At most art fundraisers, the works hang on walls until purchased at auction. But on Friday, the Spokane Art School will shake things up with its first-ever Monster Drawing Rally.
In a live drawing event, more than 30 local artists will roll up their sleeves and simultaneously create monsters to fear, or maybe love, on paper. The resulting artworks will be available on the spot for purchase for $50 apiece. Proceeds will go to the art school’s children’s programming.
The rally, which will take place at the Montvale Event Center, will be part performance art, part lab experiment and part art market. There will be three one-hour rounds of drawing time, during which patrons can walk among the working artists at their stations and ask questions, or just watch.
“For many people, it can be intimidating to go to an art auction,” said Sue Bradley, president of the Spokane Art School’s board of directors. “This kind of event lowers the hurdles and makes art accessible and affordable for everyone.”
Helping shepherd the Monster Drawing Rally is Travis Masingale, an assistant professor at Eastern Washington University who joined the Spokane Art School board earlier this year.
“The rally is a great way to activate people and get them involved in the creative process that you don’t typically get to witness,” Masingale said. “When I was a kid I loved watching people draw. Drawing is magic.”
Among the “drawers” will be Masingale and Bradley, as well as Shelby Allison, Greg duMonthier, Mary Farrell, Robert Fifield, Ric Gendron, Gerald L. Haworth, Ginelle Hustrulid, Kiefer Jones, Melissa Lang, Melanie Lieb, Kim Long, Katey Mandley, Robert McKirdie, Judy Patterson, Jesse Pierpoint, and Tom Quinn.
As the board’s youngest board member, 42-year-old Masingale said he recruited emerging artists to join the established local artists volunteering for the event. Professional artists, freelance designers, professors, teachers, and EWU alumni will all rub shoulders in the “drawing pit” at the Montvale.
Other activities at the family-friendly event will include open drawing by members of the public on huge easels set up near the rally participants. A silent auction will be held of works by celebrity artists who have created monsters ahead of time, including Gendron, Mel McCuddin and Kay O’Rourke.
There will be a no-host bar and food, with live music by the Denin Koch Trio.
Masingale believes the fundraiser will bring new energy and activism to supporting the art school’s mission to teach the Spokane community how “to make and enjoy art.”
“I joined the board because … I would like to see people stop talking about the art school like it’s this thing that doesn’t exist anymore,” Masingale said. “I want to talk about making the school what it can be now, and how it can help our community become more art-oriented.”
The Spokane Art School has had a difficult history. In the wake of cuts in federal and state support for the arts, the school shuttered its doors in 2008 and sold its downtown building.
For the past five years, board members have been working to reinvigorate the school as a nonprofit, and to extend new roots in the community.
Bradley sold her own Tinman Gallery in the Garland District to the Spokane Art School three years ago. The school now hosts a modest but increasing number of studio classes and a full-time gallery.
The Monster Drawing Rally is the first big fundraiser the school has held in its new iteration. Bradley said that facilitating more hands-on arts education opportunities for local schoolchildren is a primary focus for the future.
“We had moms whose children came to our classes this summer who asked when we were offering them again because there are hardly any art classes in schools anymore,” Bradley said.
In a positive sign for the vibrancy of Spokane’s art scene, there’s another major art event happening at the same time as the Monster Drawing Rally, just 350 feet west of the Montvale. “Pushing the Boundaries,” is a non-juried show by 50 local artists gathered by Art Seed, a grassroots arts curating group.
Art Seed’s show will include spoken word, live painting, and live music by Itchy kitty, Kalaj, Madeleine McNeil, David Simmons, and Chad Moore. The free exhibition goes from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the space above the Lucky Leaf cannabis shop.
Adding to the weekend’s fun art happenings is a joint fundraiser on Sunday by the Richmond Art Collective, Laboratory Spokane, and Higher Ground Animal Sanctuary. The fundraiser will be held from noon to dusk at Solace Mead and Cider, which will be celebrating its one-year anniversary in Kendall Yards.
Festivities at Solace will include a Pop-up Art Studio, an interactive music demo, an animal kissing booth, a silent auction, and a DJ.
“I’ve been doing art in this town for 20 years now and I just love that we are at this point where so much is happening every weekend,” Masingale said. “There was a time when nobody would schedule anything right after Terrain, and here we are a week later and everybody still has the creative energy.”