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  5. Spark Summit 2022

December 9th, 2022
9:30AM – 2:30PM

Location: CIC District Hall
Matunuck Room
225 Dyer St, Providence, RI 02903
Fee: Free
Provided: Breakfast and a Networking Lunch

Emerging Creatives*:

9:30AM – 2:30PM

Industry Leaders:

12PM – 2:30PM

Emerging Creatives Only
* As part of your registration, you are required to fill out the following form from the RI Department of Labor and Training. This form takes about 5 minutes to complete and requires you to upload picture of a photo ID. Please complete this form before attending the Spark Summit.

Discover Talent | Connect Opportunities | Be Inspired

The SPARK DESIGN Summit brings together early or mid-career creatives and those who are well-established in the design ecosystem of Rhode Island. Join us to get to know the existing and future design talent, or attend professional development workshops geared toward getting you started in the design and creative workforce.

– Gain insight into employer and employee needs, challenges and opportunities    

– Collaborate with participants from across the design ecosystem 

– Experience new ways of thinking and define new frontiers for design in RI 

Who should attend: 

Industry leaders: Design leaders, employers, community members as well as higher education staff, professors and department heads.
This groups will attend from 12PM – 2:30PM for a networking lunch with the emerging creatives as well as a roundtable discussion with Ellie Brown.

Emerging Creatives: This group creatives will participate in a 9:30AM – 2:30PM day of two workshops, a networking lunch (lunch is provided) and a roundtable discussion. You will walk away with a certificate of completion for a 1/2 day of professional development. Visit our website to learn more about the workshop leaders.

What to expect: 

SPARK DESIGN will offer a mix of interactive, educational and social experiences, all designed to maximize engagement potential between participants. You can expect lively community discussions, participatory inquiry, networking opportunities and workshops.

SPARK DESIGN was born out of a mission to bridge the gaps between design leaders and next generation designers, teachers, innovators, and students – to connect real world inspiration with the future of design. Globally, design is a force driving the future in technology, experience and commerce. Locally, the design sector is a powerful and dynamic field – leading in innovation, solutions and global connection. 

Rhode Island’s design ecosystem: 

11 Colleges and Universities 

1100+ graduates of design each year 

2,000+ design employers 

3rd most creative sector jobs in the U.S. 

1 state founded on innovation and maverick leadership 


Sara Ossana

Sara Ossana (she/they) is a world-builder, artist, designer, scholar and educator. They are originally from Arizona and are a founding partner and former co-owner of O&G Studio. They consider themselves an ‘undisciplined’ creative, working between and within various modalities including, but not limited to: film, theatre, product design, furniture, narrative environments, manufacturing and various art practices. Sara is currently faculty at RISD in Furniture and Interior Architecture and was full-time faculty at Brown in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies. Sara is committed to the Rhode Island Design landscape, and is currently also the Board Vice President at DESIGNxRI.

Aarin B. Clemons, Workforce Manager

Aarin Clemons joined Polaris MEP in 2021 as Workforce Coordinator and was quickly promoted to Manager as he took on leading roles in key initiatives such as the Fast Track to Manufacturing program. Before joining their team he most recently served as General Manager and Brand + Culture Director for The Dean Hotel. Recognized by the Rhode Island Hospitality & Tourism Association in 2017 as the Emerging Leader of the Year, he brings operational skills proven in both in-house and public-facing initiatives. The United Way named him a “Champion of Adult Learning” in 2019 in honor of the adult learning programming he created for The Dean Hotel. Aarin holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Johnson & Wales University.

Nick Scappaticci

As the founder of BIG DREAMS, Nick drives corporations, governments and brands through high-level operational and strategic change. He leads a staff of strategists, designers and technologists that explore the complex challenges of our time by crafting imaginative narratives to accelerate a more equitable and sustainable future. Prior to BIG DREAMS, Nick was founder of Tellart, an award winning globally recognized experiential design firm. Nick serves as President of the DesignxRI Board and regularly speaks and teaches about Design Methods for Innovation, Experience Design, Understanding Futures, to name a few.

Ellie Brown

Ellie Brown is a native of Boston, MA where she attended Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She received her B.F.A. in Media Arts in 1997 and her M.F.A. in Pictorial Arts from San Jose State University in 2002. Ellie has received numerous awards including: a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, a Leeway Foundation grant, featured artist from Women in Photography International, the Calumet Award from the Print Center in Philadelphia.  Ellie has attended artist in residencies in Iceland at the NES Artist Residency, at the Santa Fe Art Institute on a full fellowship, Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, FL with acclaimed photographer Graciela Iturbide and a residency in Costa Rica at the David and Julia White Artist Colony. Both her bookwork and photographs have been exhibited extensively nationally and internationally including Mexico, England, Switzerland, Romania, Greece, with a solo exhibition at the Galeria Nacional in Costa Rica. The Center for the Book Arts in NYC exhibited a solo show entitled A Chronicle of Lovers in 2009. From 2000- 2017 Ellie taught as a part-time and full-time lecturer in photography, digital media and 2D at many Colleges and Universities. Ellie served as a Visiting Professor position of Digital Information at the University of Ulsan, South Korea in 2008. Her latest work, Sundown, explored her father’s early onset Alzheimer’s disease and ultimate demise. She has shown this work extensively around New England and curated an exhibition called Care: Give and Take about Dementia and Alzheimer’s.  She is founder of POP!sicle Marketing and is the Executive Director at DESIGNxRI in Providence, RI.

SPARK DESIGN Summit Schedule

9:30AM – 10AM

Welcome Coffee and Breakfast and remarks from DxRI ED Ellie Brown

10:15AM – 11:00AM

Workshop: Unearthing Your Values for Empowerment

Led by Sara Ossana

11:15AM – 12:00PM

“And I’ll form the _______”
Modern tactics for effective teams

Led by Aarin B. Clemons

12:00PM – 1:00PM

Networking Lunch Activity

Led by Nick Scappaticci

1:00PM – 2:00PM

Round Table Discussion with Industry Professionals : Connection in the Dots: Building the Pipeline with Care

Facilitated by Nick Scappaticci

1:00PM – 2:00PM

Round Table Discussion with Emerging Designers : Connection in the Dots: Building the Pipeline with Care

Facilitated by Ellie Brown

2:00PM – 2:30PM

Groups rejoin for a community discussion