As the summer heatwave continues, so does artists' work on new murals along the walls of four downtown railroad overpasses. Today, work also begins on a fifth mural recently added to the line-up of the Spokane Arts-led project.
With some additional funds secured toward the project, the arts vitality nonprofit chose another site for a mural to brighten the dark and dirty corridors dissecting downtown's streets. In June, Spokane Arts approached long-time local artist Tom Quinn about re-envisioning a familiar montage he painted at the intersection of Division and Sprague more than 20 years ago. The current mural, showcasing Spokane's unofficial mascot — the marmot — has long been a fixture of downtown, but as the Inlander mentioned in our big Sprague Avenue profile back in May, Quinn isn't a fan of this particular body of work, calling it "grotesque:"
“Even I don’t think it looks like a marmot,” he says. “People would come by and say, ‘Is that a gorilla?’”
Quinn has other well-known murals around town — the Gonzaga mural that’s now in storage, the faded train murals in Hillyard, the Felts Field mural at the airport, the fish mural farther down Sprague — but the marmot mural was his first, painted in two weeks in June of 1993.
An underpass like that is a difficult place for a mural. “Greasy mud” and pigeon guano drips down, Quinn says. The relative privacy means people pee on the walls. Then there’s the vandalism, too — someone recently felt the need to leave a miniature graffito in the marmot’s nostril.
“I would love to repaint that sometime,” he says.
Quinn's design for the current mural's replacement still highlights iconic features of the city and the region's history, and there's even a marmot or two as a tribute to its forebearers.
Spokane Arts program manager Austin Stiegemeier says the decision to add a fresh look to the existing mural was partly due to Spokane Arts' partnership with the Downtown Spokane Partnership and the economic development group's long-planned efforts to spruce up what it's calling the Division Street Gateway, a main entrance into the city from I-90.
"We didn't put a call out [for submissions] for this one because of the unique situation that he'd painted it a long time ago," Stiegemeier says. "We wanted to do something new there, but also give credit to and do something with the artist."
Quinn's new Spokane-centric mural should be completed sometime in October, while the four ongoing murals at the Maple, Howard, Cedar and Wall street overpasses are set to be finished by September.
Also on the topic of public murals — Spokane Arts just this morning put out a call for volunteer artists for a separate project it's calling the Mobile Murals Program. The inaugural project in the program is to create temporary art fences around Spokane residents' favorite downtown eyesore — the vacant, weed-filled pit at the corner of Division and Third.
With a goal to create a visually-pleasing barrier around the blighting site, local artists or artist teams are invited to submit their designs — to be painted or displayed on plywood panels — by a deadline of August 25. The panels are then set to be installed in early October. If mural space remains after this first round of submissions, a second call for more artists could be announced in September.
For more than a decade, the Tinman Gallery (811 W. Garland Ave.) has been an arts and culture business fixture in the Garland District, as well as to the greater Inland Northwest arts community, showcasing fine art by the region's top artists.
Yet all good things must come to an end, and yesterday Tinman Gallery owner and longtime arts supporter Susan Bradley announced that this month's is the last show and art sale at the gallery before she officially retires at the end of July. The gallery-wide sale, titled "Tinman's Greatest Hits," features artwork Bradley has collected over the past 11 years by the following artists: Harold Balazs, Mel McCuddin, Kay O'Rourke, Ric Gendron, Ken Spiering, Timothy Ely, Virginia Carter, Stan Miller, Marianne Figgins, Charlie Palmer, Ilse Tan, Len Heid, Kathleen Cavender, Scott Kolbo, Melissa Cole, Val Pate, Gay Waldman, Sheila Evans, George Flett, Kevin Red Star and Terrence Guardipee.
Bradley says it wasn't easy to decide to move on from the gallery, but she wants to spend more time with her husband who retired last October, and also plans to focus more on the four arts nonprofits for which she serves as board member: the Spokane Art School, MAC Foundation, Artist Trust and the Garland Business District.
"It's a difficult decision because I really loved helping the artists get their works out there," Bradley says. "I have really appreciated getting to know the artists and the people who came in to buy the art."
This morning marked the first day of the final show and sale, and already half a dozen pieces have been sold. Bradley estimates about 100 or so pieces she's bought for the Tinman's collection are offered for sale — artwork she personally doesn't have room to hold on to. Many of the artists included in the show aren't extensively producing and showing as they once were, so Bradley considers it a "last chance" for collectors to purchase their work.
Along with the artwork, the gallery's inventory of bestselling, art-related and children's books, handmade candles, greeting card and other gift items is on sale for 50 percent off original prices.
As far as the future of the Tinman Gallery space, located adjacent to the Spokane Art School's headquarters, Bradley says she'll announce its future planned use in the coming week.
"Tinman's Greatest Hits" started today, July 8, and continues through July 26. The gallery is open Tues-Fri, from 10 am-6 pm, and Sat, from 10 am-4 pm.
Attention all young artists: Here's a chance to have your art incorporated into the mural project we wrote about in this past week's issue.
The Spokane Urban Murals Painting Collaboration invites you to share your picturesque visions during the upcoming painting project. Artists ages 6-10 are encouraged to create any form of unique art displaying an interpretation of Spokane’s slogan, “Near Nature - Near Perfect.” All submissions should be mailed to Ink Art Space by June 30. The piece should be submitted with the following information: the young artist's first name and last initial, age and a parent's email address.
The artwork will be evaluated by artists on the SUMAC team and used as a source of creative inspiration for the mural under the Howard Street underpass. Following the close of the project, the artwork will be shown at Ink Art Space and in an online gallery.
Find more information about the project here.
The theme of the SFCC graphic design student portfolio show is all about fresh meat.
“We know it’s hard to break into the design industry, and each year there are new graduates from our program and other schools flooding the area looking for jobs,” says Liorah Wichser, student art director for the event. “The professionals may see us as 'fresh meat' to the industry, so we decided to go with that for our theme. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and as a result, we’re having more fun.”
In a twisted way, the best choice for the mascot was Bovine the cow.
“We’re all a bit of Bovine on the inside,” says Mickenzie Burns, student event manager. “Starting as a fresh slate, molded and painted over and over again until, with one last coat of fresh paint, we’re pushed out into the world for all to see.” Covered in typography, she swung by the Inlander for a photo op, only to get a flat moments later. But a quick stop at Golden Rule brake and she was good to go.
Check out the Grade A stuff this Friday, June 6, starting at 5 pm at Hamilton Studios, 1427 West Dean Avenue.
You've still got a few days to submit a logo to the Spokane Arts Fund for their first annual Create Spokane Arts Month, a celebration in October dedicated to creativity and art in the Spokane community. The inaugural event is set to include more than 50 different events and expects to draw as many as 30,000 attendees. The logo will be used for advertising the event, on both their website and any print media produced.
Executive Director Shannon Halberstadt says the logo they are looking for needs to reflect the creativity in the Northwest, and illuminate the culture and individuality of the Spokane area. The contest will favor new and emerging artists as competitors, as entry is free and anyone has the opportunity to submit their design. A committee will review the entries, and the winner will be awarded with $200 and a profile on the Create Spokane website with an optional link to the designer's own website.
Contest rules include:
1. The logo should have the phrases "Create Spokane" and "Arts Month" somewhere. The URL www.createspokane.com is optional but encouraged.
2. Entries should be submitted to [email protected] with the subject line "Arts Month Logo Contest." Full name, phone number and email address is also required.
3. Entries need to be high quality JPEG or EPS files.
4. Digital files should have the entrant's last name attached.
5. The artwork submitted needs to be original.
6. There is a maximum of three entries per competitor.
7. Contest submissions must be received no later than May 31 at 5 pm.
Create Spokane will feature activities and events put on by partners backing the project, an open studio series with local artists, writers and musicians, and a fun, fabulous costume ball at the end of the month where various creators in the community will be celebrated with awards. All events are open to the public, and we'll have more about it in the coming months.
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