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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fall Visual Arts Tour stretches beyond downtown

Think of it as a mass, happy art march.

It’s Spokane’s semiannual Visual Arts Tour, a super-sized First Friday art walk. If you’ve never participated, you might be surprised at the crowds that throng the sideways, galleries and performance spaces of downtown and beyond.

The Visual Arts Tour, unlike a regular First Friday, extends beyond downtown and into Browne’s Addition, the Garland District and other art spots.

This fall version of the Visual Arts Tour will feature 41 exhibit spaces, ranging from the quiet and intimate to the bustling and raucous.

Let’s begin with what should be the most bustling of all:

Terrain 2010, at the Music City Building, 1011 W. First Ave. – This artist-organized event is a high-energy mix of two different concepts: juried art show and concert. The work of dozens of mostly young and emerging artists will fill the Music City’s walls; live bands will fill the large space with sound. It’s a great place to see the work of many artists, all in one spot.

Riverspeak Collective, “Kinetic,” 523 W. Sprague Ave. (the former Lorinda Knight Gallery) – Speaking of youthful energy, this group of mostly young artists has put together a “motion-oriented multimedia exhibit.” They’ll also have some hand-bound art ’zines available for a donation.

Jen Erickson and Scott Kolbo: “Erickson/Kolbo: New York,” Saranac Art Projects, 25 W. Main St. – Erickson’s drawings are “comprised of tiny flying creatures and infinitesimally small zeros.” Kolbo’s drawings, prints and video projections are full of recurring characters and “humorously grotesque environments.” Put them together and you have a wildly creative visual feast.

Harold Balazs: “Winding Down (Non-billable Hours ),” Tinman Gallery, 811 W. Garland Ave. – The granddaddy of visual arts in the Inland Northwest gives his many fans something different in this Tinman exhibit: all new, mostly small-scale works on paper and metal.

Casey Klahn: “The Dramatic Landscape ,” Tinman Too, 809 W. Garland Ave. – Klahn’s nationally recognized pastel landscapes will be on display at this new Tinman location. It’s right next to the original Tinman Gallery, so make it a two-fer along with the Balazs exhibit.

Fritz Renato Bachmeyer: “The Art of ‘Old Master Painting,’ ” J.F. Thamm Gallery, 11 S. Washington St. (Hutton Building) – Bachmeyer is not exactly an old master, but he’s a classically trained painter whose oils are done in the tradition of the European court and salon painters. This should be an elegant change of pace from some of the more frenetic tour offerings.

CHAIR-ity Event, Spokane Community Warehouse, 505 W. Riverside Ave. – A collection of chairs, creatively decorated by local artists, will be on display and raffled off as a fundraiser for the Spokane Community Warehouse, a program of St. Margaret’s Shelter.

Dean Davis: “Abandoned Beauty,” Barrister Winery, 1213 Railroad Ave. – Davis caused a sensation a year ago with his “painterly” photos of the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox and other Spokane landmarks. Now, he’s going a different direction with equally stunning photos of abandoned barns, sheds and other old buildings. Fine wine and live music help make the Barrister Winery one of the most popular venues on the tour.

• Selene Santucci: “Figurative Meets Abstract, a 10-Year Retrospective ,” Chase Gallery, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. (Post Street entrance of City Hall) – This exhibit covers a decade of the Pullman artist’s abstract paintings. Spokane Arts Director Karen Mobley calls Santucci’s work “calm, cerebral and thoughtful.”

Suwanee Lennon: “The Fourth Scroll ,” Clearstory Galley, 1202 N. Government Way – Spokane photographer Lennon grew up in a Thai leprosy village. Recently she returned with her camera to tell the remarkable story of this place and its people. The Clearstory Gallery is a perennially popular tour location; there will also be live music and food.

• Kyoko Niikuni and Patti Reiko Osebold: “Sublime & Complex: The Fine Paper Art of Japan,” Dodson’s Jewelers, 516 W. Riverside Ave. – Both artists specialize in Japanese paper art, but each has a different approach. Niikuni practices the art of torn paper; Osebold uses paper to create Japanese theme dolls. This would be a good time to check out Dodson’s new fine-art gallery space.

• Ninth Annual Archie Bray Resident Exhibition, Kolva Sullivan Gallery, 115 S. Adams St. – Twenty of the nation’s top ceramic artists, in residence at Helena’s Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, will exhibit a wide range of ceramic works, from figurative sculpture to bowls. This is a must-see for anyone interested in ceramics.

• Drawn to the Wall IV and Robert Lloyd: “How Do You See China ?,” Jundt Art Museum, Gonzaga University, 502 E. Boone Ave. – Drawn to the Wall features works by five local artists – Michael Horswill, Louise Kodis, Ken Spiering, Carolyn Stephens and Gordon Wilson – who have drawn pieces directly on large moveable walls. It’s ephemeral art, in existence only for the length of this exhibition. Lloyd’s exhibit is a series of photographs of China.

• Melissa Cole and Ric Gendron: “Beauty and the Beast … Monsters, Mermaids, Demons and Divas,” Kress Gallery, River Park Square, Third Level, 808 W. Main Ave. – Two well-known local artists unleash their imaginations on wildly inventive mermaids and other creatures.

And those are just a few options. One of the beauties of the Visual Arts Tour is that you can stumble on places that will end up as your favorites.

And this year, you can vote for your favorite. Sponsor Sterling Savings Bank has introduced a “First Friday Favorite” people’s choice award. The public can vote for its favorite venue (downtown venues only) with ballots at all participating locations.

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