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Spotlight: Mural project aims to hide downtown crater

Sun., Aug. 10, 2014

People have wondered for six years about the pit at the corner of Third and Division in downtown Spokane that was once called St. John’s Lutheran Church. After the century-old building was torn down to make way for a hotel, the economy collapsed. To this day, it looks as if the entire worldwide economy cratered right where that church once stood.

This week, Spokane Arts put out a call for proposals to create a temporary public mural that will be displayed there, giving motorists entering Spokane from a busy Interstate 90 off-ramp something to look at besides a hole in the ground. The Mobile Mural Project, as it’s called, will commission up to 60 different artists to create 240 feet of art to hide the blight. The project is a collaborative effort among the city of Spokane, the Downtown Spokane Partnership, and Spokane Arts.

“It’s a very visible, public way for artists and community groups to get their art out there,” said Shannon Halberstadt, executive director of the Spokane Arts Fund. “These types of mobile murals are a way to create a visually pleasing barrier, as well as offer a place to express ourselves culturally.”

The project has 60 panels available, each 8 feet tall by 4 feet wide, and artists may submit proposals for works of up to eight panels. Halberstadt said the mobile mural project will be open to a wide range of artists.

“We’re really looking for a good diversity of expressions,” she said.

The work is mobile, so it will be temporary only in terms of location.

“The lot is up for sale,” said Halberstadt. “We all hope that somebody is going to purchase the property and re-develop it. In that sense, I hope the murals aren’t there for very long. We can take those murals when they’re done for other construction sites.”

Proposals must be submitted by Aug. 25. For more information, visit

Nicholas Deshais

Blue skies and symphonic music

The symphony is stuffy, right?

People get dressed up, head to a fancy concert hall and listen to beautiful music written hundreds of years ago.

But if there’s ever a chance to have your assumptions tested, it’s this month, as the Spokane Symphony goes outdoors.

First up, the symphony heads to a bluff above the Spokane Valley for two Soirees on the Edge at Arbor Crest – on Wednesday and again on Aug. 20. Enjoy wine with works by the grand masters W.A. Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, as well as American composers John Orft and Michael Gandolfi, Valentine Silvestrov, Haralabos, Jan Jarvlepp and Pablo de Sarasate.

Tickets – $20 for general admission, $40 for table seating – are on sale through all TicketsWest outlets. Arbor Crest is at 4705 N. Fruit Hill Road.

Once again, the symphony will spend Labor Day playing for free in area parks. They’ll be at Liberty Lake’s Pavillion Park on Aug. 30, and Spokane’s Comstock Park on Sept. 1. For details, visit

Carolyn Lamberson

‘Book’ lottery

As it did with “Wicked” earlier this year, West Coast Entertainment will hold a ticket lottery before each showing of “Book of Mormon” for the chance to buy $25 tickets to that night’s show.

Entries will be accepted at the INB Performing Arts Center box office – 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. – beginning two and a half hours before curtain. Thirty minutes later, names will be drawn at random and the winners will be able to purchase discounted tickets. Regular prices range from $45 to $154, and they’re available through TicketsWest.

The Tony-winning musical opens Tuesday and runs through Aug. 17. For details, visit www.bestofbroadway

Carolyn Lamberson

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