SPARKS of Inspiration: New San Diego Local Art GALLERY

It SPARKS with an idea…

Sonya Sparks always knew she wanted to be involved in the arts and remembers drawing, painting and taking photographs at a very young age. By college, she studied Art at the University of San Diego but decided to major in Business Administration instead, as the art scene in SD wasn’t very open to new hires. After eight years at an international business, Sonya felt it was time to start something new.

“I was frustrated that there were not a lot of art galleries showing local work in a range of pricing,“ recalls Sonya, “so I decided to combine my interest in art with my business background to start a gallery that focused on the local art scene.”

 And so it began that this young lady (and former Adorations’ bride) started a namesake gallery right in the heart of downtown San Diego.

 The Sparks Gallery is home for contemporary artwork from artists living in San Diego and encourages patronage of local artists, while supporting San Diego's growth as a strong art community. Located in the historic Sterling Hardware Building on Sixth Avenue between Island and Market in the Gaslamp Quarter, the historic focus of the building aims to pair old San Diego with new contemporary visions. 

I was thrilled to provide flowers for the opening night of the Sparks Gallery for their debut group show, ONE ON ONE.  Being that Sonya is one of my past brides, I was in complete awe to see her passion come to life in such a gorgeous and unique space. The opening was buzzing with an energetic crowd of hipsters, art enthusiasts, patrons, featured artists and fellow creators hoping to see their work showcased at Sparks Gallery one day.

For me, I also felt like I was on display as our signature Adorations floral arrangement of seasonal blooms was part of the bar setup with smaller garden centerpieces set amongst the lounge tables. We choose flowers in various bright colors for the POP ART effect of our palette.  

As a wedding industry professional, I fell in love with the grandeur of the historic Sterling Hardware building and the amount of work that went into restoring such an amazing space. The original floors and brick walls were restored by hand to create an elegant balance between industrial and handcrafted detail work, and they designed the space so the fixtures, knobs, paint colors, and other details are all vintage (from 1924 or earlier) to fit with the era of the historic building. Apparently this building’s past included a vaudeville theater with a trapeze lady, carriage repair shop and a hardware store, while its inevitable that its future home will include many stunning events, as Sparks Gallery is available for wedding and event rentals.

Sonya explained that they recently added industrial steel columns and seismic bracing to their building, so our capacity limit was raised from 50 people in 2012 (before renovations to the space) to 348 people this year. They’ve also added a whole new upper level mezzanine and interior structure with a kitchen, restrooms, office, and elevator lift to the second floor.

 While the main focus of Sparks Gallery will always remain to exhibit local San Diego artists, it’s possible they may consider expanding to national or global artists in the future but with several group and solo shows coming up this year along with the creation of a guest curatorial program for local curators, Sparks Gallery is already flourishing with a new show going up every month. They are also looking forward to hosting occasional seminars and other performance-based events, such as music or spoken word. Announcements for all these shows will be posted via social media and through their email newsletter.

 As for Adorations, we are so excited to have the Sparks Gallery just walking distance from our studio for inspiration as well as having the opportunity to contribute flowers for their upcoming events.

“I didn’t even need to see what LaVonne was making ahead of time,” remarks Sonya about the opening night florals. “I knew it would be wonderful because her artistic eye for arrangement is amazing, and the quality and freshness of her flowers is perfect every time.”

Sparks Gallery is located at 530 6th Avenue in downtown San Diego, CA. For more information visit or call 619.696.1416

 Photography provided by Sparks Gallery. Cocktails: Snake Oil Cocktails.
Architect: Hanna Gabriel Wells. Restoration Contractor: Wilson Construction.