It's a testament to the vitality and commitment of local artists, art supporters and arts patrons that even in hard economic times, the Inland Northwest has an astonishing variety of arts venues and activities to choose from. Just this fall alone, you can see Andy Warhol's rendition of Mohammed Ali, hear a lecture by Seattle's Charles Krafft, visit the Garland District's new Tinman Artworks and even, if you're of a mind to, abuse and consume your weight in Twinkies. All in the name of art.
The MAC -- The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture really does have something for everyone, whether you're looking for the urban edge of contemporary visual art or you want to learn more about the "People of the Rivers" who inhabited the high plains, river valleys and rolling grasslands of the Inland Northwest hundreds of years ago.
The MAC continues its enormously popular "Lunchbox Memories" exhibit by offering an additional section culled from the lunchbox archives of local collectors. For the month of September, Deborah Lawrence's "Homeland Service Trays," an arresting series of tin serving trays embellished with found images and text, is the artist's response to current political and social events. Gregory Barsamian's show of contemporary kinetic sculpture continues through Oct. 26, and the MAC's regular long-running exhibits, "People of the Rivers" and "Hometowns," both continue throughout the fall. And be sure not to miss longtime resident and African-American photographer Wally Hagin, who has a show up through September.
Of particular note is "Alfredo Arreguin: Patterns of Dreams and Nature," which opens on Nov. 13 and runs through Feb. 15. Arreguin's contribution to American Art by way of his Mexican heritage and Northwest influences is considerable; his distinctive, intricately patterned images are full of intense color and irrepressible life. Once seen, they're hard to forget.
The MAC's commitment to local artists is evidenced by the Spokane Watercolor Society show (through Oct. 31). Also, the Art at Work gallery (which has functioned as both a downtown extension of the museum as well as a showcase of work by local artists) moves back to the museum grounds effective Nov. 13. Finally, there's lots for families to do at the MAC this fall, including the highly anticipated Twinkie Fun Fest (for more on that event, see Kids, page 36).
The Jundt -- Gonzaga University's Jundt Art Museum currently offers recent work by faculty members Robert Gilmore, Terry Gieber, Mary Farrell and Gina Freuen. The faculty show runs through Oct. 14 and includes lecture-tours by Gieber and Gilmore on Sept. 18, followed by a similar event on Sept. 25 with Farrell and Freuen. If you've never seen the work of these outstanding faculty artists, now is an excellent time to do so.
In addition to the wide-open space of the Jundt's main gallery, the museum also has what it calls the "Arcade Gallery." Previous shows there have included Rodin sculpture, contemporary ceramics and rare lithographs. "Cityscapes," a collection of 24 prints and watercolors of cities depicted not so much in terms of the touristy "skyline" view, but in terms of the artist's own relationship with a particular city, runs through Nov. 1.
Renowned Seattle photographers Marsha and Michael Burns are the focus of a survey exhibit based on 30 years of their work, which starts Oct. 24 and runs through mid-December. And in the Arcade Gallery, look for a privately owned collection of Southwest pottery, opening on Nov. 7.
WSU Museum of Art -- "Art in 2 Worlds" is a retrospective exhibit of 52 works from the front lines of the contemporary Native American fine art movement, curated by the Heard Museum of Art in Phoenix, Ariz. These stunning images offer a new view of artists working in the milieu of two very different yet inextricably linked cultures.
On Oct. 22, a rare opportunity to view an entire Andy Warhol series comes up when Richard Weisman shares his private collection of Warhol work, including the "Athlete Series" and several Campbell's soup cans. Weisman, who was a friend and contemporary of Warhol's and was present for the photo shoots of such famous athletes as Dorothy Hamill, O.J. Simpson and Mohammed Ali, speaks at WSU on Oct. 23. The exhibit ends on Oct. 28, and is followed by the Fine Arts Faculty's annual group show.
Contemporary -- It's hard to believe there was once a time when the Inland Northwest really didn't have much in the way of a good contemporary gallery. Now we have the Lorinda Knight, Chris Kraisler and Art Spirit galleries: minimalist white walls, broad expanses of floor and plenty of room in which to really study the art.
The Lorinda Knight Gallery currently offers an exhibit by Spokane newcomer Peter Presnail, who previously worked in the Midwest before coming to Spokane by way of Puget Sound. "Stillness," a collection of his oil pastel landscapes, abstracts and still lifes, all rendered in spare compositions which are nevertheless imbued with both depth and mystery, runs through the end of the month. In October, Melissa Lang's wonderfully adept and smartly provocative abstracts take precedence in the gallery. Whidbey Island artist Maxine Martell often uses food and the rituals of eating it in her paintings and works on paper; her work is on display through November. Kay O'Rourke's vividly hued fruits, birds, river scenes and other inspirations from the natural world offer some much needed color in the dead of an Inland Northwest December, culminating in a First Night demonstration that will include audience participation.
Over in the Idaho Panhandle, Coeur d'Alene's Art Spirit Gallery is making good use of its charming new digs closer to downtown on Sherman Avenue. More floor space and a mezzanine offer plenty of space for such upcoming exhibits as Katherine Nelson, whose charcoal drawings of the Palouse conjure up the stark contrasts, lonely vistas and undulating, mysterious swells that are as much a part of this area as are the wheat and the sunshine. Following Nelson's September show is Moscow artist Glenn Grishkoff, whose handmade brushes blur the lines between "tool" and "objet d'art." In November, the Art Spirit welcomes clay and enamel artist Laura Nuchols, before turning itself over as a showcase for the annual holiday "Small Artworks Invitational."
Up in Sandpoint is the Chris Kraisler Gallery, which regularly shows some of the most intriguing contemporary artists working in the northernmost stretches of the Idaho Panhandle. The gallery does not have a schedule of changing shows, but will rotate exhibits by such regular gallery artists as Bill Barrett, David Kraisler, Stephen Schultz, Michael Speaker, Barry Tinsley and Allie Kurtz Vogt.
Colleges -- It's too bad college kids (myself included, when I was one) rarely appreciate their campus galleries until long after graduation. Far from being just a place to display student or faculty work, many of the area's college galleries amply fulfill their role as "educational entities" by bringing cutting-edge conceptual artists, "names" in the contemporary art world, and collections that any self-respecting arts aficionado ought to go see.
Under Tom O'Day's direction, the SFCC Gallery of Art has become an arts venue to keep your eye on. They open their 2003-04 season with a collection of pinhole photographs (entitled "Port Susan and the Palouse") by Seattle artist Christopher Harris, whose work has been reviewed in The Photo Review and The Village Voice. "Iron Rodeo," cast iron sculpture by artists from all over the nation, opens on Oct. 20 and runs through Nov. 18.
Moscow's Prichard Gallery is associated with the U of I, but inhabits a pleasingly minimalist space on Main Street within a stone's throw of the Saturday farmer's market. What better place then to offer the "10th International Exhibition of Botanical Art and Illustration from the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie Mellon University." (Whew. That's a mouthful even to type.) This selection of watercolors and drawing studies of the botanical world runs through Oct. 1, with an accompanying exhibit of Bill Woolston's digital interpretations of how this area was dramatically shaped and altered by the cataclysmic Glacial Lake Missoula floods.
Also in Idaho is the Boswell Corner Gallery on the North Idaho College campus. Carolyn Stephens' arresting imagery makes an impact whether she's working in drawing or painting; she exhibits at the gallery through Oct. 24. In November, Angil Luna brings a show of ceramics entitled "Milagros and Vices," which runs through the first week of December.
Harold Balazs is not only exhibiting at Whitworth College's Koehler Gallery this fall; he's also leaving a lasting mark on the campus itself. He created 14 cement sculptures, all nearly four feet high, just for the Koehler Gallery, and will install a nine-foot-tall steel public sculpture in the library courtyard on Sept. 27. "Bread Upon the Waters" runs through October and explores the quandary of how spiritually minded visual artists (in this case, Whitworth art professors Scott Kolbo and Gordon Wilson) go about making challenging, unpredictable contemporary art. In November, prolific Spokane artist Liz Bishop exhibits new work in the Koehler.
And finally, Eastern Washington University's Gallery of Art opens its fall season with Seattle-by-way-of-San Francisco artist Cory Peeke's miniscule observations on male identity and other gender issues in "Color Me, Beautiful." In November, the virtuoso adaptability of the common line takes center stage in a group show by Ellen Oppenheimer, George Chih-Yu Chen, Margi Weir and Nancy Mooslin.
Art Schools -- In a similar vein are several galleries associated with area art schools. When the arduous work of trying to get a stick of pigment to somehow convey an actual object on paper gets to be too much, why not wander over to the gallery for some much-needed inspiration?
The Huneke Gallery at Spokane Art School regularly brings in such all-over-the-map exhibits as a show of Mexican textiles and a computer-inspired, one-man show by Tom Dukich. This fall, you can check out Gina Freuen's unmistakable, pleasingly odd vessels. Freuen delights in strange shapes and new textures -- the works in this show are all experiments with a new process -- and her ceramics are some of the most sought-after in the area. Rising young artist Tim Lord continues his obsession (through November) with the 12 signs of the zodiac, this time interpreted as tasty astrological cakes.
The Corbin Art Center, like the Spokane Art School, has a wide variety of classes for adults. They also have a faculty exhibition, beginning on Oct. 3 and ending on Nov. 15.
For Collectors -- While some galleries focus on exhibiting just one or two artists at a time, others try to keep as much "out on the floor" as possible. These "high-end" galleries often cater to art collectors who enjoy the interplay between fine art and home d & eacute;cor; in fact, some, like the Douglas Gallery in downtown Spokane, have even chosen their wall colors with sophisticated new home interior colors in mind. Such galleries also offer everything from contemporary abstracts to classic realism.
The Douglas Gallery moved to its spacious new locale last spring, and in addition to its aforementioned "new look," it has more room for such lively new artists as Debbie Brooks, whose collectible handbags are as funky-fresh as they are candy-colored. In addition to Brooks, the Douglas continues to carry many of the artists they've carried for years, including Zoltan Szabo, Yuri Gorbachev and Jane Wooster Scott. New artists and events at the Douglas Gallery will be released throughout the fall.
The Devin Gallery in Coeur d'Alene has 7,000 square feet upon which to display fine art oils, watercolors, metal, stone and glass sculpture, wood objects and even jewelry. Their first show this fall is a dual show of mixed media paintings by Yuri Gorbachev and bronze sculptures by Rosetta. Other collector galleries in the area that may have events later this fall include the Galleria de Felice in the Davenport Hotel and SculptureGallery.com (which has a showroom in the old City Hall).
All-Purpose -- Ah, these are the real workhorses of the art world, often pairing framing services, art supplies and other art-related work with gallery shows.
Colburn's, in a new location on Sprague just east of Division, has Lois Kirkwood's "Landscapes of the Mind" up through September, to be followed by Susan Rohrback's "Prime Time." In November, Diane Conkright's "Good Beginnings" includes sumi and watermedia work.
The Pacific Flyway Gallery, not surprisingly given their name, finds plenty of inspiration in the world of birds and nature. "Nature's Lens," featuring "wild wings" artist Janene Grende, runs through early fall.
"Don't Quit Your Day Job" is the tongue-in-cheek fall exhibit by 29th Avenue Artworks' owners and staff, Deb Sheldon, Jason Sheldon and Stefani Rossi. Both paintings and sculpture are scheduled to be on tap for this early submission in what might be a regular show series at 29th Ave.
Hometown -- The Chase Gallery in Spokane's City Hall kicks things off with "My Mother, My Father," a group exhibition of work by many well-recognized Spokane artists exploring the tenuous and poignant bonds we all share with our folks. Starting Oct. 24, a show of new work by Tom DeGroot, April Richardson and Terrell Lozada runs through Dec. 23.
Up north, the Crawford Gallery in Deer Park is still hammering out its fall schedule, but the Colville Arts Foundation Gallery starts things off with a show by members of the Northwest Papier Mache Artists Guild, quickly followed by Keith Powell's wildlife and historical paintings, sculpture and prints. Their fall season ends with the annual Bringing in the Wood show, a woodturner's extravaganza of carving, lathing, planing, varnishing and more. In Moscow, the Third Street Gallery spotlights the work of the Idaho Watercolor Society, North Idaho Region, followed by "Showing Our Metal" and the Winter Solstice Juried Exhibition.
New Galleries -- Those of you who have been up to Tinman Artworks already know what a wonderful new venue this is. One part gallery, one part coffeehouse and bookstore, Tinman is a charming place to see work by some of the area's best artists. "Mostly New Mel," a show of recent works by Mel McCuddin, runs through Oct. 6. Donald Clegg's stunning new watercolor still lifes are featured from Oct. 10-Nov. 17 (as is his new book, Celebrating the Seasons in Watercolor). Tinman also has a series of "Brown Bag Art Talks" every Wednesday at noon.
Railside Center, as the block at the northwest corner of First and Monroe likes to be called, is a small arts district of its own within the larger entity of what is becoming known as the Davenport District. The Good Works Gallery, an offshoot of Earth Goods on West First, features contemporary ceramics by Sam Sloan in early autumn. In the nearby Art is Art Gallery (also on West First) is a one-pnight show by Derrick King and Lisa Waddle on Nov. 7.
The Creighton Gallery, at 714 W. Sprague, is housed in the new North Star Ceramic Center. A Raku exhibit (complete with a demo on Oct. 18) runs from Oct. 3 through Nov. 5.
And finally, something called the Ruby Street Ruins (104 E. Mission Ave.) has "The Beginning Collection," presumably inaugural work by Gretchen Wilson Pauker, through Dec. 30.
* The disAbility Fest takes place on Sept. 12-13 at SCC and, as a "celebration of independent living," features work by differently abled artists.
* The Visual Arts Tour is one of Spokane's most eagerly anticipated semi-annual events, and the fall version occurs on Friday, Oct. 3, from 5-9 pm. Much like trick-or-treating for arts experiences, the Visual Arts Tour is a chance to run around downtown all night visiting participating venues. We hear that Rally in the Alley -- that rowdy parking lot maelstrom of live music, spaghetti and dancing -- will be back, too, though it's still in development.
* We know people who start saving for Inland Craft Warnings (which takes place on Nov. 7-9) as early as the previous March! This enormously popular modern craft event fills the Convention Center with handmade furniture, fiber arts, pottery, jewelry, stoneware and more.
* A new event taking place in Coeur d'Alene this year is "Art from the Heart," a day-long arts festival featuring a live "art in the making" demonstration, an artwalk with appetizers from participating downtown Coeur d'Alene restaurants, a reader's theater event, a possible Coeur d'Alene Symphony appearance and more on Oct. 3. Be there.
* Ward Farka and his legendary "love spoons" are the big draw at this year's "Artistry in Wood" at SCC on Oct. 18-19.
* The Porcelain Art Show, Heritage Congregational Church (1801 E. 29th) features hand-painted cups, vases, and other porcelain pieces.
* People also start socking away money for Yuletide, Spokane Art School's annual holiday gift-buying extravaganza, which runs Dec. 4-7.
The Baby Bar
827 W. 1st Ave. * 471-1234
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All the farms I remember from growing up in North Idaho and Eastern Washington were not what you'd call stylish. In fact, what I do remember are blocky sofas covered in that ubiquitous mauve upholstery, copper Jell-O molds lining the kitche