We’re a Telluride, Colorado, non-profit. We take on local, social issues through the creative performing lens, in whichever medium suits our purpose. It could be theater, film, music or dance and maybe more. We believe that by engaging audiences through the arts creates stronger communities.
SPARKy Productions was established in 1998 by two local Telluride mothers, Jennie Franks and
Katie Jewitt; who saw there was a need to educate young people about HIV/AIDS in small towns such as Telluride, Colorado. So, they made a film, SOFT SMOKE, AIDS IN THE RURAL WEST, which was shown each year at the Telluride High School and also in Health Departments and film festivals all over the country as an educational tool.
Since then SPARKy has made two more children’s films. The award winning THE BALLAD OF AURTHUR MULDOON, with Terry Jones of Monty Python and with over 100 local Telluride children and TELLURIDE, LIT UP LIKE THE FOURTH OF JULY. For the next 10 ten years SPARKy
produced THE TELLURIDE PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL bringing professional actors, playwrights and
directors from major theatre companies all over the country; coming to town each summer to
workshop new plays for Telluride audiences.
For the last year of the Festival in 2016, SPARKy produced an original play written and researched by Jennie Franks called THE HISPANIC WOMEN’S PROJECT. The play was based on
true stories of local Latinas who work and live in the region. It was performed for five nights at
The Sheridan Opera House by local women of all ethnicities. The play’s sold-out performances
and due to generosity of the community, generated the SPARK Latina Scholarship Fund.
SPARKy is committed to continue to raise money for the SPARK Latina Scholarship Fund.
SPARKy is also committed to raise awareness through the performing arts. SPARKy’s next
project is TAMING WILD THOUGHTS, a dance/theatre performance, with prima ballerina Valerie
Madonia and actor Jennie Franks to be performed at the Michael D. Palm Theater in July 2021.
SPARKy Productions is committed to keeping alive the diverse cultural life of rural communities through theatre, film and music and educate all segments of the community.
taming wild thoughts, a dance/theater project featuring Valerie Madonia and Jennie Franks is currently in rehearsal but -
Due to the Covid 19 virus, we are delaying our production till 2021.
We are planning something special for you next year. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, we have just awarded our fifth SPARKy Latina Scholarship to Brenda Gutierrez Ruiz. She will be going to Fort Lewis to become a teacher. Please consider donating to the Scolarship Fund.
We've just had our first SPARKy Scholarship Graduate, Cindy Matamoros. After receiving a wonderful job offer, Cindy has moved to Oklahoma. She is also part of our SPARKy Family mentoring young Latinas throughout their college lives. We not only give money to help the girls but we're with them every step of the way, to ensure their success.
Please consider donating to our Scholarship Fund to help us continue to help young girls succeed.
Jennie Franks is an English actor, playwright and lyricist. She has performed on the London stage and on television and film. In New York she performed her one woman show STUCK and Dr. Freeman and Hilda. In 2016 she wrote The Hispanic Women’s Project in order to shine awareness on the lives of local, Hispanic women in the community. Through the production The SPARKy Latina Scholarship Fund was created.
Valerie Madonia has had a 20-year professional dancing career. She has also performed throughout the Rocky Mountains + Southwestern Colorado with her own project based company, Alpine Dance. She has appeared in six PBS Dance in America Specials and is featured in four dance books. In 1998 she founded the Telluride Dance Academy, now Palm Arts Dance.
The Sparky Board
Barbara Hinterkopf | President
Rachel Shaw Bowers | Vice President
Jennie Franks | Artistic Director
Alan Towbin | Treasurer
Arline Baker | Secretary
Joanne Steinbeck | Fundraising
Melanie S. McGlade | Fundraising
Ashley Williamson | School Liaison
Cindy Matamoros | Latina Student Mentor
The Hispanic Women's Project
To date SPARKy has sent four girls to college and is committed to continuing to help young Latinas go to college by supporting them throughout their college years in all ways.
Please consider donating to SPARKy...
...so we can keep producing relevant, extraordinary theater and keep sending young Latinas off to college. The SPARKy Latina Scholarship Fund is managed by The Telluride Foundation. If you would like to be involved in these amazing young women’s lives by helping and mentoring them, please contact us.
The Latina Scholarship Fund
The SPARKy Latina Scholarship Fund aims to honor promising, young Latinas and raise awareness of the contributions of Hispanic women in the Telluride region, by providing scholarships to Latina graduates of Telluride and Norwood High Schools.
Please consider donating to SPARKy.
Erika and Brenda
Thank you! I am honored to have received the SPARKy Scholarship. I hope I can make all of the women who told their stories to all of you PROUD. THANK YOU again because without this scholarship these possibilities wouldn't have been available to me. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.
Fort Lewis College, Durango
I want to thank all of you so much for giving me this opportunity to be able to go to college. If it
wasn’t for your decision to choose me for this scholarship, I would have no hope to be able to
attend college. This scholarship is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me.
Colorado Mesa College, Grand Junction
I wanted to thank each and every one of you for helping me every step of the way. You have inspired me to keep pushing and follow my dreams. I am about to be the first in my family to graduate from college! I am a young Hispanic female graduating in December. It brings tears to my eyes because I never thought I would financially be able to be here but with your help, you have helped me succeed and be able to finish school. No words could ever say thank you enough because truly I am grateful for everything y’all have done for me.
I can’t thank SPARKy enough for what they have done for me. I have met some empowering and wonderful women through this program. I have unlimited support from them both in Denver and when I come home to Norwood/Telluride. I am forever grateful and only hope to be as inspiring as the whom I’ve met thanks to SPARKy.
Regis College, Denver
I would like to thank you and the organization for giving me the opportunity of continuing my studies. It has shown me I can grow as a person and student. Thank you for supporting me.