June 10, 2012 in Letters, Opinion

Art imperative to city


As a longtime supporter of the arts in this region, I feel obliged to comment on the proposed measure to cut the already minuscule budget for the city Art Department, and in turn to eliminate the position of its director.

Karen Mobley, the director, has worked for many years to build the status of art in Spokane. The shows she hangs in the City Hall gallery have been remarkable in their variety and scope, and her outreach to the community extends not only to the schools but also to civic organizations and all who call on her.

She knows every artist. She can reach any of them at any time. Art by volunteer committee can’t do that, and no committee member would work the long hours Karen does. None has her expertise. She is a true advocate, dedicated to her task. A city the size of Spokane needs such a person, and without a doubt, Spokane needs the Art Department she leads.

With the loss of the art curator at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture and of the Art School, Spokane is left with only the local college art departments, the private galleries and the businesses that sometimes show artists as a bonus. The gallery at City Hall is open and beautiful and already there.

Surely the city budget writers can find a place in their collective heart for a poor relation, the Art Department, to limp along. It may be troublesome to deliver art out of City Hall, but it is imperative to the cultural life of our community.

Jody Sahlin


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