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.
"SPARC is a part of Venice, and the kind of art that we do, while it may not speak entirely of Venice, it speaks to the City of Los Angeles."
"What I remember was the parking lot... all these gang members, totally silent just sitting there, standing by their car... waiting for the word of what was gonna come down."
"Every mural in this city tells a particular story, a particular moment in time."