Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Terrain Gallery fundraiser offers community chance to fund art, artists

Terrain Gallery executive director and co-founder Ginger Ewing stands in Terrain at 628 N. Monroe St. on April 5, 2022. Terrain is hosting a fundraiser on Friday.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)
By Azaria Podplesky For The Spokesman-Review

It takes a lot to sustain art in the community. You need artists, of course, but you also need spaces for them to show their work, events where people can view and purchase art and organizations who help bring artists and patrons together.

For years, Terrain has provided all of that and more, championing artists of all mediums through gallery shows, where art purchases are split 70/30, with 70% of the profit going to the artist. There is also the retail store From Here and events like Bazaar, Brrrzaar and the Terrain flagship event, which is held every October.

But how do you sustain the sustainers?

Terrain executive director and co-founder Ginger Ewing said the gallery costs more than $80,000 a year to operate.

Rent comes to $44,400 a year, with gas and electricity ringing in at $2,160 a year. There’s internet ($1,200 a year), wall vinyls announcing the title of each month’s gallery show ($1,500 a year), artist handbills ($600 a year), insurance ($3,000 a year), wine at First Friday events ($1,200 a year), graphic design ($4,200 a year), and paint and other supplies ($1,800 a year).

That $80,000 price tag doesn’t include staff time, the exhibit preparator or gallery sitters, or marketing throughout the year.

To help cover the annual cost, the organization is hosting a Terrain Gallery fundraiser on Friday at, of course, Terrain Gallery.

The fundraiser began after artists Carl Richardson and Mardis Nenno approached Ewing and told her they wanted to do something to give back to Terrain. She didn’t anticipate the event becoming so popular so quickly, but last year, people were lined up for two blocks before doors opened.

“It speaks to the desire of our community to consume local art and to support organizations like Terrain,” she said. “We’ve been really taken aback and grateful for the enthusiasm that has been surrounding this event so far.”

The fundraiser will feature 82 pieces by 80 artists, all of whom have donated their work to the event, ensuring all profits go to Terrain.

“One of the things that we’re trying to be really cognizant of is that we’re only asking artists who have some sort of relationship with Terrain, so Terrain has supported them in some way,” Ewing said. “It’s this synergistic exchange, and there’s reciprocity in that exchange versus us blindly asking any artists in this community to donate work.”

Each piece is $200. The pieces in this year’s fundraiser won’t be revealed until doors open, but Ewing said in past years, a majority of the work has been two-dimensional. There is no bidding required at the fundraiser; simply find a piece of work that you love and purchase it.

“We are trying to create and grow the customer base, the patronage of the arts, by creating relationships between artists and art buyers,” Ewing said. “The hope is that people see an artist’s work, they fall in love with that artist’s work and therefore that artist and it’s the beginning of creating a long-term relationship between them, all while also being accessible and equitable and raising money for our organization.”

Ewing said in the past, most of the artwork sold in the first 30 minutes, so patrons should get there early for the best chance of going home with a new piece of art. The event will also feature music from rosethrow, a no-host bar and a chance to check out Terrain’s newest venture, the Annex.

“It’s acting like a retail wing of the gallery where we have around 30 artists who are selling out of there year round,” Ewing said. “The concept there is immediate gratification. You buy artwork off the wall.”

The artwork in the Annex will be priced at market rate, not the $200 price of the pieces in the fundraiser.

Outside of the Terrain Gallery fundraiser, art fans can continue to expect monthly exhibits at the gallery, including work from Dustin Brinkman in April and Jiemei Lin in May. Some of the upcoming artists will host a workshop or talk during their time in the gallery, offering another chance to build the artist-patron relationship Ewing hopes this fundraiser will jumpstart.

It’s free for artists to show in the gallery and free for visitors to see the exhibits, something Ewing is proud of. But that brings it all back to how to sustain the sustainers. This fundraiser helps, as does applying for grants and receiving individual donations, but Ewing wants to stress that a monetary donation isn’t the only way someone can support Terrain.

“We always are looking at accessibility and equity so if you can’t financially support us, then you can volunteer or if you can’t volunteer, you can help us spread the word,” Ewing said. “We always want everything we do, even in our fundraising efforts, to be as equitable and as successful as possible.”

An earlier version of this story misstated the cost of running the gallery.