One measure of creative activity in Spokane can be found in this week’s announcement of the winners of the first Spokane Arts Grants Awards (SAGA). Eight winners were selected from a field of more than 70 applicants looking for help funding their local creative endeavors.
Beneficiaries include established local arts organizations seeking support for current programs as well as emerging young artists proposing new projects. The SAGA award amounts range from $1,000 to $7,500.
Spokane Arts’ Executive Director Melissa Huggins said she was impressed with the mix of big ideas proposed and the diversity of applicants.
“They’re working in various neighborhoods and they represent multiple arts disciplines,” Huggins said. “Some proposals have an educational component, where they’ll be teaching classes or hosting workshops, which means that even a small grant award could ultimately impact a large number of people.”
The local nonprofit Millwood Print Works, co-founded by Derek Landers, Thom Caraway and Bethany Taylor, was awarded the largest amount. The trio will use their $7,500 grant to provide Spokane with a community print shop specializing in letterpress and screenprinting. The facility will include presses and equipment, knowledgeable teachers, opportunities to print, classes in printmaking, and studio space to work.
“Many Spokane residents learn to print or want to but have no venue in which to either continue to grow as an artist or begin the journey,” said Caraway, who was named as Spokane’s first poet laureate in 2013. “As Spokane continues to grow and cultivate its arts community, it becomes essential to have knowledgeable leaders and ample facilities in the print media.”
Other SAGA winners are:
Terrain, awarded $4,500 to support two of arts nonprofit Window Dressing’s ongoing projects, Artscapes and Creative Enterprise. Artscapes transforms empty storefronts into lively art, and Creative Enterprise is currently assisting 14 artistic businesses with practical training and potential brick and mortar locations.
Scott Ingersoll, awarded $3,500 for BASE Songwriting Workshop to present professional songwriting classes to those in the community looking to learn new techniques and skills to hone their craft. Ingersoll has been a longtime professional musician, songwriter and recording artist, and is also the production manager at The Bartlett music venue.
Shawn Brigman, awarded $3,000 to craft a full-scale sturgeon nose canoe. This traditional work will seek to contribute to the recovery of lost arts of the Spokane Indians by expressing a shared heritage in patterns of construction of ancestral canoe heritage in the northern Plateau culture area. Brigman is an enrolled member of the Spokane Tribe of Indians and descendant of regional Salish bands (San Poil, Arrow Lakes, and Shuswap).
The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, awarded $2,000 to support a new music initiative to add 16 music and performance artists to the lineup for its popular annual ArtFest.
Kathryn Smith, awarded $2,000 to complete a book-length poetry and art project inspired by the Fox Sisters of Hydesville, New York, who in the mid-1800s helped spur the Modern American Spiritualist movement. In other words, they claimed to communicate with the dead. SAGA funding will allow Smith to prepare and conduct several workshops in collaboration with local arts venues.
Spokane Poetry Slam, awarded $1,500 to create an anthology of poetry by talented slam poets from a diverse cross-section of communities in Spokane.
Brittany Decker and Remelisa Cullitan, awarded $1,000 for their “GlitterCouch” project, which will include photographing their glitzy piece of furniture in unusual settings, and interviewing artists about their works on the traveling couch to present them to a global audience through social media.
“There were many other worthy proposals that received high scores and praise, and hopefully those artists and groups will reapply in the future,” Spokane Arts’s Huggins said. “It just goes to show how significant the need is, and if we want arts and culture to keep our city vibrant and welcoming, we should work toward devoting even more resources toward that goal.”
The deadline for the next round of SAGA applications is May 1. To preview the application and project requirements, go to www.spokanearts.org.