A Gaslamp Quarter building that once housed a theater full of dancing girls and a lady trapeze artist in the late 1800s and early 1900s now holds the city's newest art space, Sparks Gallery (530 Sixth Ave.).
"We looked for two years for a space," says gallery owner and curator Sonya Sparks, 31, who purchased the gallery with her family. "We wanted to have a building that had San Diego history in it."
Sparks Gallery will open Saturday, June 1, for a special partnership with the San Diego Visual Arts Network (SDVAN) to showcase New Contemporaries VI, the annual exhibition highlighting emerging artists chosen by winners of the San Diego Art Prize. Works by James Enos, Sonia Lopez-Chavez, Anna Stump, Griselda Rosas and eight other local artists' work will be on view through the month of June.
Sparks, who grew up in San Carlos and studied business administration and art at the University of San Diego, says that partnering with SDVAN was the perfect choice considering the group's dedication to promoting local art.
"The opportunity to show local artists that are in different ranges and phases of their career fit the same business model that we're going with," she says. "I really want to represent with this gallery the San Diego art scene and show different types of artists and mediums together in one place and make it community-focused."
New Contemporaries VI can be seen from June 1 through 8 by appointment, or during gallery hours (11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 8 p.m. Saturday) from June 9 until June 30. There'll be an opening celebration from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 8. Attendees must RSVP on the Sparks Facebook page.
After that exhibition, the gallery will close for renovations and construction. Sparks plans to reopen later this year. The special exhibition will give people an opportunity to see the transition from the space's raw form and the finished product once it reopens, she says.