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Saturday, August 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A&E >  Art

Artists rally in Spokane to respond to presidential election

The day after the election, Ginger Ewing, a co-founder of Terrain, said she could barely leave the house. She couldn’t believe Donald Trump had won; she was scared about what his presidency might mean.

“Oh, I had a huge reaction,” Ewing said. “No matter who you voted for, you were surprised.”

That evening, and the next day, Ewing and her husband, fellow Terrain co-founder, Luke Baumgarten, reflected on the surprise of the election and how, in some ways, even Trump supporters weren’t expecting the win.

“There was just this huge disconnect,” Baumgarten said.

And to them it presented an opportunity. Why not host an art show – although they hesitate to call it that – where the community could respond?

“Our whole goal is to create a response but also to create a respectful and collective dialogue,” Ewing said. “It’s very uncurated; we wanted it to be a response from the community.”

In an effort to do just that, Terrain is hosting Rally on Tuesday. At Rally, people can display their work, or create work while there. A number of professors from local universities donated art supplies, and artists are encouraged to bring their own supplies to share.

Ewing and Baumgarten emphasize that it’s not a show just for self-described artists, or only for those who are upset that Trump won. They want all voices and perspectives heard.

“Let’s use art to collectively define our community,” Baumgarten said.

The show fits into Terrain’s larger goal of expanding Terrain outside of the downtown Spokane niche it currently inhabits, Baumgarten said. In an effort to do that, they’ve put more time and energy into reaching out to marginalized groups, like Native Americans, Ewing said. Following the election they both believe they need to reach out to more rural populations in general.

“I think this is the beginning of a new phase (of Terrain),” Baumgarten said.

Diane Sherman, a local artist and yoga teacher, submitted work in advance of Rally. She said she was interested in the event because it allows the community to “express the collective consciousness after this election.”

She feels uncertain following the election and believes that’s represented in her art – her paintings have grown darker. For Rally, she submitted faceless people representing different areas of the world. She describes it as a “post-election swirl.”

Naomi Eisenbrey, another artist participating in Rally, said both candidates made her nervous.

“This whole election has been quite the doom roller coaster,” she said.

She’s looking forward to the event because she wants to see the different perspectives and feelings presented. She’s submitting a painting of Uncle Sam “blowing his brains out.”

“Honestly, who knows. There may be some positive views on everything, and that would be interesting to see,” she said.

Students from Eastern Washington University have submitted work, as well.

Despite her personal feelings about the election, Ewing thinks that Rally can serve a much larger and more important purpose: giving people a space, and a place, to express their voice.

“We don’t want people to hide their emotions,” she said.

In addition to the Tuesday opening, the show will be open to the public on Dec. 19, (the day the electoral college officially votes), Jan. 6 (First Friday) and Jan. 20 (inauguration day).

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