Summer is gone, taking with it outdoor art festivals and artists’ studio tours.
Not so, said artist Janet Wilbanks; she and more than a dozen artists are gearing up for the first Slightly West of Spokane Artists Studio Tour, a free self-guided event that will lead participants from Medical Lake to Cheney.
Scheduled for Nov. 27, the tour’s date was decided by artist Dennis Smith. “Dennis has been opening his home studio in Medical Lake to the public just after Thanksgiving for many years,” Wilbanks said. “When I started discussing the idea of having other area artists join in he thought it would be a great idea just as long as we did it in late November. I think it’s a good time. Families are gathering and thinking about Christmas.”
Wilbanks has lived in Cheney since 1991. She and her husband bought their house in 2000. In 2006, a garage was built with a beautiful studio space above that has plenty of windows and a gas fireplace. There, Wilbanks creates still-lifes with a twist as she adds the unexpected like a toy dinosaur or, in “I Only Have Eyes for You,” a potato, needles and thread, a vintage camera, and a peacock feather.
She also does portraits. She will be sharing her studio with artist Ron Gooley, who specializes in woodturning. His bowls and other vessels will be displayed alongside Wilbanks’ paintings. Her studio is the fifth stop on the map.
The first stop is at Donna Kulibert’s Medical Lake studio which is attached to the garage of her home. Signs and strings of light will lead a visitor to a display of her funny cat sculptures and pottery, dishes, vases, and other pieces that all contain sculptural elements from the carved dishes to the cat cookie jar complete with whiskers.
Stop No. 2 is Dennis Smith’s studio above the garage. He will display his many mediums alongside his son’s curious and thought-provoking sculptures done in translucent porcelain and hand-built Raku. Charlotte Yocom will also be there displaying her hand-pierced and painted lamp shades as will Jim Everman who will be sharing his hand-created wooden accessories and accent pieces.
Stop No. 3 is Adam and Kathee Scoggin’s place, a converted barn where the main floor is used as studio space and the living quarters are upstairs. There, a visitor will see high-fired stoneware and porcelain, functional, decorative, and outdoor sculptures. The latter includes a series of figures in meditative poses. Called “Ancestors,” they range from a foot tall to seven feet.
Stop No. 4 is Lola Phar’s Cheney home. “The paintings that I will be showing are sort of a scrapbook of my life – landscapes of the places I’ve been,” she said.
Wilbanks’ place is next on the map followed by a stop at the Cheney Historical Museum where painter Judy McKeehan will be displaying her work.
The last stop, Picture Perfect, is a custom frame shop and small gallery where Viza Arlington will show her woodblock prints and etchings, and Michael Ault will show his black-and-white regional photography.
All stops will include light snacks and opportunities to meet the artists. “It’s the human connection that’s most important,” Wilbanks said, “That’s what art is all about.”