied by the Richmond Symphony.  Over the course of 3 nights, SPARC, along with 8 other resident companies, performed for almost 5,000 people during the opening festivities for the new CenterStage performing arts center. 

From Style Weekly:  “Familiar selections from “Les Misérables” by a large, young, earnest and fully costumed cast from the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community opened the program’s second half. They gave it full throttle, aimed for the Carpenter’s upper reaches and garnered the most thunderous applause of the evening.” 

For more information on Richmond CenterStage, visit

VIDEO FLASH – “Les Miserables” Dress Rehearsal Preview

Posted September 4, 2009 by sparconline
Categories: Uncategorized