In the ongoing effort to revitalize the East Sprague neighborhood (between Perry and Stone streets), the city of Spokane is looking for the community to pitch in. With Cleaning from the Corridor — previously known as Cleaning from the Core when the event was held downtown — volunteers, artists and local businesses are set to team up to clean, update and all-around beautify a struggling area of Spokane.
"We wanted to change the focus to this area this year and get the community involved in changing an area and cleaning it," says Jackie Caro, a community programs manager with the city of Spokane who has been working on the project along with fellow programs manager Alicia Powell.
The April 23 event will feature a widespread cleaning and landscaping effort in the neighborhood, as well as improvements to the façade of the historic buildings along Sprague from 8 am to noon — that's where the volunteers are needed. Businesses will also receive new signage designed by Spokane Falls Community College students.
The event is set to include the creation of murals by local artists, including Ellen Picken and Michael Ruby. One of those murals, on the side of the Boyd-Walker Sewing Machine Company building, which has been operating since the 1930s, will depict the history of sewing machines. Caro says Cleaning from the Corridor will also cover up derelict fencing with other murals as part of an ongoing effort to use public art as a motivator for civic improvement.
"We've seen that art is a beautifier, and it can also create a sense of identity and gives people more sense of pride," says Caro, adding that Sprague will also see the installation of artistic wraps on traffic signal boxes from local artists.
Part of the event is also meant to preview the permanent changes that are either already coming to the neighborhood or could soon be in the works, including efforts to make the streets more walkable and a pop-up park which on this day will feature vendors and games.
From noon to 5 pm, the goal is for the community to celebrate their efforts. Bennidito's Brewpub will have a live band and ping-pong tables will be available, as well as supersized board games from Spokane Sidewalk Games.
To volunteer for Cleaning from the Corridor (Sat, April 23, from 8 am to 5 pm), visit volunteerspokane.org/aem