click to enlarge Mechanicsville native and well-known singer Jason Mraz performs at Live Art.

Eric Morgensen

Mechanicsville native and well-known singer Jason Mraz performs at Live Art.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

SPARC Documentary "Live Art: Love" Premieres Thursday, April 25 on Local PBS Stations

Posted By on Wed, Apr 24, 2019 at 11:30 AM

It's the highlight of the year for the non-profit School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC): the annual summer Live Art concert featuring some 200 area students performing alongside some of music's biggest names for a packed house.

The show usually sells out, but now viewers at home will get a chance to check it out with the airing of SPARC's 2018 "Live Art: Love" documentary on Thursday, April 25 at 9 p.m. on WCVE/WHTJ PBS. The documentary is being offered to PBS stations nationwide through American Public Television. It will also air on April 28 at 7 p.m. on WVPT PBS.

The stars that year included: Jason Mraz, Josh Groban, Sara Bareilles, Michael McDonald and Rene Marie. Local artists who donated their time include Daniel Clarke, Steve Bassett, Desirée Roots, and Susan Greenbaum.

SPARC's year-long Live Art program provides a variety of performing arts and visual arts classes for youth with and without disabilities.

“In Live Art, ​hundreds of students, whether typically developing or with disabilities, are all being challenged in new ways,” says Erin Thomas-Foley, the creator and director of Live Art and SPARC’s senior director of education in a press release. “This program is about bringing people together, understanding and embracing our differences, and building a community that radiates love and support for all.”

“We often find that what first attracts our audience is our talented and generous guest artists,” explained SPARC Executive Director Ryan Ripperton in the release. “But over the course of the performance, it’s the students who truly melt the hearts of the audience. For our students, the fact that world-class guest artists want to perform with them, a 3,600-seat theater gets filled to see them, and now TV audiences across the country will be tuning in all just goes to confirm that they, too, are stars.”

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