Spokane’s semiannual Visual Arts Tours are always lively, boisterous events, filling the streets and galleries of downtown and beyond.
And this fall’s version, on Friday evening (continuing Saturday in many locations), promises to be especially popular.
“I know that the recession is taking its toll on the arts, but we’ve been having terrific crowds for our events and I think the Visual Arts Tour will be bigger than ever,” said Karen Mobley, the city of Spokane arts director.
“That’s because it’s basically free. We will have mobs of people downtown.”
Those mobs will have plenty of events to choose from. The self-guided tour includes 47 venues, most of them downtown, others spread into unlikely spots such as the city’s public swimming pools (see below to find out why).
A complete list of the venues and exhibits will follow, but we’ve picked out a few highlights to whet your curiosity about this remarkable showcase of local culture:
• Rick Singer: Spokane Musicians, Chase Gallery, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. (Spokane City Hall) – The concept is identical to photographer Singer’s previous project, in which he took portraits of local artists and arts benefactors. Now, he has transferred the concept to music-makers.
He asked hundreds of Spokane solo musicians, bands and combos to come to his studio and pose for portraits. The result, gathered together in 181 photos, is a breathtaking visual reminder of the richness of our local musical culture.
You’ll see tie-dyed hippie bands, aging jazz swingers, metal thrashers and Renaissance consorts.
Some portraits are straightforward studies of guitarists with their instruments. Others are more playful, as in, the portrait of pianist Kendall Feeney, in which all you see is one eye peeking out from a gap in a musical score.
It’s a can’t-miss exhibit for anyone who cares about Spokane’s musical culture.
• Terrain, 1011 W. First Ave. – This is an organization of young artists who have assembled a juried exhibition of work by artists between 18 and 35. The exhibit should be wide-ranging, incorporating pop music (headlined by local celebrity DJ James Pants), interpretive dance and slam poetry as well as painting and sculpture.
Last year’s show has been described with words like “energetic” and “wild” and this one promises to build on that success. The whole thing is billed as “an art show and a networking function – a debutante ball at a rock concert.”
• Hutton Building exhibits, 5, 9 and 15 S. Washington – Here’s a chance to sample three exhibits right next door to each other at the Hutton Building.
They include the “Blue Wednesday Group: Fall Show,” featuring a consortium of artists in various media; “Robert Kraut: Paintskins,” consisting of paintings and prints; and the “River Ridge Association of Fine Arts: A Celebration,” featuring a variety of media.
• Spokane Aquatic Centers – Yes, these are Spokane’s newly refurbished public swimming pools. Each center features commissioned artwork as part of the Percent for Art Parks Improvement Bond.
This will be the unofficial coming-out party for these pieces, which range from lattice panels to mosaics to abstract forms. (See full listing for addresses and details.)
• Father Bruno and Ben Joyce: Tuscany Landscape, Barrister Winery, 1213 W. Railroad Ave. – Father Bruno Segatta has been described as a “living legend” by students (and parents) in Gonzaga University’s Florence program. He was the former dean of that program for 23 years. Joyce is a Gonzaga grad and painter.
These are their Tuscan-themed paintings. The proceeds from Father Bruno’s art supports an orphanage in Africa.
• Reflect/Engage/Invest: Local Architects, Interns and Associates, Fernwell Building, 505 W. Riverside Ave., Suite 100 – Here’s the place to check out for a an arts-tour change of pace. You’ll see building models, drawings, photography and furniture design – all with the goal of bringing attention to the arts of architecture and design.
• Jundt Art Museum, Gonzaga University, 502 E. Boone Ave. – The Jundt is worth a trip not just for the “Corita Kent: CORITA” exhibit, featuring the famous screen prints and ephemera of the former nun and social activist, but also for “Ruben Trejo: A Celebration of Life,” a day of the dead altar assembled in honor of the late, great Spokane artist.
• Jason Sharp and Mata Ortiz: Panels of Light, Kizuri, 35 W. Main Ave., Suite 100 – Here you’ll see delicate wood-frame lamps and Japanese-inspired lanterns, along with the famous Mexican pottery.
• Tresia Oosting: Redressed, Tinman Gallery, 811 W. Garland Ave. – Oosting paints, stitches and wraps “what seems like skin” over objects. See for yourself how this can restore “magic” into otherwise forsaken objects.