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Spark, SpIFF, Saranac among winners of arts grants

If arts funding is any indication of Spokane’s mindset, then the city’s new motto “Creative By Nature” grew a little more real this week.

Spokane Arts, the nonprofit organization dedicated to amplifying the city as the arts and culture hub for the region, announced its second round of Spokane Arts Grants Award winners this week.

Ten local artists and organizations were selected from a field of 58 applicants. The grant funds will support a range of creative endeavors, from new audience generation efforts by the Spokane Symphony to providing free dance instruction to underserved children in the West Central neighborhood.

“I’m excited by the unique mix of proposals that were funded in the second round,” said Spokane Arts Executive Director Melissa Huggins. “Some proposals will be using art as a means of responding to complex community problems, which means that even a small grant award could ripple out and impact a large number of people.”

The total 2017 grant funding available to be awarded is $85,000, spread across four rounds of grants. The funding comes from the city’s admissions tax, a portion of which is dedicated to Spokane Arts via an ordinance passed in 2016.

“Out of many applications, the selection panel was able to award 10 relatively small grants in this second round,” Spokane Arts Grants Administrator Jennifer Knickerbocker said. “Between this second round, and the first, SAGA has awarded eighteen grants so far in 2017.”

Member-operated cooperative Saranac Art Projects was awarded $3,900 to maintain and expand its mission to present high-quality art exhibitions, education and community outreach. The money will go to help emerging artists and creatives new to Spokane, who otherwise could not afford the dues necessary to join the co-op and enjoy the collaborations and mentorship opportunities available to members.

Hilary Hart and Rick Singer, who have cultivated a group called “Spokane Women Together,” were awarded $3,400 to fund a photography project called “See Me Spokane.” The “See Me Spokane” project will seek to normalize the presence and contributions of Spokane’s Muslim women, including those who wear the hijab, through a series of portraits and text projected onto downtown buildings and displayed as prints in the Downtown Public Library.

Shine Youth Fund will receive $3,300 to provide three six-week after-school dance programs, which begin in October 2017, at the West Central Community Center. The grant will pay to hire a dance instructor to keep the cost of dance lessons low and to provide scholarships to families in need.

Spark Central will collect $3,300 to start a new West Central Publishing Union, where children and adults can participate in creative writing workshops and take home personalized, bound published books with their works. Local university students majoring in education will be engaged as mentors to local schoolchildren.

The Garland District was awarded $2,000 to help create an art alley of murals between Monroe and Post. The mural project will be completed by professional artists, and will include a collaborative project with students from a neighborhood youth center.

The Spokane International Film Festival (SpIFF) was awarded $2,000 to help cover the costs of venue rentals, marketing, and projector rentals. Another expense SpIFF sought to offset is its Posterize show, in which local artists display their interpretations of movie posters for the festival’s new films.

Laboratory, which provides housing and exhibition space for interactive, digital, and performance artists-in-residence, was awarded $2,000. The grant will help Laboratory focus on a summer dance program in collaboration with the Vytal Movement Dance Studio, the Gonzaga Theater and Dance Department, and a diverse range of local dance groups.

The South Asia Cultural Association of Spokane (SACA) was awarded $2,000 to bring Indian artists to Spokane to present three rare cultural art performances, including classical Indian music Jugalbandhi.

The Spokane Symphony was awarded $2,000 to support “The M Show – Music, Mayhem and Mystery,” a new show designed to generate younger audiences for live symphonic music. The symphony’s concertmaster, violinist Mateusz Wolski, will use humor and his fascination with fast cars to introduce musical discussions, guests, and performances at alternative local venues.

Chelsea Martin and Ian Amberson were awarded $1,200 to start a one-day public Zine Fest celebrating zines, small press books, comics, drawings, prints, cards, and other small paper media DIY items.


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