The Co.

Sparck COVID-19 Interview

the CO. Chatham Ontario

1. How do you define community? What does community mean to you?

Our definition of community is a group of individuals with diverse perspectives, various social connections, and shared goals who, in spite of any differences, unite for the common good. Therefore, what community means to us is being able to support each other, to be kind to each other, and to rely on each other no matter our differences. We believe a kind community is a thriving community

2. How is your definition of community present in your life?

Every day we witness or read about generous C-K residents, businesses and organizations who extend their caring hearts and helping hands to others in our community. Currently, we are witnessing a large spike in acts of kindness during this unprecedented time. It’s situations like this one that either make or break the strength of a community. Chatham-Kent residents have proven time and time again just how strong we are when we band together for the safety, health and well-being of all.  

3. Tell us about your initiative. What are you hoping to accomplish with our community?

We believe kindness can be a powerful remedy especially in today’s world where fear and hatred attempt to infect society. We just need to keep injecting it in our communities. If videos, advertisements and books can go viral then so can kindness. Therefore,  the main goal of our initiative is to simply inspire kindness throughout the community and with the community’s helping hands, we hope it will spread like wildfire. We do so by igniting acts of kindness through various methods and also providing tools/ideas to C-K residents to ignite their own acts of kindness.

4. Can you tell us your why? How did this all get started?

We have always enjoyed lending a helping hand to others both in our personal and professional lives. For the past few years, we have discussed how we can transform this passion for assisting others into something bigger that serves a wider audience. We launched Sparck in December of 2019 with our Kindvelope project. Kindvelopes are envelopes that are sent in pairs to businesses and they contain gift cards from that business. A customer will receive both Kindevelopes from an employee and will keep one for themselves. They will then ignite their own act of kindness by providing the second Kindvelope to another random customer of their choice. Kindvelopes are also individually dropped off in public locations for residents to discover. What we love about this project is that we have no idea who will receive these Kindvelopes which is the point of it. Kindness should never discriminate. 

5. Something you want us to know about your work/initiative?

We may have started this initiative but it really encompasses all of Chatham-Kent. Therefore, we are encouraging residents to follow us on Facebook and Instagram as we take this journey through kindness together.

6. If you could dream – where does your work/initiative go?

We want to continue with our Kindvelope project and elevate it with creative ways of disbursing them to C-K residents. We’re also opening the door to potential connections and collaborations with other non-profit organizations and small businesses to further assess the needs of our community. We would love to be able to fill another need in our community.

Andrew Myers COVID-19 Interview

the CO. Chatham Ontario

1. What does art mean to you?

Art is a very natural interest. I’ve always been intensely fascinated by those who create something from nothing, wether it’s a doodle by someone who claims they “can’t draw” or a the design of a large building. Anything that begins as a vision and becomes a reality is wildly impressive to me, which extends beyond the visual of course, but I find the products I can look at more immediately exciting. Art seems to come out of struggle and come out of excitement. Art is deemed unimportant to some as they hum iconic tunes they learned 20 years ago. A world without art would not only insanely boring, but I’d argue to some degree that it wouldn’t be livable. I’ll always admire those who choose to create. 

2. Tell us about your work.

My work involves photography and video, although it leans much more toward video now. I’m fascinated with organized chaos, or movement of imagery that seems complex but ordered at the same time. I feel like it reflects but also helps metabolize a lot of my feelings about the modern world and the anxieties that come along with living in it. I feel like creating things is one of the few things I have control over, so mentally I often find it not only therapeutic, but necessary.

3.How is COVID-19 affecting you and your work?

My work is usually made in spaces where people gather. I work commercially in advertising in order to support myself. I often work with little teams of people, as well as art directors, clients, etc to crate imagery. This has been dramatically affected by COVID, where my work life has disappeared almost overnight, and I’m waiting for an uncertain resolution. I’m trying to stay motivated but right now it’s difficult to imaging where things will go if we can’t congregate in spaces anytime soon. I live in New York which is also expensive even when things are busy. 

4. If you could dream what this looks like after the pandemic, what does it look like? Where is art in that? Where are you in that?

A lot of people important to me, that include all types of creators, have been impacted by this. I like to imagine everyone being able to return to normal. It pains me to think of the most interesting things about city life being decimated and returning to a more sterile version of the world. I think as vital as artists and creators are to society, they’re often the first on the societal chopping block during moments of crisis. I think the collective spirit of creators will never go away, but it might need restructuring. I hope we achieve some sort of clarity, but it’s hard to say where things will go.