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The Best Summer Ever! — Arts 

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LEARN ART SKILLS FROM THE PROS

So one of the things you plan to do this summer is improve your drawing skills, or maybe your oil painting techniques. Painting realistic-looking plant life or drawing the human form can be challenging. Whether you’re looking to become the Inland Northwest’s next big name in the arts or just want to casually dabble in pastels, acrylics, pencil or charcoal, the variety of art classes offered this summer has got you covered.

Become a temporary understudy to one of the Inland Northwest’s professional artists in a class at the Spokane Art School, which offers workshops all summer for kids, teens and adults at its Garland District studio, next door (809 W. Garland Ave.) to the Tinman Gallery. Notable local artists scheduled to teach there this summer include Jery Haworth, Tom Quinn and Ken Spiering.

Quinn, a Spokane-based painter whose work you may recall seeing in the massive mural featuring notable Spokanites on the side of a Gonzaga District bar, teaches a class this summer on painting cloud formations in oil paint (July 13, $30, high school to adults), along with workshops on other art techniques in which he’s proficient.

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Budding artists also can take a peek into the world of Spiering’s Palouse studio. In case you don’t know, his most recognizable piece is The Childhood Express, aka the red wagon slide in Riverfront Park. The two-day workshop (June 21-22, $85, ages 16 and up) aptly titled “Painting Dynamic and Believable Foliage in Watercolor” involves painting naturally growing foliage on Spiering’s 7-acre Valleyford, Wash., farm. During the workshop’s second day, Spiering provides individual attention to students as they paint “en plein air.”

Class schedules and registration are available online at spokaneartschool.net.

Farther south on the Palouse, visiting and resident professional artists at Artisans at the Dahmen Barn in Uniontown, Wash. — about 20 minutes south of Pullman on Highway 195 — pool their skill sets to create a diverse schedule of limited-attendance classes, allowing for one-on-one instruction with students.

Dahmen Barn manager Leslee Miller regularly recruits experienced, widely recognized professional artists from around the region to teach art skills at the big, white historic barn surrounded by an eye-catching fence made of more than 1,000 now-rusted metal wheels from every type of farm machinery imaginable.

Regional artists teaching classes this summer at the creative arts center — which also includes a gallery, retail shop and artist studios and hosts performance events and live music — include veteran North Idaho painter Diana Moses Botkin and Dahmen resident artist Carrie Vielle, who mostly works in drawing and painting.

If you’re planning a big vacation this summer, think about first brushing up on your sketching skills in one of Vielle’s classes on how to maintain a travel sketchbook. In the daylong workshop on July 13 ($75, ages 16+), Vielle plans to teach techniques and tips for sketching on location — the artist has led many trips to Europe focused on sketching art and architecture — along with other creative ways to record the sensory experiences of traveling.

Keep in mind that most of the Dahmen Barn’s classes admit a maximum of 10 to 12 students to allow for individualized instruction, so register early if a class this summer sparks your creativity. View the full class schedule at artisanbarn.org.


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START SLAMMING — POETRY, THAT IS

Sure, it sounds like a mega-hipster hobby, the kind that — if you want to talk stereotypes — attracts angsty teens, troubled writers and modern beatniks wearing all black with chunky-framed glasses, but the fact of the matter is that Spokane’s performance poetry scene is becoming widely recognized and locally celebrated, and for good reason.

From Aug. 13-17, Spokane Poetry Slam is sending a team to compete in the National Poetry Slam competition in Boston. It’s very prestigious for a team to even be accepted into the competition, says SPS organizer Isaac Grambo. Only 70 teams from across the U.S. and Canada made the cut, and teams that didn’t can only hope that another team is disqualified or drops out between now and the competition.

While it’s too late to get your hopes up about making it to Nationals this year, at least as a competitor, Spokane Poetry Slam has plenty of opportunities all summer long to practice your verses in front of a mic and an audience.

Each month, SPS hosts two open-mic poetry slams, Bootslam at Boots Bakery & Lounge (July 7, Aug. 4 and Sept. 1 at 7 pm, all-ages), and the monthly Spokane Poetry Slam at Scout Tavern (July 21 and Aug. 18 at 8 pm).

In addition to those monthly events, two other regularly scheduled spoken word open-mics that offer a good atmosphere for aspiring slammers to test their skills or listen to more experienced readers are the 3-Minute Open Mic at Auntie’s Bookstore (July 5 and Aug. 2, all-ages) and Broken Mic (Wednesdays at 6 pm, all-ages) at Neato Burrito.

Don’t miss the chance to experience the mesmerizing word-manipulating skills of the SPS Nationals team in a special Team Spokane 2013 Showcase Fundraiser (July 12 at 7 pm at Auntie’s) featuring performances by all four of the team’s poets. Find out more at spokanepoetryslam.org.


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GO ON AN EVENING ART WALK

In Spokane, we’ve come to expect that new art gallery shows always open on First Friday, taking place this summer on July 5 and Aug. 2. In Coeur d’Alene, residents know that new art exhibits always open for the Second Friday ArtWalk, July 12 and Aug. 9. If you want to break out of that routine, head a little farther out of the metro area to enjoy self-guided art walks in outlying towns, like Sandpoint’s ArtWalk, which features exhibits at downtown galleries all summer, from June 21 through Sept. 6. On the Palouse, the Moscow Artwalk takes place on June 14, though some exhibits stay up for longer than just that evening. The Pullman ArtWalk is set for July 19 and 20, and in the little town of Palouse, an hour and a half south of Spokane, the Palouse Art Walk goes on for a full nine days, from June 21-29.


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HEAR THE SOUNDS OF THE SYMPHONY, OUTDOORS

There’s something about sitting on a blanket in the grass, sipping on an ice-cold beer or glass of wine while listening to the melodious sounds of strings, that makes for a perfect summer evening. Every summer during its off-season, members of the Spokane Symphony pick up their bows and don their classic black-and-whites to perform outdoors in two popular concert series. Soiree on the Edge, July 31 and Aug. 7, features the orchestra on the scenic grounds of Arbor Crest Winery, and the Labor Day Weekend at the Parks series, Aug. 31 at Liberty Lake’s Pavillion Park and Sept. 2 at Comstock Park, has marked the official end of summer for the past 27 years.


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SPEND AN AFTERNOON AT THE MAC

When it’s 96 degrees out and you don’t have air conditioning — or have AC but just want to get out of the house — there’s one other place we can think of that starts with an M, other than the mall or a movie theater, that offers AC as well as mind stimulation: a museum. The Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, aka The MAC, features five exhibits this summer that are open during regular museum hours, Wed-Sun from 10 am-5 pm. Make sure not to miss “David Douglas: A Naturalist at Work” before it goes away after Aug. 25. Ongoing exhibits open through the summer include “Lasting Heritage,” “Two to Tango: Artist and Viewer,” “SPOMa: Spokane Modern Architecture,” and a new exhibit opening June 30 called “Inland Northwest Narrative: Crossroads and Confluence.” Don’t forget that tours of the Campbell House are included in your museum admission ($5-$7). 

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