Carter Sparks : Architect, Modernist, Friend

photo courtesy Jennifer Sparks

(There are NEW and EXTENDED gallery hours for the exhibit through closing on Oct. 25th: M&W 10:30-4:00 pm, T&Th 10:00-7:00 pm, Fridays 9:00-4:00 pm & Saturday Oct 21st 10:00-2:00 pm.   Please see map and parking notes at bottom of page.)

Sacramento Modern is pleased to present Carter Sparks : Architect, Modernist, Friend, opening October 4th at the Kondos Gallery located on the Sacramento City College campus. 

Sparks is one of Sacramento’s most recognized and beloved Modernist architects, and is best known for his work with Streng Brothers Homes. Alone, as the architect for the Streng Brothers, Sparks contributed to over 3,000 modern residences in the Sacramento Region. In addition to these plentiful examples, Sparks designed commercial and civic buildings and many custom homes for individual clients, ranging in feature and style from modest low-slung concrete block and plywood structures, to expressionist forms employing hyperbolic roofs and symphonic beam play, to larger cathedrals of redwood and glass.

Architectural rendering of the Fava Residence, 1956 by Carter Sparks

A charismatic individual, and ardent believer that an architect’s design should be based on an extended study of clients’ wants, needs and personality, Sparks forged close and enduring friendships with many of them. This exhibition will feature early drawings, renderings, photographs, models and ephemera surveying Sparks’ output from the early 1950s, until the early 1990s.

Detail from Norskog Residence, 1963/1980. Photograph by Justin Wood

Sparks studied engineering at Oregon State University before his studies were interrupted by WWII, during which he served as an ensign air navigator for the Navy. He resumed his studies after the war, and in 1950 earned a Bachelor of the Arts in Architecture from UC Berkeley. Sparks worked as a draftsman for two architectural firms in San Francisco: first for Mario Corbett, and later with Anshen and Allen (who designed homes for Joseph Eichler). In Sacramento, he was a designer with Gordon Stafford. After earning his state license, Sparks opened his own firm in 1954. He partnered with Donald Thaden for a few years, but primarily worked as a sole practitioner.Sparks was born on February 26, 1923 and passed away October 30, 1996.

Exhibition runs from October 4 -25, 2017 with an opening reception October 11th from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.  

The exhibit is FREE, but parking is not—and is enforced 24/7; be sure to purchase a parking permit at one of the machines in the North Lot ($2 CASH ONLY) or Parking Structure ($2).

There are NEW and EXTENDED gallery hours for the exhibit through closing on Oct. 25th: M&W 10:30-4:00 pm, T&Th 10:00-7:00 pm, Fridays 9:00-4:00 pm & Saturday Oct 21st 10:00-2:00 pm. 

Curated by Sacramento artist Justin Wood of the Carter Sparks Archive ( www.cartersparks.org ) and Sacramento Modern ( www.sacmod.org ).

For inquiries and sponsorship opportunities, please contact sparksarchive (at) gmail.com

Donate to help support the Carter Sparks : Architect, Modernist, Friend exhibition:

Photograph of the Clauss Residence, 1963. Photographer unknown, possibly John Clauss

Sacramento Art Institute Projects : New Tech, Old Places

This past December, Board members Justin Wood and Zann Gates had the opportunity to represent Sacramento Modern for the Art Institute of California – Sacramento’s Special Topics class. The class, run by instructor Jay Truesdale, positioned SacMod as a hypothetical client. The students were asked to apply their artistic sensibilities and imagine ways in which newer technologies could help Sacramento Modern achieve some of its goals : preservation, awareness and education.

From an initial presentation with 5 teams, 3 remaining teams presented their work at the ZionVR gaming center in Sacramento. 

We would like to thank all of the students who put a great deal of thought and work into their proposals and projects, instructor Jay Truesdale, as well as special juror Laura Wood, and the AIA Central Valley for hosting the initial round of presentations.

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City of Sacramento Open Call : Ethel MacLeod Hart Interior Restoration Project

Entrance, Vintage Postcard

Ethel McLeod Hart Senior Center, 915 27th St, Sacramento, CA

Opened in 1961 and designed by Herbert Goodpastor, A.I.A, the Ethel Hart Senior Citizen’s Center located in Marshall Park “symbolize[d] the hopes and dreams of our senior citizens, City Government and a great number of citizens dedicated to the welfare and recreation of our elder population.”

The design was featured in Architectural Record in December of 1962. The “Social Center in a City Park” building was “designed in the round to be viewed from all directions in its block-square park.” It featured a large arc shaped club room that could be divided or expanded into larger or smaller rooms with a massive fieldstone fireplace at one end.

Finishes of stone and vertical fir siding were used both inside and out, with porcelain paneled facias. The central core of the building was a planted court open to the sky viewable thorough the safety glass corridor that surrounded it. There were two doors on either end of the court which one could traverse through upon large circular concrete pavers.

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June 18th, 2016: Next Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour!

SacMod’s highly praised and most requested event is back! Join SacMod (Sacramento Modern) on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at the Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour from 9AM to 3PM. Tickets sold online here.  To order tickets by phone, please call Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006. Phone orders are available 24/7.

Details below!

Our 2016 tour will feature a wide variety of mid-20th century living — highlighting the time period’s distinctive architecture, design, and lifestyle. Spend a fun day touring some of Sacramento’s best mid-century homes, gardens, and vehicles in Sacramento’s beautiful South Land Park, Land Park, and Hollywood Park neighborhoods. From minimalist to kitsch, moderns to ranch homes, and everything in between. Our collectible guidebook features in-depth historic information, related points of interest, and local vintage resources.

Space is limited — buy your tickets early to ensure you don’t miss out!
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Charles Phoenix: Sacramentoland

A Live Comedy Slide Show Performance Celebrating the Capitol City like it’s a Big Theme Park!  
Charles Phoenix:  Sacramentoland - October 16, 2015
Charles Phoenix: Sacramentoland – October 16, 2015
Brown Paper Tickets Buy Now
Brown Paper Tickets Buy Now

Prepare for your local pride to SWELLL when Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, sweeps us away on a madcap adventure as he uncovers the stories and glories of Sacramento’s classic and kitschy landmarks and lore.

With his gracious sense of humor, unbridled enthusiasm, and keen expertise,  Charles lavishes the city’s most colorful “attractions” with the respect they SO deserve; revealing the unique style, backstories, and pop-cultural significance of Pancake Circus, Jim Denny’s, Iceland Skating Rink, Gunther’s Ice Cream, Vic’s Ice Cream, Sam’s Hofbrau, County Club Lanes, Fairytale Town, Tower Theatre, Crest Theatre, and Old Town.  

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City Council to Decide Fate of Capitol Towers Historic District on 7.14.15

Save Capitol Towers

On July 14, 2015, the Sacramento City Council will be making important decisions regarding Capitol Towers Historic District. This established neighborhood and urban oasis has been a highly successful example for a livable, walkable, densely populated, and public transit-oriented district for over 50 years. It has also been receiving national attention and architectural acclaim, as evidenced in this recent article.

Capitol Towers is also home to a vital urban tree canopy, which cleans the air and helps counterbalance the increasing heat island effect downtown.

We believe there is a solution that can meet the mutual goals of the owner, the City, and the community. We believe that in doing so, we can find an answer that makes the proposed Sacramento Commons project — which is still in its early conceptual phases — even better.

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Historic Mercury Cleaners Neon Sign Reinstalled!

Video courtesy of Roberta Deering

On June 26, 2015, the historic Mercury Cleaners Neon Sign (circa 1946-47) was returned to 16th Street near O Street in Sacramento. SacMod was happy to be invited to participate in the relighting ceremony! The sign and business were integrated across the street from their original location and into the new Legado de Ravel Apartments complex. 

Hats off to:

CADA for understanding the importance and relevance of the Mercury Cleaners sign and working so hard to return it to 16th Street;

• To Pacific Neon for their skilled renovation;

• To all who helped behind the scenes on this project — many individuals and organizations were involved.

Our City’s historic neon signs are cultural artifacts and landmarks. They are handmade works of art. They provide a sense of place and tell the story of our city’s past.

Unfortunately, we’ve been losing them at an alarming rate. There used to be thousands — and now there are only around 100. They are lost to disrepair, abandonment, and redevelopment.

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A Call to Action – Help Save Capitol Towers Historic District!

captowers_buttonWe need your help to save Capitol Towers Historic District. You can help by speaking up at public hearings and by writing letters opposing its demolition. Upcoming hearing dates and an easy-to-use online form are listed below.

Capitol Towers is an established mixed-use neighborhood in the heart of downtown Sacramento. Its award-winning design includes the interplay of high-rises, individual low-rise garden apartments, green spaces, recreational areas, and car-free bicycle and pedestrian areas. Even after over 50 years, the Capitol Towers neighborhood remains a highly successful model for a livable, walkable, densely populated, and public transit-oriented downtown community.

 

Capitol Towers has been deemed a historic district by Federal and State law. The City of Sacramento’s Preservation Director and Preservation Commission have also determined it is a local landmark. At every hearing in 2014, experts unanimously voted in favor of its historical importance. However, these decisions are not enough to save it. That is why we need your help.

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Capital Decades 1960s at the Sacramento Library

Capital Decades 1960s
Capital Decades 1960s

On May 12th, 2015 at 6:30 pm. we are joining our friends at the Sacramento Public Library again this year for “Capital Decades: 1960s.” We’ll be teaming with James Scott for “The Best of Times, the Toughest of Times: Sacramento Life, Leisure and Reaction to that Damned War in Southeast Asia.”  Join us and reminisce or learn about our local history!