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Monday, September 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A&E >  Art

Dare to draw: Second annual Monster Drawing Rally puts artists on the spot

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 18, 2018, 1:22 p.m.

By Audrey Overstreet For The Spokesman-Review

Part performance, part laboratory, part art bazaar, the Spokane Art School’s second annual Monster Drawing Rally is an opportunity to watch 45 of the community’s favorite artists create original drawings. The results will immediately be hung on the walls of downtown’s Montvale Event Center and made available to buy for a flat fee of $50.

In the spirit of “monster truck” rallies, the Spokane Art School’s Monster Drawing Rally aims to be one big, rowdy art-making spectacle.

“This is really a behind the scenes look at how professional, accomplished artists put their work together,” said longtime Spokane Art School board member Sue Bradley. “We chose artists who have a reputation, who people get excited to see.”

The 45 artists to perform will include: Shelby Allison, Mariah Boyle, Brenda Everett, Derrick Freeland, Jo Fyfe, Mackenzie Hawley, Jery Haworth, Dick Ibach, Brandon M. Johnson, Jenifer LeMontagne, Melanie Lieb, Kim Long, Lena Lopez-Schindler, Megan Martins-Haworth, Dan McCann, Rob McKirdiem Lindsey Merrell, Jamie Nadherny, Robin Nelson Wicks, Faurest Nelson Wicks, Tiffany Patterson, Megan Perkins, Ashley Presnar, Tom Quinn, Carl Richardson, Molly Rupp, Darcy Lee Saxton, Debbie Sheldon, Garric and Indie Simonson, Bradd Skubinna, Lisa Soranaka, E.L. Stewart, Henry Stinson, Scott Thompson and Joseph Tomlinson.

The artists will work in shifts in front of live audiences at the Montvale. For the first hour, 15 artists will create their works on tables set up in a “drawing pit.” When the hour is up, 15 new artists will take their places in the pit for another hour, and so on. Audience members, who are required to pay a $20 entrance fee, will be allowed to get a close-up view of the artists at work.

The situation is not always comfortable for creative types.

“Many artists find it hard to draw with people watching them,” Bradley said. “Some have performance anxiety. Others think that an hour is not long enough to create something that they want put out there.”

Nevertheless, so many artists responded positively to the invitation to participate that the school had to turn several volunteers away.

“It gets exciting when all the artists are drawing together,” Bradley said. “Last year, we had all of our big easels up for the public to draw on, but pretty soon the artists decided that they wanted to stand and draw too, so they were jumping up and joining in.”

While drawing an actual monster is an option, there is no set theme for artists to follow.

“Last year we asked them to draw monsters, but this year we are letting them draw whatever they want,” Bradley said.

The fundraising rally, which lasts from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, will include a silent auction. The event will also feature live music and food catered by local chefs Adam Hegsted and Dan Gonzalez. Proceeds will go to the nonprofit Spokane Art School’s children’s education programs.

As if the Spokane Art School isn’t doing enough this fall, on Nov. 8 the school will throw a public party to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

The big attraction at the celebration won’t be the free cake. The party will also offer an early preview to the school’s very popular Annual Ornament and Small Works show.

More than 45 artists will participate in this year’s holiday-themed exhibition, offering handmade works of art, including jewelry, ceramics, small paintings, paper goods, and ornaments. Most items are priced less than $50.

Bradley has served on the Spokane Art School board, off and on, since the 1990s. She said the organization is making strides toward reclaiming much of its former glory. The school used to be housed in a large building downtown before financial issues forced the facility to go dormant from 2008-12.

Since its reinstatement six years ago, and its move into the Garland District, progress has been steady with regards to the Spokane Art School’s mission to “teach Spokane to make and enjoy art.” In addition to classes at its space, the school offers art classes to schoolchildren off site as part of its ArtReach program. It houses a gallery for exhibitions, and hires artists to hit the streets in the summers with large easels to encourage the public to join in.

Enrollment in art classes at the nonprofit has increased 30 percent since last year, Bradley said. With only two classrooms available, space at the facility is nearly maxed out. In addition to adding more classrooms, organizers have plans to expand and create specialized studios, including a ceramics studio and possibly a printmaking studio.

“The most rewarding thing about the Spokane Art School to me over the years is to see what longing, what desire, there is in people to learn and to make their own art,” Bradley said. “The art school has been a place for them to do that.”

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