For many of us who were in Spokane during the 1996 ice storm, the destruction was almost unbelievable. Trees coated with ice crashed down on everything and it took weeks to clean up and get the power back on. The one good thing about the experience was the community spirit it built to get the job done.
Well, almost. Like most everywhere else, trees crashed down all over Pioneer Park, now Edwidge Woldson Park, on Spokane’s lower South Hill just west of the Stevens Street hill. The trees barely missed the Corbin Art Center. Out of the chaos of broken trees scattered all over the steep hillside emerged the remains of the Moore-Turner gardens, a long-forgotten gem of Spokane’s landscape architectural history. Built first by Frank Rockwood Moore and redesigned by Sen. George Turner, the terraced garden with its arts and craft style of natural basalt stone walls and steps and gardens filled with plants from all over the world drew high praise from many quarters. Unfortunately, the Turner house was torn down in 1940 after Turner’s death, and the gardens slipped back into nature’s grasp.
Once people realized what was under the storm debris, the Spokane community again rallied to reclaim the gardens and return them to their earlier glory. Pictures were dug out of archives, newspaper articles yielded details of what was planted in the gardens and stories of magnificent social events that were held there. Plant lists from other local period gardens were gathered. Work began to repair and rebuild the garden’s infrastructure, salvage a few remaining plants and search out some of the exact cultivars of perennials, shrubs and trees that were originally in the garden. Today the Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens is on the Spokane and Washington registers of historic places and open for tours during the growing season.
Next door to the Moore-Turner gardens is the home of another Spokane historical figure, Daniel Corbin. His 1898 Colonial Revival home was built in 1898 had long been on the National Register of Historic Places. Restored by the city, the house now serves as the Corbin Art Center and hosts a multitude of arts classes and numerous art shows and benefits through the year.
On Friday and Saturday, the Friends of the Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens and supporters of the Corbin Art Center are again gathering the community for the fourthannual Art in Bloom Exhibit to benefit the ongoing restoration and maintenance work for both facilities. The art show will feature the paintings and fiber art of 43 artists paired with coordinated floral arrangement art created by 22 floral artists from around the region.
According to Patti Simpson, art director for the exhibit pairing the two-dimensional art with the three-dimensional floral arrangements creates a unique way to appreciate both forms of art.
Sadly, during the show, the community will gather to celebrate the life and art of Dain Zahner who died unexpectedly Saturday. Zahner was well known for her fiber art that relied on a wide variety of textile and tactile fibers and her paintings of ordinary people she met in her travels. She has several pieces in the show.
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