This First Friday, the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox will kick off a visual arts exhibit by 15 local artists and designers whose works were inspired by classical composers. Spokane Symphony Conductor Eckart Preu provided the names of the composers – some traditional, some contemporary – from which the artists had to choose.
The resulting artworks, 18 4-by-6-foot posters, will be installed temporarily in the windows along First Avenue and Monroe Street. The original posters and additional prints will be for sale during the exhibition’s opening, sponsored by Spokane Arts, from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.
The participating artists are as varied as the composers they illustrated. Designer Stephanie Aguilar, who works at Atticus and Boo Radley’s, chose modern composer Arvo Pärt, fascinated by his decision to completely change direction midcareer after listening to Gregorian-style chanting.
“I used data bending and glitch art to show the idea that there is just a sudden pause, then a complete artistic alteration, with just bits and pieces of the original image left,” Aguilar said. “I wanted to include some religious icons to reflect the Gregorian chanting, so I took photos of stained glass at (the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes) and data-bended those images.”
Darrien Mack, digital director at Boom Creative, created portraits of four traditional composers – Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms and Bartók – based in large part on his fascination with their beards. “I chose them for their names, their looks, and that they were dead,” Mack said.
Marcus Robinette, who has designed several concert posters for Spokane-area bands and shows, chose “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart,” composer Missy Mazzoli, as the inspiration for his Fox window. “The idea was to take the element of the tradition of orchestrated music and to transform it into sort of a modern rock ‘n’ roll concert poster,” Robinette said.
As a fourth-generation Spokane resident, Robinette’s ties to the Fox run deep. He even worked briefly as manager of the theater when it used to show movies. The Fox was restored and reopened as a performing arts venue nine years ago.
“This building is a piece of art in and of itself,” Robinette said. “To be some small ornament in the midst of all that is pretty cool.”
The Fox has been the symphony’s venue and its base for various arts collaborations, including the Spokane Civic Theatre’s production of “Les Miserables” and Terrain’s “Uncharted,” which featured the orchestra, local indie bands and area writers, actors, dancers and visual artists.
This most recent window art project “stems from the Fox’s role as a cultural hub for the entire community,” said symphony communications coordinator Martina Gulova. “The Fox is the place where audiences can enjoy beautiful symphonic music, amazing architecture, performing arts, visual arts, culinary arts – you name it.”
Adm Smith, a Spokane native and recent graduate of Eastern Washington University’s Visual Communication Design BFA program, admits he never heard of the Fox growing up. But working on this project, inspired by Japanese composer Isao Tomita, has made him a fan, he said.
“In Spokane right now, (for emerging visual artists), it’s like you’ve got Laboratory, Window Dressing, Terrain and Spokane Arts.” Smith said. “But now here’s another great venue for people to come to and check out.”
The other artists and designers who will showcase their composer-inspired works for the Fox windows are Chris Bolduc, Ryann Engel, Kris Estacio, Michaelanne Foster, Ian Kelley, David Leong, Ellen Picken, Devon Plopper, Rydh/Sörenson, Nick Tibbetts and Chris Tyllia.
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