KCAD Celebrates Grand Opening of The Spark: A New Retail Space Supporting Local Creatives

Posted August 28, 2023 in community, Campus

The Spark ribbon cutting

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University is celebrating the grand opening of The Spark, a dynamic retail space dedicated to providing support and resources for KCAD students, alumni, local artists, designers, and makers. Located on the KCAD campus at 17 Fountain St. NW, The Spark is set to become a hub for exploring, selling, and buying local art in downtown Grand Rapids.

The Spark commemorated the grand opening on Friday, August 25, with a ribbon cutting ceremony in collaboration with Grand Rapids Chamber and a celebratory social gathering with staff, vendors, and the local creative community.

The Spark grand opening celebration

The Spark offers a wide-ranging, curated selection of handmade goods from West Michigan artists, including many talented KCAD alumni and current students. Visitors to the retail space will discover a wide range of stylish and unique gifts, art prints, décor, stationery, jewelry, art supplies, and can even enjoy coffee and snacks in the lounge seating area. Additionally, The Spark will host a variety of community and educational events, such as artist talks, networking opportunities, and pop-up shops for practicing artists, designers, and students.

The Spark retail space at KCAD

Adjacent to The Spark, the Spark Gallery at KCAD will feature curated exhibitions showcasing the exceptional work of current students and local artists. With a rotating lineup of work on display, the street-level gallery space will provide a platform for emerging talents to reach a wider audience.

In addition to providing a space for local artists to showcase their work, The Spark also focuses on fostering student engagement and development. The retail space offers student employment positions, providing valuable hands-on experience in retail and gallery operations.

The Spark retail manager Mikayla Portee with KCAD student employeesMikayla Portee, Retail Manager, alongside The Spark's student employees. From L to R: Jay Johnson,
Mikaila Doede, Ken Kolassa, Mikayla Portee, Emmet Martin, and Lexi Seidel.

"We are thrilled to unveil The Spark and welcome the community into this vibrant space designed to uplift and support the work of local artists,” says Mikayla Portee, Retail Manager for The Spark and KCAD alum (‘22, BFA Drawing). “It's important to us that students feel a sense of ownership over this space as an expression of the creative diversity that exists within the college and our city.”

Further expanding its reach and accessibility, The Spark will launch an online store later this fall, giving parents, alumni, and out-of-town shoppers the opportunity to conveniently order KCAD merchandise and show their support for the college.

The Spark retail space at KCAD

Anyone interested in selling art, handmade goods, or other creative merchandise at The Spark can apply to become a vendor with a consignment split of 60/40. Vendor applications may be submitted online here.

The Spark will be open to the public during the following hours of operation:

Monday-Thursday: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday-Saturday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

For more information about The Spark, visit kcad.edu/thespark or check out The Spark on Instagram @thesparkgr.

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