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Terrain, Black Lens and Laboratory unite to showcase BLM mural anew

The Black Lens and Terrain are teaming up with Laboratory to present a mixed-media display celebrating Black Lives Matter and the Black Lens’ “Create Health” initiative. The outdoor, pop-up event is set for 7:30-9:30 p.m. Monday.

A co-founder of Mobile Projection Unit, Laboratory artist-in-residence Sarah Turner has created a site-specific digital projection that will play across the mural, bringing the individual letters of “Black Lives Matter” to life.

“The projections are live coding, so, essentially, I’m changing, in the moment, where things are being placed on the mural with the projection light,” Turner said.

The event will serve as a finale of sorts for Turner’s residency at Laboratory, a Spokane-based new-media residency dedicated to providing artists with the time, space and stipends they need to “reimagine experience” and “realize work that goes beyond walls.”

Organizers of the mural pop-up event hope to bring awareness to local COVID-19 resources while showcasing downtown’s restored BLM mural at 244 W. Main Ave. and a host of new works by local artists of color.

“We’ve been commissioning artists for the last three months to create, whether it’s paintings or it’s digital projections or it’s poems … and it’s all of those individual projected images that (Turner) will be embedding into the mural,” said Ginger Ewing, Terrain’s executive director. “Yeah, it’s pretty rad.”

Each of the integrated pieces, originally commissioned for publication in the Black Lens, is geared toward celebrating and showcasing Spokane’s Black/African American community, as well as other communities of color while, at the same time, spreading awareness of COVID-19 resources and safety measures.

From the beginning, Ewing said, the goal of the “Create Health” campaign has been to reach out to the Black community and other communities of color in hopes of highlighting the importance of being vigilant when it comes to COVID-19 safety measures.

“The Black community has been disproportionately impacted by COVID and by this pandemic,” Ewing said. “Black people are 10 times more likely to get COVID. We’re 10 times more likely to die because of COVID, and that’s just not OK.

“And so this is simultaneously a celebration of health and a celebration of resiliency, but also … these are facts that we as a community, as a whole, need to consider and to work hard to change.”

The project begins and ends with collaboration and community, Turner said.

“I think it’s important to highlight how many different organizations in town are helping to make this happen,” Turner said, referring to Terrain, the Black Lens and Laboratory, as well as all the various participating artists.

“It’s really exciting to get a community together, especially around this cause … and particularly now during COVID when there’re such rare instances where we can gather safely.”

Organizers ask that visitors either practice social distancing or view the display from the safety of their cars.

Throughout the month of March, several other “Create Health” digital projections will be featured downtown at the following locations: the Ridpath Motor Inn (501 W. First Ave.); the Parkade (511 W. Main Ave., on the south side); Riverfront Park’s Clocktower (until March 12); the Empire State Building (905 W. Riverside Ave., on the side facing Lincoln Street); the Wells Fargo Building (601 W. First Ave., on the west side of the building); the Fox Theater (1001 W. Sprague Ave., on the First Avenue side).

Terrain is a nonprofit dedicated to fostering community and economic opportunities for local artists.

The Black Lens is a monthly independent community publication focused on showcasing news, events, people, issues and information of importance to the African American community in Spokane.

For information about the artists featured in the project and future events, visit createhealthspokane.com.

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