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Saturate: Citywide effort aims to raise the profile of artists of color

During Black History Month, Spokane Arts will launch its second annual Saturate, a citywide collaboration highlighting all local artists of color.

As part of its mission to amplify the city as the cultural center for the region, Spokane Arts promotes local artists throughout the year. The original plan was to initiate the Saturate program for artists of color every other year only.

However, after Saturate’s successful launch last year, it was clear that there was a continuing need to promote diverse voices to strengthen the entire arts community. Spokane Arts decided to set aside each February as a time to highlight local musicians, writers, performers and creative people of color.

“To combat hate and the systematic exclusion of minorities means uplifting those who may have not have had a voice in our community,” said Spokane Arts’ Saturate coordinator Remelisa Cullitan. “Saturate is a time to make room to listen and to give artists of color the spotlight and the mic.”

Saturate events are part of a larger Winter Visual Arts Tour. For more comprehensive listings of all February arts events, go to spokanearts.org

Here are some Saturate highlights happening at participating galleries, theaters, shops and libraries. Opening receptions are Friday, unless otherwise noted:

Fiber artist May Kytonen’s installation “Close/Divide” is up at Saranac Art Projects. Local Asian-American friends of the artist helped spin the yarn and explored their stories as part of the creative process. Opening reception will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 25 W. Main Ave.

Celebrated local painters Melissa Cole, Ric Gendron and Kim Long will team up for a lively group show, “Birds of a Feather, Through Thick and Thin,” at New Moon Art Gallery. Coming from cultures in which storytelling is an integral part of everyday life, these talented artists depict dynamic people, animals and environments infused with magical realism. Opening reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 1326 E. Sprague Ave.

The Kolva-Sullivan Gallery will feature artist Melanie Lieb Taylor’s multimedia exhibition, “The Comeuppance of a Lazy Antisocial Rabbit.” Taylor’s solo show includes painting, drawing, installation and sound. This exhibition explores childish themes and the underlying political agenda to condition the young mind through role play. Also visit Kolva-Sullivan’s next-door neighbor Trackside Studio Ceramic Art Gallery to soak in studio founder Chris Kelsey’s mind-blowing sculptures and wall pieces in “Tangentia.” Both receptions open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 115 S. Adams St.

Jeremy Salazar brings his art of portrait impressionism in acrylics, oils, pastel and charcoal to the Leftbank Wine Bar. Raised on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico, Salazar’s style is a bold and unorthodox mix that allows the personality of his subjects to shine through. Open Feb. 2 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. at 108 N. Washington St.

Check out the Downtown Public Library on First Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. when painter Salik Seville and dollmaker Denise Roberson hold their annual “Art for the Community” exhibition. A Navy veteran who has experienced homelessness in the past, Seville encourages patrons to bring non-perishable food items to exchange for his brightly painted canvases. Or pay $50 for a painting, knowing that Seville donates all of his proceeds to feed local homeless vets.

While at the library Friday night, groove to the sounds of Brotha Nature as he performs his solo beatbox jazz and hip-hop fusion. Then head up to the third floor gallery to take in “If You Really Knew Me, Stories of Survivors and Warriors.” The mixed media exhibition deals with domestic violence and human trafficking in Spokane through personal storytelling. Local photographer Robert Lloyd’s huge photos of female survivors are on the walls. Doug Dalton and DaShawn Bedford’s videos, in which the women share their harrowing stories, are accessible through an augmented reality app that viewers can download on their phones. Documentary photography by Shelli Sonderen. The benefit, the musical performance and the human trafficking exhibit are all at the downtown library at 906 W. Main Ave.

For another musical experience with your visual art, cross the street to hit the Chase Gallery’s “Connectivity Matters” group exhibition. The collage and mixed media show will feature musical performances by the Weddle Twins beginning at 6 p.m. Artists showcased are Naoko Morisawa, Heidi Farr, Rachel Smith, Patrick Sullivan and Jacob Miller. Reception is from 5 to 8 p.m. near City Hall council chambers in the lower level at 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

Artist and community activist Jacob Johns will mount an eclectic multimedia show of new works and live Native American musical performances. “Forward Movement,” will be held in the basement of the Lorraine Building and includes a makeshift movie theater to project videos through an augmented reality application. Two shows, starting at 7 p.m. today and Saturday at 308 W. First Ave.

Spokane Civic Theatre will stage “York,” a one-man play about the only black man on the Lewis and Clark expedition. York was William Clark’s slave, who proved to be an important participant on the historic journey. The show is on the main stage today at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at www.spokanecivictheatre.com.

Local writers will host “Diverse Voices,” a writing group for adult and teens. All experience levels are encouraged to express their diverse voices, whether it’s whispering, murmuring, silent or full-voiced. Some will come with anger or sadness; others with regret or joy. All stories welcome. Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 1214 W Summit Parkway.

Art Jacobs will exhibit his charcoal and pastel portraits of some prominent African Americans who have left their impact on society. His show is on during the month of February at the Hillyard Library at 4005 N. Cook

“A Mixed Media Melange” by Tracy Poindexter-Canton, is an assortment of work using acrylics, oil pastels, ink and collage. Poindexter-Canton has based one of her expressionist pieces on the poem “Renewing Our Visits” by Spokane poet Stephen Pitters. Her show is at the Spokane Public Library’s Indian Trail Branch. At 4909 W. Barnes Road.

Robert Lloyd’s multimedia photography exhibit “How I See It: An African-American’s World View,” chronicles his travels in Japan. His pieces will be on display at the East Side Library and the South Hill Library during regular hours at both branches.

Speaking of the libraries, there are several other exciting Saturate-related events happening at various branches, from African drumming and African American story time, to poetry readings and Black History month lectures. Go to www.spokanelibrary.org for details.


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