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Sparking a year of arts and science

By Debbie Farris

SPARK, a yearlong celebration of the convergence of the arts and science

There is no one approach to solve the urgent problems of today and tomorrow. They demand the inspiration and genius of multiple disciplines and multiple perspectives.

The College of Science is thrilled to present SPARK, a yearlong celebration of the convergence of the arts and science to elevate the relationship between the arts and science at OSU, their critical interplay with each other, and the rich partnerships and collaborations that make it all possible.

This initiative is a collaboration between the Colleges of Science, Education, Liberal Arts and Honors College, and the OSU Library and Press with support from the Division of Outreach and Engagement.

With more than 60 events planned throughout the year from Corvallis to Bend, the coast and Portland, SPARK will attract and engage OSU students, faculty and staff as well as the Corvallis community and alumni throughout the region and state.

SPARK advances OSU’s strategic goal of creating transformative learning experiences for all Oregonians through collaboration across the arts and science. It is also at the heart of the university's mission: the continuous search for new knowledge and solutions.

SPARK will explore the work that crosses these boundaries and creates positive change in the world through regional, national and international scientists, artists, educators and some of the most innovative thinkers who champion the value of and arts and science approach to solving the world’s most pressing problems.

SPARK celebrates the tremendous and exciting progress that OSU faculty, students, and alumni have made and continue to achieve in order to make Oregon and the world a better place.

The first event welcomes best-selling science fiction author David Brin, whose 1985 novel The Postman was set largely in Corvallis and at Oregon State. He will present a talk, “Storytelling in Novels and Film: Adaptations,” October 4 at 6 p.m. at OSU’s LaSells Stewart Center in the Construction and Engineering Hall. The lecture will focus partly on The Postman, and include film clips of the 1997 movie loosely based on the book as well as feature readings by Brin.

The SPARK reception kicks off the year on Friday, October 7, 2016, and features music, art, wine and hors d'oeuvres. Please join us for this celebration from 4-6 pm on the 3rd floor of the Learning Innovation Center (LInC).

An early SPARK event was a research cruise on the Pacific led by senior researcher at Hatfield Marine Science Center Sarah Henkel who set sail with her research team, as well as an artist, recent fine arts graduate Abigail Losli. This excursion was funded by the Colleges of Science and Liberal Arts excursion.

The finale will be a grand event celebrating one of the most significant science events of our time: Total Eclipse of the Sun. The Solar Eclipse takes place in August 2017.

Why this matters

As research across K-12/higher education, policy, and private industry increasingly demonstrates, art+science is a significant driver of economic development in our communities, in our region and in our nation; of personal and professional success, of innovation, and more.

While SPARK will certainly enhance awareness about the value of arts and science, the project also seeks to:

  • Enhance opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration between arts and science faculty, students, staff, and the public
  • Create opportunities for the community to meaningfully engage with the arts+science work happening at Oregon State University
  • Communicate the tremendous value of interdisciplinary skill sets to T-shaped professional development in our 21st-century society
  • Demonstrate the value of art+science collaboration as broader impacts of higher education to society

We invite you to participate, collaborate, exchange, and engage in a sustained dialogue with those in the arts and science at the College of Science, the University and beyond. You will have the opportunity to create, to dream, to study, to explore, to learn, to teach, to grow, to solve.

Be sure to check the website or follow us on social media for the latest events, new sand updates: and @osuspark on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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