Chicana activist Debra J.T. Padilla drove her 1964 Ford Galaxy from Tucson, Arizona to Venice to become the new Executive Director of SPARC in 1993. In her first week, the accidental murder of a young Latina girl at the hands of neighborhood gangs at the intersection of Venice and Lincoln Boulevard solidified her reasons for taking the job. The role of public art as a tool to organize, empower and promote cross-cultural dialogue for the disenfranchised has been Padilla's goal since arrival. SPARC's role has since expanded to embrace three main areas of development: production, education and preservation.