Reinaldo Gil Zambrano is more used to working with ink in his printmaking studio than he is receiving it in the form of media attention, which has been abundant since he first made an impression on the Northwest arts scene a few years ago. His most recent efforts include a show at North Idaho College and a November exhibition at Saranac Art Projects, where he is a member and where he'll participate in the gallery's annual Small Works show.
Gil Zambrano joined the gallery in 2018, when he was the beneficiary of an emerging artist residency program Saranac had created through a Spokane Arts grant. He became familiar with the gallery the year prior while still at the University of Idaho completing his master of fine arts degree.
A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Gil Zambrano was already familiar with the Northwest, however, having earned his bachelor of fine arts in 2013 from College of Idaho in Caldwell. Although he considered two master's programs in the United Kingdom, he chose Idaho, where he also distinguished himself as a teacher.
"I do enjoy teaching but I also enjoy a sense of community," says Gil Zambrano, who is an adjunct instructor at both Eastern Washington University as well as the Spokane Print and Publishing Center, which he co-founded.
His goal in the classroom, says Gil Zambrano, is "creating this environment of openness, just creating this space where it's OK to be vulnerable."
Since 2017, Gil Zambrano has been all over the place. He brought his printing expertise to Emerge Gallery in Coeur d'Alene for its first Ink Rally, which used a steamroller to print bedsheet-sized prints, then resurrected the event in a 2019 collaboration with Terrain called Spokane Print Fest.
In 2018 alone, he participated in more than a dozen exhibitions, from a juried show at Chase Gallery to an exhibition entitled Left Behind: Memory & Migration at Richmond Art Collective, as well as several out-of-area exhibitions.
"What I try to do every day is wake up, have breakfast with my wife [fellow Saranac member Ashley Vaughn] and spend two hours on emails." His to-do list includes responding to opportunities such as visiting artist programs, exhibitions and grants, like the $5,000 Spokane Arts SAGA grant he won in 2018 to purchase a printing press and launch RGZ Prints.
And he's been getting ready for the annual Small Works show and exhibition, where he will be showing several prints, including a pattern he designed for paper birds you can put together yourself.
The Small Works show features small or medium-sized pieces — hence the name — that are ideally more affordable for gift-giving. Some of the artists' works will also be included in one of two gift boxes. Although the contents of one box is visible, the other box is available by silent auction only and with artworks hidden from bidders.
Other items in the exhibition, which runs through Dec. 29, have been specifically created for the December show like ceramics from longtime member Lisa Nappa or jewelry by returning member Melanie Lieb.
Lieb was a member two years ago, took a year off, showing work around town, including at Kolva-Sullivan, and yet returned to Saranac this year. The location gets a lot of foot traffic, says Lieb, including from the nearby Magic Lantern, Saranac Public House and visitors to Main Avenue.
"There's nothing else like this in Spokane," Lieb says. "There's no other art spaces, at least, that speak to me that have that contemporary vibe."
In addition to works by Lieb and Gil Zambrano, the following members will have artwork available at the Saranac Small Works show: Alan Chatham, Ann Porter, Bradd Skubinna, Chris Tyllia, Dan McCann, Hannah Koeske, Jenny Hyde, Jessica Earle, Joshua Hobson, Kurt Madison, Lisa Nappa, Louise Kodis, Margot Casstevens, Mariah Boyle, Mary Farrell, Roger Ralston, Roin Morigeau and Tobe Harvey.♦
Saranac Small Works Show and exhibition • Dec. 6-29, Thur 2-6 pm, Fri-Sat 12-8 pm, Sun 4-9 pm • Free • Saranac Art Projects • 25 W. Main Ave. • Facebook: Saranac Art-Projects