The Sparks Gallery is housed within the historic Sterling Hardware Building in San Diego’s vibrant Gaslamp Quarter, located between Island & Market on Sixth Avenue. Sparks Gallery is an event space and represents contemporary artwork by artists living in San Diego and Southern CA.
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The Gallery was awarded the 2015 People in Preservation Award for Adaptive Reuse by Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO).
Available for corporate events in the San Diego Gaslamp Quarter
- Building max capacity: 348 occupants
- Street level access and views of 6th Ave in the Gaslamp
- 4500 square foot ground floor
- 1500 square foot mezzanine
- 500 square foot exterior patio
- New ADA-accessible second story mezzanine level (lift) and accessible men & women’s restrooms
- Central kitchen with ADA-compliant refrigerator, warming drawers, sink, ice maker, freezer, dish washer, & microwave
- Temperature controlled with a/c
- High speed internet available upon request
- Artwork on walls; couches
- Cocktail tables: 6x metal hand-forged, wood-topped belly tables plus 2x rolling coffees table for use
- 1920’s period design: Carrera marble, vintage light fixtures, fire-escape railing style, historic paint colors, and restored original maple floorboards
- Outside catering available – learn about our approved vendors or pre-approve your vendor
- “Clean & Safe” Gaslamp Program Downtown
“Sterling Hardware Building” History
Historical preservation is important to the Sparks Gallery and the space has been restored to a 1920s design, while keeping to an industrial, yet elegant design that would have suited the building’s original purposes.
The “Sterling Hardware Building” was built in 1924 and designated as a historic building in the early 1980s when the Gaslamp Quarter was created.
Originally the 50x100’ lot was sold by real estate developer, Alonzo Horton, in 1867 for $150. The lot was later split into two separate properties of 25x100’ and sold separately. The north lot held a vaudeville theater, named “The Standard Theater”, specializing in variety shows and trapeze artists from 1888-1890.
The south lot held a three story building with levels for carriage repair and painting and upper level room rentals. Later, the space was mainly occupied by C. Holle Company, maker of specialized glass, from 1911-1914.
In 1904, Moritz Trepte, a German immigrant and carpenter, purchased the north half for $10. Trepte became “one of the Pacific Southwest’s leading contractors” and one can see his stamp on many old sidewalks throughout San Diego.
Kier construction purchased both lots and built the current structure in 1924. The Sterling Company, seller of second-hand goods and tools, resided in the building in the 1970s, when it was developed into a corporate building.
The Sparks Gallery Team:
Sonya Sparks, Owner and Curator at Sparks GallerySonya Sparks launched the Sparks Gallery in downtown San Diego in 2013. The gallery reopened on March 1st, 2015 after restoration to the historic building.
Sonya studied art in conjunction with obtaining her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration at the University of San Diego.
“I always wanted to be involved in the arts and remember drawing, painting, and taking photographs at a young age. I studied art at the University of San Diego but decided to major in Business Administration instead of art, because the art scene in San Diego wasn’t very open to new hires at the time (early 2000s). After working for 8 years in international business and web development, I felt it was time to start something new. My family encouraged me to start my own business and I just jumped right into it without looking back. I decided to combine my interest in art with my business background to start an art gallery that focused on the local art scene. My family also helped with the restoration and design of the space, and it has been a great family project to work on together.” --Sparks / Read More...
Jessica AmayaJessica Amaya is the Gallery Operations Director at Sparks Gallery. Hailing from Los Angeles, Jessica was a Founding Volunteer at LA Plaza de Cultura y Arts in Los Angeles and also worked for the Los Angeles Art Show. She has been a guest speaker for the AjA Project program at Barrio Logan College Institute for under-served children in San Diego and was selected to join the Steering Committee for Rising Arts Leaders of San Diego in 2016.
Jessica received a B.A. in Global Humanities with a Minor in Educational Technology from San Diego State University. She worked in human resources management for several prominent companies in Los Angeles and the San Diego area prior to her transition into the arts.