Gallery Information

Regular Hours
Mon - Fri: 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Sat: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm

Show Change: July 24 - Aug 2
Labor Day: Sept 4
Show Change: Sept 25 – 29
Show Change: Oct 30 – Nov 3
Thanksgiving: Nov 22 - 24
Show Change: Dec 4 – 8
Christmas: Dec 24 - 25
NYE & Show Change: Dec 31 - Jan 5

Sparks Art Gallery Downtown Parking Map
San Diego Event Rental - San Diego Art Gallery
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.


San Diego Venue Rental The Gallery was awarded the 2015 People in Preservation Award for Adaptive Reuse by Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO).

Corporate Event Venue Downtown San Diego Gaslamp 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
San Diego Venue Rental

“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.

Sparks Art Gallery San Diego

The Sparks Gallery Team:

Sparks Art Gallery Staff

Sonya Sparks, Owner and Curator at Sparks Gallery

Sonya 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.

Sonya Sparks“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 Amaya

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.

Emily Knapp

Emily KnappIn over a decade working in advertising and marketing in NYC Emily Knapp helped global brands fight malaria, handcraft small batch whiskey, launch first generation technology products, and bring manufacturing at scale back to America. After spending 2016 traveling the country with her husband, Knapp recently settled in San Diego where she plans to channel her talent for building brands into supporting and promoting Sparks Gallery's many talented artists.

Magdalena Johnson

Magdalena JohnsonAs our event coordinator, Magdalena is responsible for planning and executing workshops and events at the gallery. Magdalena has 10+ years of experience working in the event industry, from catering to conventions and business networking events, music events and festivals. She also has experience in sales and marketing. Personally, Magdalena is on a continuous quest of exploring herself as an artist, from painting to jewelry making, singing and dancing.

Barry Wilson

Barry WilsonBarry received his B.S., M.S., and PhD. degrees in the biological sciences and immunology from the University of Illinois. After Eighteen years as a scientist and educator in cancer research at The Scripps Research Institute, University of Michigan Medical School and Hybritech, Inc., Barry obtained a law degree from University of San Diego and worked as a patent attorney in various law firms (until 2013). Barry is the President and co-owner of a real-estate investment company which owns the Sterling Hardware Building (Sparks Gallery), among others. After his role as a co-general contractor for the adaptive reuse of the property into an art gallery, Barry continues to manage the property and volunteers at the gallery.