Three months after the resignation of Spokane Arts' executive director, Shannon Halberstadt,
who ushered the reorganized arts nonprofit into new territory, the organization has announced a new leader in Spokane native Laura Becker.
Becker has been working in arts administration in Seattle since 2001, most recently as the lead of the Seattle Department of Transportation's 1% for Arts initiative, which allocates funds and installs art in SDOT facilities. Before that, Becker was a project manager for the Washington State Arts Commission's Art in Public Places program
, which brought her to Spokane frequently. During that time, she saw a city and an arts landscape that was quickly changing for the good.
"There's a young, vibrant energy [in Spokane] that I’ve been witnessing over the last five years," says Becker when we reached her by phone in Seattle, where she was in the middle of an arts installation.
"With all the creative talent in Spokane, people feel like they can live here and explore an arts career without having to leave town," says Becker, adding that this wasn't the case when she left for the University of Washington in the 1990s.
Becker will be in Spokane a few days a week next month getting acclimated at Spokane Arts before taking over full time at the beginning of the year. She plans to hit the ground running, especially when it comes to fundraising and planning for the longterm aims of the organization, which is coming off its first Spokane Arts month in October.