Every Visual Arts Tour seems to have one or two hot spots where most of the activity seems to congregate. In years past, we've seen the epicenter shift from the Carnegie Square area, to West Main, to the River Park Square/Art at Work intersection at Main and Post. But for the last two or three Visual Arts Tours, we've noticed that the biggest crowds seem to be right down on West First, between Monroe and Madison Streets.
The block alone has gone through more name changes than a garage band, including such discarded monikers as the City Terminal Block, One Block Square, the Music City Block, and now, its latest and newest incarnation: the Rail Side Center Block. And while there's no Rally in the Alley scheduled for the winter Visual Arts Tour -- too cold, man! -- there is another edition of Raw Space, which breaks all previous records with the most participants ever. "Lonesome" Lyle Morse is scheduled to provide the musical flavor, and more than 160 artists will showcase their wares in jewelry, ceramics, paintings, fiber arts, pottery, furniture, photography, pastels and more. In addition to Raw Space, the Music City Building also hosts the exhibit "A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words," by Deke Cloyd, Craig Brack and Michael McDermott of On the Edge.
"You've heard that expression 'A picture speaks a thousand words,' " says Cloyd, "well, ours speak a million." On the Edge has worked with such major corporate clients as Pepsi Cola and Swatch, as well as smaller businesses looking for a way to make a big impact through unconventional images. "We make the most visual impact possible, and our photography is in your face and impossible to ignore, but without any gore or pornography."
Fair enough. Moving on to the venues outside of the Music City Building, the "Discursus" show/Punctum Design mystery installation next door in a new gallery space at 1021 W. First looks intriguing, and visitors will have the chance to help name Rail Side Center's newest joint. Winning entries will receive one month's free use of the space, and entries can be dropped off the night of the VAT, or mailed to Rail Side Center, 1011 W. First, Spokane, WA, 99201 attn: Kurt Madison.
Earth Goods (see article in this section) has some truly covet-worthy furniture pieces by Tom Sykes, and moving down to the other end of the block, we can't think of a better way to end up the tour than at Far West Billiards. In addition to the new photography and paintings of Anna Voronina and Yevgeniy Ampleyev, Far West is a welcoming venue all through the year. In fact, Far West deserves credit, along with the Brooklyn Deli, the Rocket, Tryst Coffee House and now the Catacombs, for giving the block the all important grog-and-food street cred that any self-respecting arts district craves. Stop by before or after your VAT experience and fill up.