Voices

West Central pairs art festival and Advent

Cheri Nelson, right, a community minister at Salem Lutheran Church, helps artist Omer Howard install his oil paintings that will be for sale at The Second Annual West Central Festival of the Arts being held at the church through Dec. 22. (Colin Mulvany)
Cheri Nelson, right, a community minister at Salem Lutheran Church, helps artist Omer Howard install his oil paintings that will be for sale at The Second Annual West Central Festival of the Arts being held at the church through Dec. 22. (Colin Mulvany)

About a dozen artists are showing paintings, quilts and sculptures as part of the West Central Festival of the Arts at Salem Lutheran Church, at 1428 W. Broadway Ave. The festival runs until Christmas and features concerts, readings and gallery viewings, and finishes with an invitation to caroling in the West Central neighborhood on Dec. 22.

“We did the first arts festival last year for a full week in September,” said the Rev. Liv Larson Andrew. “This year we decided to tie it in with Advent.”

Advent is the church season leading up to Christmas. It’s four weeks long and “reminds us to slow down and reflect,” Larson Andrew said.

One of the artists, Omer Howard, lives just down the street.

He has been painting for 30 years and is showing six smaller and one large oil painting.

“I had some art work at Indaba, across the street,” Howard said. “That’s how I heard about the arts festival.”

He described his painting style as fauvism – a French expressionist movement favored by Henri Matisse, among others.

“I just paint what I like to paint,” Howard said.

Other artists show photography, watercolor and quilts as well as woodcarvings.

“Most of the artists are from West Central,” Larson Andrew said.

The congregation has been around for 125 years in West Central and Larson Andrew said the arts festival is a way for Salem Lutheran Church to show it support the arts, and to break stereotypes about the neighborhood.

“We have so many good things going on around here,” she said.

Naomi Flaherty and Mackenzie Karn organized this year’s festival schedule which includes a concert with Spokane Choral Artists on Saturday, and Spokane’s poet laureate Thom Caraway hosting a literary evening on Dec. 20.

Larson Andrew said she would like to see the church building used more all year.

“We have some small offices that could be used for art galleries or something,” Larson Andrew said. “Who knows what could grow out of this?”

Howard was happy to have a place to show his paintings so close to home.

What is he most looking forward to about the art festival?

“I hope someone will buy a small painting for $200,” Howard said, “so I can get something extra for Christmas.”



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