September 17th through the 20th was a lively time to be in Raleigh, NC.  Over the course of four days, downtown Raleigh hosted the highly anticipated (by those “in the know”) SparkCon event.  Restaurants, shops, and even the streets were transformed into havens for the artistically inclined and visitors gained a real understanding of the breadth of cultural diversity Raleigh has to offer.

Now in its fourth year, SparkCon had the largest turnout to date this year.  Thousands of attendees spread out over Fayetteville and Hargett Street, which were closed to any traffic.  The streets were filled with people giving mass dance lessons, artists spraying graffiti on designated walls, and children drawing chalk art.  Tents blanketed most of Hargett Street, housing an eclectic bazaar which featured handmade items from stores throughout the city.  Each storefront and building put their normal business on hold in order to host artistic and insightful events such as “fashionSpark” at The Foundation, or “filmSpark” at Art Space.

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Lulu sponsored “poetrySpark,” which was held in the upstairs lounge of The Morning Times coffee shop.  At any given moment there was a minimum of 60 people, and a maximum of what seemed like 200 people out to enjoy and enrich themselves with poetry from well-known authors such as Carolyn Beard Whitlow, Professor of English at Guilford College in Greensboro, as well as from open-mic poets that happened to stop by.  Saturday evening started with live music from local band Lizh Crew – a soulful rock/pop act that really set the mood for the readers and listeners.  At one point more chairs had to be brought in!

Lulu, which began as a grassroots company, is thrilled to be able to be a part of something that inspires creativity in the community.  It was such an honor to be able to participate and have a presence at the poetrySpark and we hope we get to do it again.  Lulu will be publishing a collection of poetry read throughout poetrySpark later this year.