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A boom in galleries makes downtown CdA a visual arts destination

click to enlarge MIKE MCCALL
  • Mike McCall

Some people go for the art, taking advantage of the opportunity to talk to featured artists. Others go for social buzz, an evening out… shopping, visiting, dining, and perusing the gallery scene. Known as an artwalk, the emphasis on walking can get lost as these events grow.

Not so in Coeur d’Alene, which seems to be experiencing a renaissance, welcoming new galleries into the fold over the past year. Focused around downtown’s Sherman Avenue and the surrounding streets, Coeur d’Alene ArtWalk has managed to maintain a local feel, totally walkable in a few hours.

Blackwell Gallery (205 Sherman Ave.) was opened in 2012 by partners Mike Bacon, an artist who also exhibits at the gallery, and Bill Wendlandt, who purchased and renovated the historic Blackwell House into the new Blackwell Boutique Hotel.

Blackwell Gallery showcases mostly local, emerging artists, emphasizing modern, original work — no reproduction prints — and low-edition photography.

“If it will fit in the condo with all stainless and concrete floors, overlooking Elliott Bay in Seattle, it will work [at Blackwell Gallery],” says Bacon.

The 500-square-foot gallery space is bright, hip and displays a simultaneous assortment of work from their growing roster of artists, such as the stunning abstractions of Hiromi Okumura.

ArtCoLab (108 N. Fourth St.) brings custom cool to Coeur d’Alene with an innovative shared workspace from partners Scott Lakey aka Dove of Born Invincible Design, and Jeremy Deming aka Jerm of JermDesign.

Look for bright orange walls, bold graphics, one-off bikes and wonderfully outlandish exhibitions like Monsters X Robots (through October). Featuring Lakey, Derming and tattooist/artist Scotty Hankins, the exhibition includes their 15-by-3-foot monster-themed version of The Last Supper. September’s ArtWalk will include the unveiling of a rockabilly monster pin-up girls print series, also through October.

Other new galleries include Art de Vine (1506 Northwest Blvd.) by longtime painter and instructor Barbara Irvine and Edward Gilmore’s resurrection of the failed Spokane Studio 66 in its new CdA location (321 E. Front Ave.).

CdA Galleries (213 E. Sherman) isn’t new; it’s been tucked inside the CdA Resort for nearly 30 years. This spring, however, it relocated to Sherman Avenue to promote a large holding of mostly Western paintings and bronze sculpture by national artists. September means the Sixth Annual Miniatures by the Lake nationwide invitational.

Also more visible is Studio 107 (503 E. Sherman), which relocated last spring to the former Barrel Room No. 6 locale and features more than 20 regional artists in a boutique-like wine-bar setting.

Seems you can’t walk but a few feet along Sherman Avenue without seeing an art gallery: Summers Glass (211 E. Sherman), Gallery Northwest (217), Painter’s Chair Northwest (223), Angel Art & Antiques (423), and Devin Galleries (507).

And no artwalk would be complete without a stop to The Art Spirit Gallery (415 E. Sherman), with an impressive 16-year history of rotating monthly exhibitions, featuring acclaimed regional artists, and annual events like the clay invitational and December’s Small Artworks Invitational. September marks the anniversary of its 150th exhibition, featuring perennial favorites Harold Balazs and Mel McCuddin, combined age 165 years, most of them spent making art. 

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