Dialogues on sin and redemption, the intersection of politics and religion, and the experiences of religion in the everyday life in the American South are depicted in Amen, Amen: Religion & Southern Self-Taught Artists, currently featured at Gonzaga University's Jundt Art Museum.
Upon entering the gallery, guests are confronted with contrasting displays on both sides: devils on the left and angels on the right, establishing the battle that takes place throughout the exhibit.
R.A. Miller, an illiterate folk artist, uses plywood, old window shutters and meat packing trays as materials for these representations of good and evil. In fact, much of the art in the exhibit is made up of simple, found objects, from tin and cardboard to framed posters that have been painted over. The exhibit's featured artists were mostly uneducated, and some created their pieces in prison, or for rustic art booths at gas stations. Those on the fringes of humanity often have a unique ability to comment on the human experience and thus spur controversy and debate amongst the broader public.
The 117 pieces on display in Amen, Amen are borrowed from a larger private Carl and Marian Mullis art collection in Atlanta. Since the pieces have been twice removed from their context, once from the settings in which they were created and the again from the American South to the Inland Northwest, extended biographies are provided for each piece, familiarizing us with their backgrounds.
Gonzaga has chosen to focus on the exhibit's theme of religion and spirituality because of the university's Jesuit affiliations, but other specific subtopics within the collection include creationism, narratives from the Old and New Testaments, examples of faith in daily Southern life, politics and religion, the crucifixion, and of course, expectations of the apocalypse. River baptisms, country churches and haunted houses are among some of the everyday scenes of the American South depicted in the exhibit. Commentaries range from 9/11, the presidential election of 1992, the Contract with America, and capitalism. New Jerusalem is imagined as high rise apartments in a post-apocalyptic depiction.
Each artist in Amen, Amen is distinct in their art styles through repetition. Such trademark images are what make folk artists so identifiable. It's why Howard Finster, featured in the exhibit and who became somewhat of a folk art celebrity in the 1980s, caught the attention of bands like REM and Talking Heads and was asked to create their album art (right). It's why Minnie Adkins was requested to create a nativity scene specifically for this exhibit, making her piece the most contemporary one in the show. Even though the aesthetics may be simple, the symbols and meanings have the potential to be incredibly complex.
Amen, Amen runs through Jan. 10, 2015 at the Jundt Art Museum, at 200 E. Desmet, on the Gonzaga campus. Gallery hours are Mon-Sat, from 10 am-4 pm.
Attend a public walk-through of the exhibit with Jundt director and curator Paul Manoguerra on Fri, Oct. 10, at 10:30 am.
Gonzaga hosts several writers and poets annually as part of the series, organized by the university's English department and College of Arts and Sciences. Featured artists read their works aloud, take questions from the audience and discuss their careers and creative processes.
The Visiting Writer Series this academic year also hosts poet Brenda Hillman (Oct. 21), writers Joanna Luloff (Nov. 20), Douglas Kearney (March 25) and Michael Gurian (April 15); and Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson (Feb. 18).
Butterworth's writing has been published by Algonquin Books and Lost Horse Press. Radium Watch Dial Painters, a compilation of his poems, is a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards. Tonight, he reads excerpts from this book in the Cataldo Globe Room at 7:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public.
Our annual, massive Fall Arts Preview issue hits stands today. It’s one of the biggest Inlanders we put together each year, and by far the largest special section focusing on the local arts community. As listings editor, the task of putting together the massive, 13-page calendar of arts events in this section is all mine. It’s a doozy for sure, but it always gets me excited as I sort through all the amazing, innovative events that roll in.
And with this year’s Create Spokane Arts Month happening through October — which is already the busiest month for the local arts scene — this year’s season is more robust than ever. I suggest getting your calendar out now, because there are too many events you won’t want to miss. Here’s a peek at what those of us who worked on the Fall Arts issue are looking forward to most. — CHEY SCOTT
INLAND NW CRAFT BEER FEST
As a newcomer to Eastern Washington, I don’t know (yet) how locals think of the beer scene. But as someone coming from a place (Salt Lake City) with a rather, um, limited number of native breweries, let me just say that navigating the wide array of craft brew options here in Spokane is daunting. Delicious, but daunting. So this Inland NW Craft Beer Festival seems like a godsend of a crash course with its promised 30 regional breweries pouring more than 100 beers. (DAN NAILEN)
I’ll admit it. I bought my ticket back in May, the moment I heard Conor Oberst was set to play the Knitting Factory this fall. Since high school, I’ve been following Oberst’s discography around like a puppy — whether it was Bright Eyes albums, him and the Mystic Valley Band, solo releases or a collaboration with his fellow indie stalwarts in Monsters of Folk. His new solo album, Upside Down Mountain, has everything that’s great about Oberst: folksy rhythms, raw vocals and gnawing questions (“Say the engine failed when that plane was flying/If you were the pilot, would you curse or would you pray?”). This time around, his usual sad-soaked melodies have a hint of cheer, but — best of all — the storytelling is still poignantly beautiful. (JO MILLER)
For this year's Fall Arts Preview issue we enlisted local model Brynne Gadbury as our cover model. We wanted to make this a dynamic, vibrant cover, so we thought of splashing our model with color powder — the same stuff they use at color runs. Amazingly, she didn't mind it. Thank you so much to all of the people who make this arts scene such a vibrant one.
Poetry Out Loud, the annual, national poetry recitation competition, is looking for Washington classrooms to participate in its 2014-15 program. The deadline to apply for this year's program is Nov. 20.
Pioneered in 2006, Poetry Out Loud provides a venue for students in grades 9-12 grade to hone their memorization and public speaking skills, in addition to possibly securing money for their school. Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Out Loud 2015 is the 10th iteration of the event.
The competition begins in the classroom, with students then advancing on to school-wide, regional and state-wide finals. Winners from each state receive $200 cash and a berth to the national finals in Washington D.C. Additionally, winning the state competition guarantees the champion's home school $500 for poetry materials.
Any high school may register to compete in the event, but to do so, schools must have at least two to three teachers who implement the classroom segment of the competition before school-wide competition begins in January. State finals take place in March, and nationals are to be held April 27-29, 2015.
Washington state has taken home national honors for Poetry Out Loud over the past few years. Mead High School alum Langston Ward attended nationals as Washington state's representative two years in a row, bringing home $20,000 and first place honors in 2013. More recently, Kennewick's Kamiakin High School senior Elizabeth Mo placed in the top 10 for national finalists for 2014.
In all, almost 23,000 students participated in Poetry Out Loud competitions last year, according to the Washington State Arts Commission website. One of the six regional finals in the state will be held at Eastern Washington University, an official partner of the Washington State Arts Commission and Poetry Out Loud.
Two hundred and fifty-five pieces of art have already been selected for Terrain 7, now the music lineup for the free community arts showcase is finally here. Featuring bands from as far New York to right here in Spokane, the lineup mostly falls into the indie pop or folk rock category, and that’s OK. Note the event is now happening at the old Washington Cracker Co. building at 304 W. Pacific, rather than its familiar location on West First Avenue. The one-night-only event happens on Friday, Oct. 3, from 5 pm-2 am.
Even if you can’t afford the considerably affordable art, there’s always the music to listen to.
The schedule is as follows:
In between sets, DJ Audio Affiliated keeps the music flowing. All of these times are subject to change so be sure to pay attention to when you’re favorite act is coming on.
Want to see this sort of event all year round? Check out the Campaign for Terrain here.
UPDATE: A previous version of the story said an Australian band was playing Terrain. This is not the case.
Tomorrow evening, Friday, Sept. 12, nonprofit organization Art on the Edge — directed by one of this year's Peirone Prize winners, Jeni Riplinger-Hegsted — is hosting its first professional art show: Emerge. The show is being held inside downtown Coeur d'Alene's historic Wiggett Building, from 5 pm to midnight.
Emerge features work by 25 local artists who've volunteered with Art on the Edge. The event is free to the public and also showcases live music from local musicians, including the Frantz Brothers and Morgan Dodge, along with a local belly dance troupe's performance.
The show's purpose is to honor the local artists who volunteer to make Art on the Edge successful, as well as to celebrate the diverse and emerging artistic community in Coeur d'Alene. Riplinger-Hegsted's goal is to give people in poverty a sense of choice through creative expression. To her, art is a means of freedom and therapy. Through Art on the Edge, both children and adults can receive educational opportunities to express themselves.
Proceeds from sales of art featured at the show go directly back to Art on the Edge, allowing the program's mission to continue.
It's a tricky subject. This week's cover story by Nathan Brand is about a woman who's suspected of killing her husband. There are many visuals and angles we brainstormed, but like my editor says, we have to get all the bad ideas out first. Pills on a nightstand? Woman in the shadows? We also have something around the office called the "across the room test." If you can't tell what the story is about from across the room, chances are you might not pick up that issue. In other words — simplify; boil it down. In the end we decided to go with the imagery of a black widow spider on a woman's lips. Since female black widows kill their mates, it seemed fitting. A little sexy and deadly at the same time.
I started with a source photo of red lips, then isolated the red lips and desaturated the color to draw the eye to the focal point. Then I added a spider and put in the finishing touches of shadows on her lips. The final piece uses a font that harkens back to a vintage era, fitting since this story took place 30 years ago. In the end, we ended up with a kiss worth dying for. Keep it weird.
Big news today from the local arts community. The founders of Terrain — the annual, one-night juried arts showcase that's become increasingly popular since its inception seven years ago — announced an upcoming campaign to raise funds and support for a permanent, downtown visual arts and performance space.
This morning we chatted with Terrain co-founder Luke Baumgarten, a former Inlander staffer and current contributor, as well as the new interim director of Spokane Arts, to get the full rundown on the announcement and to find out what the community can look forward to in the coming months and beyond.
Changes are being set in motion starting with Terrain 7's new location this year. Scheduled for Friday, Oct. 3, from 5 pm-2 am, the showcase is being hosted at the nonprofit's envisioned new home, the old Washington Cracker Co. building at 304 W. Pacific. The brick structure is most recognizable by it's trapezoidal-shaped facade overlooking the Intermodal Center, advertising its past fame as "Home of Snowflake Saltines."
It makes sense that Terrain is ready to settle into a new, permanent home after years staging the event in the old Music City Building on West First Avenue, which was fraught with occupancy restrictions due to a lack of fire sprinklers. Baumgarten says the new venue, originally constructed in 1891, is already equipped with sprinklers that are up to code. It won't be known how many more people the space can hold, though, until they get a new occupancy permit, he adds. The building is also estimated to be at least one-and-a-half times bigger than the Music City space.
Terrain's co-founders' goal is to raise $160,000 through several fundraising methods to turn the venue into a year-round arts and performance space. That campaign is set to officially kick off at Terrain 7's artist reception, the day before the free, public show. Founders are looking to reach their goal through grant writing, a Kickstarter campaign, private donations and venue rental sales.
"We have been talking about this for a long time, at least three to four years," Baumgarten says. "We really spent a good chunk of last year trying to make the Music City space work, but the amount of money we needed was significant. Just putting sprinklers in that building alone would have tripled the cost we have now."
The current endeavor wouldn't be possible at the currently-estimated cost if not for the support of building owners', Mark Camp and Darby McKee, Baumgarten adds.
"It’s a beautiful space and a big space — it’ll feel like Terrain, hopefully just year round."
Visit the Campaign for Terrain site to sign up to receive future announcements about the project, including the official fundraising launch and other related news and events.
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