Lune Spark Center for Creativity is a passion project for its founder, Pawan Mishra. “I grew up in a very small town in India,” he says. “I used to write stories, and there was no one who was a professional writer around me who could guide me.”
Mishra published a novel, titled “Coinman: An Untold Conspiracy” in 2015, and a nonfiction book, titled “On Writing Wonderfully: The Craft of Creative Fiction Writing” in 2017. He now strives to guide developing artists and writers through Lune Spark Center for Creativity, which opened its doors in Apex in August 2022. “I often thought that being an artist was a gift—that you could never learn art; you were born with it—because that’s how the media often projects those things,” he says. He hopes to disabuse up-and-coming artists of this notion by teaching them the skills they need to thrive, and by offering them opportunities to develop mentoring relationships with working artists.
Lune Spark is a loose translation of Mishra’s father’s name. His father’s teaching career inspires Mishra’s work at the center, which offers two areas of service. The arts academy trains children and adults in artistic disciplines via weekly classes, weeklong camps and day camps. Lune Spark’s studio services are available to artists and businesses who wish to record music, create videos or take on other projects that require professional-grade equipment. This gives them access to a sound studio, audio and video equipment, and production assistance from the staff.
Currently, Lune Spark employs a diverse staff of more than a dozen instructors who teach classes in visual arts, digital design, acting, creative writing, filmmaking, songwriting, music and video production, and other art and design skills. Instructors are required to be working artists in the fields they teach, ensuring both passion for their work and expertise in their subject areas.
The teaching staff is chock-full of talent. Timothy Word, for example, teaches music production and songwriting. Known professionally as Sonny King, Word has won numerous awards in his field, including a recent Emmy and four Global Music Awards. Michelle Dunn has been a professional flutist for 30 years. Luis Torres has been a professional artist and illustrator for over a decade. Since Lune Spark’s goal is to connect new artists with mentors in their fields, as well as help them build artistic skills, the center seeks to employ staff who can talk about what life is like for people who work in these fields. The center employs full-time teachers rather than hourly contract instructors in order to reduce staff turnover. “That way, [teachers] develop a multi-year relationship with children and it’s more of a platform for mentoring,” Mishra says, adding that this ensures students “basically get very personal attention from the teachers in terms of what their needs are.”
Lune Spark also sets itself apart from other creativity centers in terms of the equipment it provides. Instructors train students with the same kind of equipment that professionals in their fields use. “We’ve made a really large investment in our space to be able to offer a really best-in-class learning environment,” says Center Director Alyse Spiehler. “[We offer] a professional recording studio, so students are able to learn from hands-on experience. The same is true for our other classes … Our students who make movies make them in front of a professional green screen.”
Lune Spark takes a similar approach to visual art supplies. “Even 7-year-olds are learning with the highest-quality watercolors and graphite pencils, and are able to learn on supplies that are professional-grade,” Spiehler says. “So as soon as you’re enrolled in a class, you’re going to be learning with the best teachers, in the best space, with the best supplies, and on equipment available to artists in the field.”
The Student Experience
Lune Spark students range in age from 7 through adult. While most of the programs are attended by children via the camp offerings, about a third of the certification course participants are adults. “We hope to see students of all ages in our center,” Mishra says. “We have seen a trend where, specifically, the senior population is interested in doing these courses—because when they were working, they were engaged with high-pressure jobs,” Mishra says. “Now they [are retired and] want to come back to learning art.”
Lune Spark’s camps are available to children ages 7–12. Weekly full-day camps currently cost $295 and focus on two themes—most often filmmaking and 2D animation—while also bringing in related skills. Single-day camps cost $90 and tend to focus more on visual arts.
Students who take certification courses pay $195 per month on an ongoing basis until they end their subscription. They can progress through five levels, starting with beginner and ending with master. The courses last 50 minutes, and all materials are incorporated into the tuition. “We believe in helping students at every stage of development no matter how old or young they are,” Spiehler says. “Artists who have a passion in either developing a new artistic skill or diving deeper into one that they’ve loved for years … are able to develop their passion for the arts no matter where they are in their artistic development.”
Lune Spark Center for Creativity is located at 3651 Green Level West Road, Suite 102, in Apex. Learn more at lunespark.com.