Wednesday, September 10, 2014

BEHIND THE COVER: Kiss of a Black Widow?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 2:56 PM


It's a tricky subject. This week's cover story by Nathan Brand is about a woman who's suspected of killing her husband. There are many visuals and angles we brainstormed, but like my editor says, we have to get all the bad ideas out first. Pills on a nightstand? Woman in the shadows? We also have something around the office called the "across the room test." If you can't tell what the story is about from across the room, chances are you might not pick up that issue. In other words — simplify; boil it down. In the end we decided to go with the imagery of a black widow spider on a woman's lips. Since female black widows kill their mates, it seemed fitting. A little sexy and deadly at the same time. 

I started with a source photo of red lips, then isolated the red lips and desaturated the color to draw the eye to the focal point. Then I added a spider and put in the finishing touches of shadows on her lips. The final piece uses a font that harkens back to a vintage era, fitting since this story took place 30 years ago. In the end, we ended up with a kiss worth dying for. Keep it weird.


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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Terrain announces campaign for new, permanent arts space

Posted By on Thu, Sep 4, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Big news today from the local arts community. The founders of Terrain — the annual, one-night juried arts showcase that's become increasingly popular since its inception seven years ago — announced an upcoming campaign to raise funds and support for a permanent, downtown visual arts and performance space.


This morning we chatted with Terrain co-founder Luke Baumgarten, a former Inlander staffer and current contributor, as well as the new interim director of Spokane Arts, to get the full rundown on the announcement and to find out what the community can look forward to in the coming months and beyond. 

Changes are being set in motion starting with Terrain 7's new location this year. Scheduled for Friday, Oct. 3, from 5 pm-2 am, the showcase is being hosted at the nonprofit's envisioned new home, the old Washington Cracker Co. building at 304 W. Pacific. The brick structure is most recognizable by it's trapezoidal-shaped facade overlooking the Intermodal Center, advertising its past fame as "Home of Snowflake Saltines." 

Google Street View of the building's east-facing side.
  • Google Street View of the building's east-facing side.

It makes sense that Terrain is ready to settle into a new, permanent home after years staging the event in the old Music City Building on West First Avenue, which was fraught with occupancy restrictions due to a lack of fire sprinklers. Baumgarten says the new venue, originally constructed in 1891, is already equipped with sprinklers that are up to code. It won't be known how many more people the space can hold, though, until they get a new occupancy permit, he adds. The building is also estimated to be at least one-and-a-half times bigger than the Music City space.

Terrain's co-founders' goal is to raise $160,000 through several fundraising methods to turn the venue into a year-round arts and performance space. That campaign is set to officially kick off at Terrain 7's artist reception, the day before the free, public show. Founders are looking to reach their goal through grant writing, a Kickstarter campaign, private donations and venue rental sales.

"We have been talking about this for a long time, at least three to four years," Baumgarten says. "We really spent a good chunk of last year trying to make the Music City space work, but the amount of money we needed was significant. Just putting sprinklers in that building alone would have tripled the cost we have now."

The current endeavor wouldn't be possible at the currently-estimated cost if not for the support of building owners', Mark Camp and Darby McKee, Baumgarten adds. 

"It’s a beautiful space and a big space — it’ll feel like Terrain, hopefully just year round."

Visit the Campaign for Terrain site to sign up to receive future announcements about the project, including the official fundraising launch and other related news and events.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Local arts organizations, submit your events for the Fall Arts Preview issue

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 10:46 AM

As all of us look to make the most of the last days of summer, here at the Inlander we're already thinking months ahead into the fall and winter. Work on the annual Fall Arts Preview issue, out on Sept. 18, is in full swing. If you are involved with a local arts organization — a theater, gallery, performance group or any other arts-related endeavor — here's what you need to know to get your events included in that issue's massive, 14-page calendar listing events from mid-September through the end of the year. 

Last year's Fall Arts calendar.
  • Last year's Fall Arts calendar.

Important dates: The deadline to submit arts events for the Fall Arts calendar is Thursday, Sept. 4, by 5 pm. However, early submissions are always appreciated. The calendar timeline is Sept. 18-Dec. 31.

Events that qualify for listing: Because this is an arts-focused issue, we are mainly looking for events that fit into general categories of theater, visual arts, words (poetry, author readings, lectures, etc), film, cultural events, comedy and music, both classical and non-classical. 

What to submit: The basics — event name, date(s) and time, cost, contact information (a website and/or phone number for readers to find more information) and a brief description of the event. You can also submit any images that directly pertain to the event (photos from past years or event posters are always great. Please don't send stock photos or logos.).

How to submit: With our new-ish website that launched almost a year ago, users can directly submit their events to us online at This method is our preferred way to receive events because it ensures that users aren't missing any critical pieces of information, and it also let's us get your events up online faster than any other submission method. The Listings Editor (me) typically logs in daily to edit and approve user-submitted events. 

The second method is to email your fall schedules to Make sure to include the details listed above, and to send your events before or by Sept. 4. That's a week from today! 

Please direct any questions about the Fall Arts Preview calendar to Chey Scott at I look forward to compiling all your events so the community knows what to look forward to this fall.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Behind the Cover: Give Guide

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 5:22 PM


Every year we shine the spotlight on people in our area who are doing their bit of good. This week we put Jeni Riplinger-Hegsted, the program director of St. Vincent de Paul’s Art on the Edge, on the cover. It is always hard to pick just one person as we profile three people but her photo lent itself to a cover the best, but in no way does it lessen what the other two people do. Randy Ramos and Kate Burke also deserve the spotlight.

I also wanted to make "Give Guide" more prominent, so I drew by hand a new give guide logo. I used two different "layers" and had a ribbon weave in between the letters and then applied a gradient. The end product is something that is much more lighthearted and handmade.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Spokane Arts executive director announces her resignation

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 3:19 PM


When Shannon Halberstadt took the job last year as the executive director of Spokane Arts, the city's nonprofit arts organization, there was some excited buzz within the city's cultural landscape. She was already a known entity in the Seattle arts community and was coming here to energize a scene that was already on the rise.

But today, the Spokane Arts board announced Halberstadt had put in her resignation. She's moving back to Seattle, where her husband has taken a new job.

Spokane Arts came into being as a nonprofit shortly before Halberstadt arrived. Before 2013, the Arts Commission was a city-run organization, but then joined with the Spokane Arts Fund to create the nonprofit. In the little time she was there, Halberstadt said she was pleased with what the group accomplished.

"I really enjoy the work that we’re doing. We have such a good team. There’s so much potential there and we’ve done a lot of good work in a short period of time," Halberstadt told the Inlander today. 

Part of her work includes the introduction of Create Spokane, a month-long series of events all over town taking place in October. And just last night was the latest installment of the popular Cultivate Spokane salon series. She also helped spearhead the ongoing Spokane Mural Project. 

The Spokane Arts board of directors says they will engage in a national search for an executive director, but have already named an interim replacement in Luke Baumgarten. That name should be familiar to Inlander readers — he was a former staff writer and arts editor for the paper and currently writes a monthly column. Most recently, he's been working in advertising at Spokane agency Seven2. Baumgarten is also one of the founders and producers of Terrain, the event in October that has begun spinning off other events throughout the year.

"I’m excited to jump in there," says Baumgarten. "One of the things I’ve found super helpful in the Terrain work I've done is finding partnerships. I’m really excited to see who in the community would be interested in working with Spokane Arts and what kind of ideas they have."

Baumgarten says he will also throw his hat in the ring for the permanent position.

Halberstadt says she'll stick around on a part-time basis for the rest of the calendar year. And when she moves to Seattle, she's not going to keep Spokane's culture a secret.

"I’m always going to be an advocate for Spokane. Having this perspective for Spokane and understanding what’s happening here. It gives me a great opportunity to spread the word.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why Spokane artists had to go to Missoula to show their edgy work

Posted By on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 4:46 PM

At the Hive — a Missoula lumberyard that has been flipped into a community art space — the doors to an art show are marked with a sign that reads "Discretion Advised." 

At the “Art Invasion: Not from Here” exhibit, you'll find a varied collection of artwork that communicates everything from social criticism to personal emotional strife. The artists have not sugarcoated their message with their paintbrush. And the pieces are almost all from Spokane artists who feel their work is too edgy for their hometown galleries.
  • Darrell Wilcox
Jennifer LaRue, curator of this in-your-face collection, has been involved for decades in the Spokane art community as both a gallery manager and the writer of a Spokesman Review art column. She personally connects with more challenging and even violent subjects, but says she has been met by her community’s rejection of this artwork.

“Galleries in Spokane don’t accept nudes, or anything that suggests violence or strife,” LaRue says. “They want art that is vague or pretty. And when all you’re looking at is fluff, you get used to it.”

The pieces in “Not from Here” depict, among other things, a beaten Jesus-like figure being harassed by police, a blurred figure clutching a pill bottle in its grip and what LaRue refers to as a “full on money shot” in a television displaying porn. She argues that the value behind the shock factor in these images is the encouragement to not repress the issues we face, both personally and in society.

“When people are faced with work like this, they are able to connect with emotions that they have feared or felt isolated by,” says LaRue.
  • Darrell Wilcox
LaRue’s migration to Missoula happened when a friend suggested she get involved in the visual art component of the Zootown Fringe Festival happening this weekend. She saw the opportunity to encourage the controversial art she had been rallying for in a different community.

“I had a list of the ones I didn’t want to be lost — powerful painters that don’t get the recognition they deserve in Spokane,” says LaRue.

Six of the seven artists featured in this show are from Spokane, including Darrell Wilcox, whose six paintings in the exhibit communicate the elements and injustices in society that terrify him. As of late, he has received an angry response from the community concerning the brashness of his subject matter. He feels like this is where Spokane shows its extreme conservatism.

"In the past, it was the artists that started to initiate dialogue in paintings," says Wilcox, who has been painting since the 1970s. "I don’t see that anymore.”

His work was removed from a downtown Spokane gallery after the overwhelmingly upset response of community members. 

Shannon Halberstadt, the executive director of Spokane Arts, the city's arts non-profit, agrees that Spokane's art spaces can be overly buttoned-down, especially when it comes to nudity and that isn't doing the city's culture any favors.

"There are actually many galleries that don’t accept nudes and that can be mind boggling," says Halberstadt. "If we want to have a truly vibrant art world, then we should be a little more inclusive of what art is. Art inherently is going to push the edges and if you aren’t including any reflection of nudity or anything that’s unpleasant, that’s not going to help."

All seven artists in the "Not From Here" exhibit have included written descriptions of their message and process to encourage the discussion of themes behind the provocative pieces.

  • Ryan Babcock
The show opened last night, and generated the buzz and positive feedback that LaRue and the others had hoped for. Many expressed their appreciation for the emotionally challenging subjects on a canvas of comments that will be turned into an art piece for an anticipated sequel exhibit.

LaRue saw the contrast in community reaction through the response of people who were taken aback by the bluntness. “Even if it is offensive, they want to leave it. They don’t want the uncomfortable to just go away," she says.

The curator and team of artists want to stay connected and continue in the future with similar shows. LaRue hopes to bring the show back to Spokane, but won't soften the boundary-pushing subject matter.

"We want a vacant space, a warehouse or something that isn't typical. Something that isn't downtown," she says.

Art Invasion: Not From Here • 300 S. Third St. W., Missoula • Through Sun, Aug. 17

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Four days left to submit poems for the new "Railtown Almanac"

Posted By on Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 4:53 PM

In conjunction with the upcoming Create Spokane Arts Month in October, Spokane Poet Laureate Thom Caraway is overseeing the curation of a new anthology of poetry about Spokane and by Spokane-based poets, called the Railtown Almanac


While the collection has already received more than 50 submissions since a call went out earlier this summer, there's still time to submit your work for consideration. The deadline is this Friday, Aug. 15. Caraway hopes to receive work from poets and writers of all ages and backgrounds, including high school students. 

In an email to the Inlander, Caraway says the seed for the idea was planted after he was chosen as the city's Poet Laureate last October. 

"One of the things I wanted to promote was the huge diversity of talented poets living in Spokane, in so many different stages in their careers," he writes. "I think some people know about EWU's MFA program, various university reading series, and other people know about the Spokane Poetry Slam... but there hasn't really been a comprehensive collection of all the different kinds of work going on in town."

Caraway was also partly inspired to create the collection after seeing the success of the local writer anthology Spokane Shorties, released in April as a fundraiser for the annual Get Lit! literary series. 

Railtown Almanac is to be co-edited by Caraway and Jeffrey G. Dodd, and published locally by Sage Hill Press. Writers can submit up to five poems about Spokane, or, if they're residents of the area, they can also include poems on any subject. Both previously published and unpublished work is accepted, and submissions are open to all ages and staged of writers, "from high school kids to retired folk," Caraway notes.

Poems can be submitted online, via a link on the Sage Hill Press website.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

ARTS: A big month for local theater starting tonight

Posted By on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Though the summer months aren't typically known as a busy time for local theater groups, the next few weeks are packed full of stage shows across the Inland Northwest. Several new performances open tonight, and even into next week with the arrival of Broadway's touring production of The Book of Mormon at the INB Performing Arts Center, opening next Tuesday. May other local performances are continuing their runs for a few more weeks before the fall season starts.

Cast of The Addams Family musical. - COURTESY OF CDA SUMMER THEATRE
  • Courtesy of CDA Summer Theatre
  • Cast of The Addams Family musical.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY | Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre brings this new musical to life for this first time in this region, starting tonight. Opening weekend student rush tickets are also available for $10 with proof of school ID.
Aug. 7-24 • Thur-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sat-Sun at 2 pm • $27-$49 • Kroc Center, 1765 W. Golf Course Rd.

LEGALLY BLONDE | Beginning tomorrow night, a cast of young, local actors in grades 7-12 tell the story of Elle Woods, a blonde fashion-focused sorority girl who decides to attends Harvard Law. Opens Friday. 
Aug. 8-17 • Wed-Sat at 7:30, Sun at 2 pm • $10-$19 • Spokane Civic Theatre, 1020 N. Howard •

EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL | A group of college students spend a weekend at an abandoned cabin in this one-night-only rock musical based on the Evil Dead horror films. This production lets audience members get close to the action with "splatter zones" in the front rows. 
Sat, Aug. 9 • Showing at 6 pm and 9:15 pm • $29-$34 • Riverside Place, 1108  W. Riverside •

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN | Christian Youth Theater - Spokane's stage adaptation of the classic film depicts actors discovering the ways their lives will change as silent films fade to cinema with sound. 
Through Aug. 9 • Fri-Sat at 7 pm, Sat at 2 pm • $13-$14 • Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague •

Cast of Avenue Q - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Cast of Avenue Q

AVENUE Q | Sesame Street-style puppets and adulthood meet in this hilarious musical. The themes in this show may not be appropriate for young children. 
Through Aug. 9 • Thur-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm • $14-$20 • Lake City Playhouse, 1320 E. Garden Ave. •

THE ODD COUPLE | Two opposite personalities attempt to coexist as roommates in this one-time staged reading by Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre. 
Wed, Aug. 13 • 7:30 pm • $25 • Kroc Center, 1765 W. Golf Course Rd. •

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM | Fairies, lovers and a play within a play in this Shakespeare classic remind us that the course of true love, and life, never did run smoothly. 
Through Aug. 17 • Wed-Sun, show times vary • $12-$28 • Interplayers Theater, 174 S. Howard •

Cast members from CdA Murder Mystery Theatre. - COURTESY OF CDA MURDER MYSTERY THEATRE
  • Courtesy of CdA Murder Mystery Theatre
  • Cast members from CdA Murder Mystery Theatre.

COEUR D'ALENE MURDER MYSTERY THEATRE | There are still two evenings of mystery left in this summer series. Each show has a limit of 50 people, so reserve your spot in advance.
"Mafia Murders" on Aug. 15 and "A Taste for Wine and Murder" on Aug. 22 • $30-$35 • Coeur d'Alene Cellars • 3890 N Schreiber Way, Coeur d'Alene •

THE EMPIRE SINGS FLAT | A heroic hand model attempts to save the princess from the dastardly Dorf Vader in this original, locally-written, Western-themed melodrama.
Through Aug. 24 • Wed-Sat at 7 pm, Sun at 2 pm • $16-$18 • Sixth Street Theater, 212 Sixth St., Wallace •

THE BOOK OF MORMON | Written by the creators of South Park — Trey Parker and Matt Stone — this nine-time Tony award winning musical has seen great success since it opened on Broadway in 2011. Its music was also co-written with one of the composers and lyricists of Avenue Q, Robert Lopez. 
Aug. 12-17 • Showtimes vary • $45-$155 • INB Performing Arts Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. •

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Downtown Spokane marmot mural getting a new look

Posted By on Mon, Aug 4, 2014 at 11:40 AM

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. 

The artist's design for the Sprague-facing side of the underpass. - TOM QUINN
  • Tom Quinn
  • The artist's design for the Sprague-facing side of the underpass.

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.

These two panels, along with others, are going on the Division-facing side of the underpass. - TOM QUINN
  • Tom Quinn
  • These two panels, along with others, are going on the Division-facing side of the underpass.

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. 

Not much has changed at Division and Third since 2012, when this photo was taken. Spokane Arts' new plan is to display art, instead of campaign signs, at the busy intersection. - CHRISTIAN WILSON
  • Christian Wilson
  • Not much has changed at Division and Third since 2012, when this photo was taken. Spokane Arts' new plan is to display art, instead of campaign signs, at the busy intersection.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

CAT FRIDAY: Cats + art = an awesome First Cat Friday

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 2:38 PM

"Walter Kitty" - SHAWFAN KHAN
  • Shawfan Khan
  • "Walter Kitty"

Cats are a lot of things to their owners — snuggly companions, non-judging confidants, sources of great joy and comedic relief. To Spokane artist and designer Shawfan Khan, her cat Crusty is all of these things but also has become the muse for her latest work. The lifelong artist hasn't always painted cats, but after relocating to Spokane about two years ago and a subsequent decision to adopt a shelter cat, she was inspired to create a new body of work — whimsical, imaginative watercolors themed around the feline form.

Khan's art is being featured at Pottery Place Plus (203 N. Washington) through the month of August, and for today's First Friday gallery events she'll be at the downtown art space for a reception this evening, from 5-9 pm. 

The artist describes her collection of cat watercolor drawings as "quirky and entertaining... I try to capture some of [the cat's] silliness by illustrating a series of cats secretly plotting world domination, or just anthropomorphizing them from pop culture."

Many of Khan's pieces are inspired by Crusty, the cat she adopted from SCRAPS a little more than a year ago. When she went to the shelter, the first-time cat owner says she was looking to bring home a Siamese kitten. Instead she picked Crusty, an older, somewhat disheveled former stray, because he reminded her of a dog she'd once had. 

"He greeted me at the cage and he wanted me to pet his head," she remembers. 

Crusty stood in as the live model for many of Khan's paintings exhibited in her show, and she says he enjoys watching her paint perched in his kitty basket in her home studio.
"[The art] is cartoonish, but it's still realistic, so I'd look at his anatomy, and he's a very active cat. I'll see him do goofy things so that gives me inspiration to paint — it will trigger something," she says.

Khan's art background includes a degree in art and graphic design from Oregon State University, along with a degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She also works in interior design alongside her art, the latter of which includes commissioned pieces and pet portraits. See more of Khan's work on her website and Facebook page

Pottery Place Plus is exhibiting Khan's work alongside illustrations by Saju Kobayashi Kelch, inspired by paper cutouts, Japanese Ukiyo-e and comics. Both artists' work is on display through Aug. 28, and the gallery is open daily
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Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays, Thursdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Continues through May 20

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