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Inland Crafts, longtime show, shuts down

Inland Crafts has folded after 29 years of hosting a juried fine-crafts exhibition and sale in Spokane.

The nonprofit’s board decided hosting the annual show was “more than we felt like we could continue doing,” said Spokane fiber artist Louise Kodis, one of the show’s founders in 1983.

Kodis said the November show saw a decline in attendance, but the artists reported total sales were up considerably over last year.

Because of that, “it seems to be better to bring things to closure on a high note than when things are struggling,” she said.

The event was founded as Inland Craft Warnings to showcase the work of seven artists, including Kodis. The November show featured the work of more than 60 regional artists, including sculptors, jewelers and woodworkers.

The economy played some part in the decision to end the show, Kodis said, as did the amount of work involved for the volunteer board.

Karen Mobley, Spokane city arts director, said the arts scene locally and nationally is “definitely a changing landscape.”

The Davenport Arts District organization closed down late last year after 25 years in existence.

Aside from economic troubles, events have life cycles, Mobley said, and “younger artists in Spokane are not necessarily doing fine crafts in the same way.”

They’re also competing against producers globally because of the ease of buying over the Internet, she said.

Still, she said, Inland Crafts was “one of the highest quality shows in the whole region. It’s compared favorably with Bellevue and other large-scale craft markets,” and she said it concerns her that Spokane has one less “destination” venue now.