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SPARC 2021: Coming Together After a Year of Isolation

Kayla Cooper

Mount St. Mary's view of Bradley

We all know that April showers bring May flowers, but what does the end of March bring April here at the Mount? The SPARC Festival!

cluster of purple flowersMy first “would be” introduction to SPARC was in March of 2020, which consequently was canceled due to COVID. This time last year, I was slowly becoming more involved in Lighted Corners Art and Literary Magazine, working as the Assistant Fiction Editor for the 39th edition. My upperclassmen friends, and the rest of the editorial team, were excitedly babbling on about SPARC and the upcoming presentation of the magazine at the festival. That is, until it got canceled, leaving many people in the Mount community feeling disheartened during an already difficult and confusing time.

Only having been a Freshman at the time, I didn't initially grasp the importance of SPARC to the Mount. I was excited for the festival, and knew it was a special community event, but I wasn't all that phased when it was canceled due to COVID. I was disappointed, sure, but I hadn't yet developed an intrinsic sense of community at the Mount to fully feel the blow of SPARC being canceled.

Flashforward to the beginning of April 2021, and I have certainly developed an intrinsic sense of being a part of the Mount community. Not having experienced SPARC last year has only motivated me, making my involvement in Lighted Corners all the more meaningful. As a result, I had the pleasure of working with a team of other LC staff members to plan the presentation of the Lighted Corners Art and Literary magazine at this year’s SPARC festival. cherry blossoms sky view

Due to SPARC having been canceled last year, this year’s festival carries with it a level of caution, but also hope, excitement, and a sense of closure for the Mount. As a community we have grieved a multitude of losses, whether they be individual or collective, which I now fully feel the weight of and understand. Being able to have SPARC this year, even in a hybrid format, provides our community with newfound hope of campus wide involvement after a year of isolation. SPARC this year has provided a sense of closure for students and faculty after a tumultuous, although ultimately successful, academic year of online and hybrid learning.

I, for one, am beyond excited at the fact that we are able to have SPARC again. Many Mounties, including myself, were hard at work behind the scenes so that we could make the festival as successful and engaging as possible. Sure, I'm excited to finally show off our beautiful, thoughtfully crafted 40th edition of Lighted Corners Art and Literary Magazine, but I'm just as excited (if not more so) that we can finally take small steps towards safely engaging with the Mount community in the way that we are meant to: together, as one.

As always, thank you for reading. Be sure to check out the other My View of MSMU bloggers this week!

Kayla Cooper