Get Your Art Spark at the Museum’s Carol and Gerry Parker Art Studio

Visit Weekend Afternoons at Manetti Shrem Museum

A wall in the ArtSpark studio is filled with drawings made by past visitors. The drawings include self-portraits, landscapes, and other abstract shapes.
A wall in the ArtSpark studio displays artwork left by other visitors. (Hayley Morris/UC Davis)

The Details


Look here for the schedule: Art Spark at the Carol and Gerry Parker Art Studio. The  event runs on weekends through Dec. 18

Looking for a quick art break or an afternoon-long exploration to spark your creativity?

Swing by the Carol and Gerry Parker Art Studio in the Manetti Shrem Museum on weekend afternoons for Art Spark, a hands-on art program where you can experiment with all sorts of techniques and mediums. Draw, stitch, paint, collage and more this summer with activities and materials inspired by Young, Gifted and Black: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art.

When I visited, the studio was laid out with materials for cross-stitching. I was provided with a wide array of patterned fabrics, different-sized embroidery hoops, fabric markers, pipe cleaners, colored thread and needles. Though the studio was quiet while I was there, plenty of artwork from other visitors was plastered on the walls including self-portraits, landscapes, and abstract shapes and colors. I sat down at a table and stitched over the outlines of blue flowers in the fabric I’d picked with white thread.

An embroidery hoop holds white fabric with blue flowers. There is white embroidery thread stitched over the outline of one of the flowers.
Embroidery is one of the weekly activities held by ArtSpark. (Hayley Morris/UC Davis)

Linda Alvarez, coordinator for Programs and Student Connection at the Manetti Shrem, visited while I was stitching. She said of the Art Spark program, “It’s a continuation of the drop-in art program that used to happen before the pandemic. This space was closed for two years. We just reopened and we’re excited to start back up again.”

The projects change from week to week, so usually there’s some portraits that people have left from their visit. It’s a very chill place to just hang out and make things.”

Before visiting the art studio, I had toured the current exhibit at the Manetti Shrem, Young, Gifted and Black, and as I stitched the variety of materials I was working with reminded me of Chiffon Thomas’s piece, A New Dad, 2017. Against a muted background Thomas stitches a vibrant scene of a father and child sleeping amidst a sea of whites, blacks and blues. This experience made me admire Thomas’s work even further as I realized how intricate creating an artwork with thread can be. Visiting the art studio only enhanced my tour of the exhibition.

As I worked, I found myself relaxed by the process, and time quickly flew by. It was soon 4 p.m. and the studio wrapped up. I decided to take my project home as a keepsake. But if you want to have yours displayed in the Manetti Shrem, feel free to leave your art behind.

Art Spark runs 12 – 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through December 18. All ages and skill levels are welcome, and activities are “Free for All,” as the museum boasts. Art is for everyone! Find more information about Art Spark here.

Primary Category

Secondary Categories

Society, Arts & Culture