New Gallery in Cda Reported on 8/8/08

Eight is supposed to symbolize new beginnings in some cultures. And its the auspiciously chosen opening date for the Olympics. And a good day to report a new gallery opening on Coeur d'Alene (see Cda Press article). 

Sum of 6 is the joint venture between a couple of locals who wanted something contemporary. Cool. We need more experimental, alternative spaces. Cda and surrounding areas are full enough of boutique art shops, higher end galleries and even a museum/arts center or two. And, of course, there are the festivals, fairs and the like. 

What's missing are the grassroots spaces that grow out of coffee shops or emerge from back rooms of businesses supporting the arts. There have been a few--and it's tough to survive--and I hope to see more. That, to me, is as auspicious a sign as the number eight. 

Double-Header Plus One at Saranac in having abandoned convention.

Jim Hodges, who is originally from Spokane, works in mixed-media, a catch-all term meaning he doesn't limit himself to paint, clay, etc.

Storm Tharp does the same, using more conventional media--like paint and clay--in unusual ways. His artwork is shown here, pulled from PDX Contemporary Art, which also represents Saranac's Megan Murphy.

Nicely balanced duet. Or is it a trio. Heidi Arbogast will also be exhibiting. Through September 6.

Saranac is at 25 West Main, Spokane. Open Wednesdays-Saturdays 11 am-5:30 pm.

Sally Graves Machlis and Todd Volz, Chase Gallery, Spokane, Wa. Thru August 1.

When I was in art school at Mason Gross School of Arts, there was (and probably still is) a hierarchy of what was preferred. My instructors were "serious," mostly New York artists (read: painters, a few performance artists, a smattering of sculptors, metal of course). Thus there were three things you did not want to do: personal work, narrative work, or anything that remotely dealt with "craft" (read: paper, fabric, even ceramics). Ridiculous, isn't it? Sad but true, the art world is inherently snobbish (the fact that I begin this post by establishing my art background credentials could be offered as proof...mea culpa.)

Regardless, these two artists fly in the face of the elitist establishment in that they work with such things as narrative and nostalgia in materials like paper, books, and ceramics. Both instructors at University of Idaho, this is an ideal pairing of works which complement each other and make for a pleasant show with broad appeal. 

While it would be delightfully shocking to see something really, really contemporary at Chase (perhaps...gasp...something even the teensiest bit controversial), one has to respect that it's Public. Besides, can you image how voters would react at the glimpse of an exposed body part in the background of the mayoral broadcast from City Hall? No, television is simply not the appropriate vehicle for such things.

Like most art teachers (most teachers, in fact), I am always looking for ways to stretch the dollar. I am fortunate in that I work in a fairly new school that supports drama, music and art to the extent that we have 1 full-time teacher for each and full classes as well. I have a modest budget--asking $10 per student per class--which allows them to keep all their work and even do some extra stuff. The only thing the art program asks that students bring daily (besides an alert brain) is a pencil!

Other teachers are not so fortunate. They have little or no budget, are working in deteriorating schools, or have been affected by everything from Hurricane Katrina to district budget crises. One of the well-intentioned organizations that strives to assist teachers is This web-based organization allows teachers to submit proposals for funding specific projects. No red tape. No going through the district's hoops. That's the good news.

The bad news is donors are not choosing. As of today:
  • 14,272 projects in need of funding K-12
  • 10,503 projects have not received a single offer of funding
  • 955 projects are in Visual Art
  • 300 of those HAVE received funding, but are not fulfilled
  • 63 of those which have received funding are in grades 9-12; a lot of the funded programs tend to be in elementary programs
My proposal, which has already expired since it went unfunded, is one of those on the list. I haven't taken it off, but I won't be adding to it either. I'll make do, of course, and keep teaching and find out ways to make the art program come alive for my students. I'll be fine and so will my students. We're some of the lucky few.

Sandpoint Artist Studio Tour

July 18-20 and 25-27

Self-guided driving tour of 30+ artists in their studios.

Go to for info, map.

In the hands of Disney illustrators, anthro- pomorphism is cute, entertaining. In the hands of sculptor Beth Cavener Stichter, the use of animals to articulate the human condition is powerful, visceral, evocative and sometimes disturbing... See Inlander article


Call for Submissions July 2008

WHAT:  Community-Minded TV (CMTV) wants to showcase the work of Inland Northwest artists by airing samples of their work.  All contributors will be credited with name and email (or website address).

WHO:  Visual artists (photography, illustration, painting, sculpture, cartooning, etc.) and musicians who compose/play original music.  Participants should live within a hundred-mile-radius of Spokane County.

WHERE:  CMTV reaches 100,000 households in the city and county of Spokane, and Spokane Valley, through Comcast cable channel 14.

WHEN: Artist Showcase segments will air on channel 14 during times not regularly scheduled with other programming.  (As of June 2008, regular programming is scheduled between 3PM and midnight).  

HOW: Visual art “slide shows” will be paired with copyright-free music at CMTV’s discretion.   CMTV reserves the right to choose which materials to air on the station, and to request the lyrics of music provided.  All material aired must conform to CMTV’s programming standards.  

Art and music submissions should be delivered to the station on CD or DVD, in JPEG or TIF file formats for visual material and MPEG3 for audio files.  No emailed materials accepted.  Music album cover art can also be supplied if available.  Signed releases are required for all materials aired on CMTV.
CONTACT:   For more information, please contact Jill Johnson, CMTV Marketing and Programming Coordinator, at 509-444-3381 or The Community-Minded TV offices are located at downtown’s Saranac building:  25 W. Main Avenue, Suite 436, Spokane, WA, 99201. Submissions can also be hand delivered to Community-Minded Enterprises, 25 W. Main Avenue, at the 3rd floor reception area outside of the elevator.

Downtown Cda "Galleries"

Summer is finally here (with a vengeance) and most of downtown Coeur d'Alene (aka Sherman Avenue) is abuzz with activity. When my buddy Dale came into town from Seattle, we hit Capone's first, then scooted downtown to geegawk at passersby from the vantage point of the Wine Cellar's new outdoor dining locale, Tango Tapas.

While there, we popped into a few art "galleries." It amazes me what passes for a gallery. If art is shown there, it's a gallery, apparently. Regardless of the quality of the work or the knowledgeability of the persons showing the work, if there's "art" on the wall, it's a "gallery." To me, a gallery space needs to be dedicated to selling and promoting the art and artists (not knick-knacks or t-shirts or whatnot), e.g. The Art Spirit Gallery. Devin Galleries and The Painter's Chair are ok. And Angel Fine Art has some fine artists, like Rachel Dolezal and Mary Maxam, but way too much other stuff too to be a traditional gallery. 

That's not saying what they do isn't valuable; it's just saying gallery is a term way too loosely applied.

Regardless, we dropped into Studio 107, which now shares space with the newly opened TimberRock Winery tasting room. Yikes. Mostly schlocky, really amateur or just goes-with-your-couch kind of stuff, with the exception of some of the work by Nelson Duran, who runs Bank Left Gallery in the Palouse. 

Up the street at La Muse, a new "gallery," an artist named Bonnie was supposed to be showing but if she was, the work was overshadowed by terrific illustrations from David L. Clemons. Cool space. I'll be curious to see what they do with it.

In the meantime, mark your calendar for the new show at The Art Spirit: Beth Cavener Stichter. Ceramic sculpture and some bronzes. Very powerful work. Definitely need to see it installed in the Gallery. 

The 3rd annual Julyamsh Indian Art Show and Sale, featuring over 30 artists will be held Thursday, July 24 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Jacklin Arts & Culture Center (at The Old Church), 405 William Street in Post Falls’ historic district. A variety of sculpture, jewelry, paintings, and much more will be on display for viewing and purchase   
This event has become one of the JACC’s signature events; a cultural enriching experience, featuring treats like frybread, Native Americans dressed in full regalia, music, art raffle and refreshments. Internationally renown artists including George Flett and Richard Hill will be present to explain their creative techniques.

“The JACC Julyamsh event is an opportunity to build connections and community between cultures,” said Cliff SiJohn of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. “This event is a special preview of what the general public can experience at the Julyamsh Pow Wow Celebration the following weekend.”

For more information contact Jacklin Arts & Culture Center, 208-457-8950.

Behind the Scenes Gallery Owner Behind the Camera

Centerline, photography by Jim Kolva @ Kolva Sullivan, 115 S. Adams St., Spokane, Wa. Call 509.458.5517.

Jim Kolva wears a lot of hats, including businessman and gallery owner. He's passionate about art, especially ceramics, and--along with his partner Pat Sullivan--showcases both established and emerging artists at his Adams Street gallery. 

This month, however, the white-washed walls are wearing images by Kolva. About a dozen color photos, about 12" x 18" or so, all from one of Kolva's trips to New York City, Brooklyn in particular. "Centerline" is, literally, a depiction of the roadway: gritty, highly textured asphalt flanked by the familiar white stripe and, in various stages of decay, yellow paint.

They're interesting and well-mounted (so that the horizontal "stripe" appears continuous). If they were perhaps larger and a more matte finish (the gloss takes away from the focus on texture), they'd even evoke a Wow. As it is, the photos do exactly what the photographer did: elevate something common from off the ground and into our field of vision where we can't help but take stock.

Stroll Through Sandpoint's ArtWalk

Viggo Mortensen (devastatingly handsome Aragorn in Lord of the Rings) isn't the only reason to trek north to Sandpoint for ArtWalk. His work will be on display at Hallan's Gallery, the Ross Hall photography collection.

So if you need more reasons, there's a new show at the Power House called "About Faces." And there are more than 20 "galleries" participating, virtually all over town, including outdoor sculpture. 
For more info, check out preview or Pend Oreille Art Council's website.

Inlander Review: Palouse Pair

Rumor has it Inlander is going to upgrade its online version but until then here's the link to the review, minus the gorgeous images of Katherine Nelson's and William Turner's artwork. For that you'll need to get a current Inlander or go to Chase Gallery in Spokane to see the artwork up close and personal.

Art in the Community: Timberlake Creates 2008

It seems like forever since school ended and what a whirlwind those last few weeks are. Finally catching up on my "other" jobs: writing, the blog, my own artwork. Before I do, however, I need to share a post about something we do at Timberlake High School, where I teach. 

Timberlake Creates started last year as part of my Master's thesis project and involved coordinating an art show in the community. The idea was to link students with professionals, as well as address folks within the community who are, literally, in between student and professional...interested in art but not necessarily making a living at it (as much as anyone can make a living with their art!). The result was a juried art show that celebrated visual art, showcased our community, and returned recognition and prize money to area artists.

This year we have even more support from the Spirit Lake Chamber of Commerce and area businesses--especially sponsor Inland Northwest Bank, who donated $500 to first place prizes. The art show was up in Spirit Lake through June in 8 businesses, not including the library which is still exhibiting the "Heritage" category of artworks in honor of Spirit Lake's 100 year anniversary. 

The assortment of artists was terrific, including former students (now entering as adult community), fellow staff members, and parents of students both past and present. For some, it was the first time they'd entered a juried art show while for others, it was an opportunity to participate in a show that celebrated their own community. Check out the slideshow (below right) for artwork and winning entries.

Art in the Making: Student Exhibition

Sandpoint Waldorf School @ Redtail Gallery
Art is an integral part of the Waldorf School experience for all grades. From their website:
"Waldorf education emphasizes respect, wonder for nature and reverence for human existence. Learning becomes much more than the acquisition of vast amounts of information; rather, learning becomes an engaging voyage of discovery, both of the world and of oneself."

The young artists represented at Redtail's exhibit explore media, such as woodworking and weaving, as well as content and form to create works that confidently reflect creativity and technique.

"For me, the ordinary world of objects is rarely without a poem." Mardis Nenno
The quote might as well be attributed to both artists who, in this exhibition, are using ordinary objects in extraordinary ways. 

For Nenno, a Spokane Falls Community College ceramics instructor and former resident of the Archie Bray, kitchen matches become building blocks and chairs can be made of wings. There is a balance of fragile and formidable--her objects are sturdily sculpted from clay and much more durable than they appear--in both the medium and the context. Like the body to which Nenno's "chairs" refer, they assert themselves while at the same time revealing their vulnerability.

Oosting uses objects in a transformative way, often wrapping, stitching and overlaying them with tape, paint or other materials. They refer to the body--stylized figures or objects held like an umbrella or worn like pants or gloves--and there is no doubt there is a specific metaphor Oosting is hinting at. Yet they are also universal, a part consciously separated from herself, objectified, entities unto themselves.

It is an unusual pairing of works yet well-suited to the recently expanded space in the gritty-yet-almost-fashionable Adams Street area gallery. Remember to check out the Trackside Studio and gallery next door for exceptional ceramics by Chris Kelsey and Mark Moore.

Annual Art & Garden Show: Saturday, 5/24

Artist Kay O'Rourke's annual Art & Garden Show. 9:30-4:30, 3123 West 9th Street, Spokane, Wa (across from Finch Arboretum).  


Paintings Drawings & Wakerobin Sculptures


Iron Work For The Garden, Twig Trellis’s

Kits Painting & Drawing


Paintings & Novelties


Furniture , sculpture


Gypsy Garden House Novelties


Clay Fox Pottery & Metal Maids




Recycled Fish Searching for Bottlecaps


Way Beyond Pearls


Braided Leather For Man & Beast


Ceramics & Drawings


T’S Garden Cart


Painting & Drawings


Enhanced Photography


Rosanne Anderson , Handcrafted Rugs

Inlander Writeup: Visiting Artist Lecture Series

Llyn Foulkes will speak at SFCC on Tuesday, May 6 at 11:30 am; at the MAC at 7 pm; and at EWU Art Auditorium Wednesday, May 7, noon. Free and open to the public. Call (509) 359.2493.

Inlander PREview: “Ninth Annual Clay Invitational”

The Art Spirit Gallery, 415 Sherman Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho opens May 9 and continues through May 31. Gallery is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am-6 pm and Friday until 9pm. Artist’s reception Friday, May 9 from 5 to 8 pm. Free. Open to the public. Visit or call (208) 765-6006.

Kathryn Glowen & Bernadette Vielbig at Lorinda Knight Gallery, Spokane.

In the case of the new exhibition at Lorinda Knight, both pieces arrived simultaneously. It might seem like an unlikely pairing at first, though. Kathryn Glowen's past work at Lorinda featured ephemeral compositions of paper which also included bird's eggs. Bernadette Vielbig's past show assembled objects in wry commentary on such things as gender roles and the human condition with pieces like the A-style dress made of kitschy plastic flowers or the suit of wiggly eyes. 

Both artists have a sense of humor and enjoy nudging the edges of the envelope. Both are object-makers and collectors. And both like to transform the mundane into the profane, dealing with color, connotation, context and texture.

What resulted is Glowen's "Wonder/Alottment Gardens" and Vielbig's "The Pecking Order" on display through June 28. 

Dig deeper and see the connection to rural, even nostalgic America. Glowen's rosettes of vintage fabric are paired with plan-view illustrations of color, like a garden from above. They are framed like a beloved relic, deepening the sense of nostalgic layering.

Vielbig weaves a nest of ideas around poultry paraphenalia. With characteristic acerbic wit, Vielbig's "The Critics" features three, puffed up blue-tinged roosters (read into that what you may) seated on a hand-hewn log bench as they gaze at one of Glowen's pieces. "Lemmings" is a propped up post populated by a bevy of skinny birds, reminding of the flock that gathers outside gallery doors on opening night, facing this way or that as if unsure whether they like what they see...until the critics decide. Vielbig's humor in this show is masterfully sly, delightfully not whimsical at all. We are no longer sheep, but we are not off the hook; Vielbig's work makes us reexamine our place in the pecking order and schemes of life.

Rolling In From the Palouse

Katherine Nelson & William Turner, Chase Gallery, Spokane City Hall, through June 27. (509.625.6050)
Hers are velvety dark landscapes in high contrast, pulling you to the distant horizon of a rolling wheatfield. His stained glass patchworks of rich oil color on canvas evoke the feeling of light on land, yet function formally as a rhythmic expression of color, shape and line. Together at Chase Gallery through June 27, Katherine Nelson and William Turner articulate eastern Washington’s beloved palouse.

Turner’s The Valley Series soloed at Port Townsend’s Northwind Art Center Gallery last year. His ties to the Westside include an extensive exhibition career and an MFA from University of Washington, where he studied under Jacob Lawrence

Nelson is represented by The Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’Alene, where she regularly exhibits her evocative landscapes. Round Mound is typical of Nelson’s sensuous line quality and meticulously rendered patterning that suggests tree, wood, brick or undulating rows of tallgrass. 

What a wonderful way to usher in spring and celebrate our northwestern landscape.

Aaron Henry's Translucent Bosch

Redtail Gallery, between Oak & 6th Ave., Sandpoint through May 10. (208.946.8066)

Large oil paintings reminiscent of Heironymous Bosch's narrative compositions. Surreal landscapes ample with symbolic clues. Both familiar and foreign, they invite thoughtful consideration, aptly placed in this church-turned-gallery setting.

Like Vasco de Gama's overseas journey to India in search of the optimum spice trade route, painter Donald Fels journeyed to India to discover the riches of Indian signboard painting. The result is an exhibition that will show simultaneously at the MAC and at Saranac beginning May 2. The exhibit is the culmination of two Fulbright trips to India whereby Fels commissioned former billboard and sign painters to collaborate on signs he designed. 

Asking "What is a Trade?", Fels articulates the impact of globalization. First Sight, for example, shows the children's book illustration of da Gama as hero, yet the text expresses that "Discovering India, Vasco da Gama saw much that wasn't there/Most of what was there he didn't see." Our interpretation of history depends on context.

This is not just a show about the paintings themselves. Fels' reminds us that the journey is more about the process of discovery than it is the destination. From his website: "...artists have a role to play in the world – their contribution lies not only in producing works of art; they can create solutions for public issues, and innovate methods for thinking through complex problems." With folksy appeal, the paintings comment wryly on relevant issues as "progress," so-called free-trade, and how globalization impacts culture from the vantage point of both the explorer and the explored. 

This is an exhibit that could be easily underrated without the context provided in the accompanying literature, including a gorgeously illustrated exhibition catalog.  Before you set out on your journey, navigate to Fels' site at for a primer on this adventurer's unique approach to art.

Congrats to Megan Murphy, a whirlwhind of energy and a driving force behind Saranac Art Projects, as well the founder of the web-based Her innovative website has been nominated for a "webby" award from amongst 10,000 entries, including the other five art sites nominated: National Gallery of Art collection of Edward Hopper works; oddwall, the site of artist Stephen Ensminger; Richard Serra's Sculpture, an online exhibit from the Museum of Modern art; and The Calligraphic World of Mi Fu's Art, presented by The National Palace.

"Honoring the Internet's Best" falls to the task of such prestigious International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences judges as "The Simpsons" creator, Matt Groening, performer David Bowie and movie producer Harvey Weinstein (Kill Bill, The Mist, and more).

Begun in 2005,'s mission is to "democratize the art world one print at a time" with downloadable free artwork, as well as works curated from more than 80 artists worldwide, some priced as low as $20.

To vote for to receive People's Choice, check out the
webby website.

Who's Watching Now?

For the fortunate few who make a living from their art and are unconcerned about their "boss" disapproving of their artwork (or anything else they do, for that matter), this blog is not for you. You have other challenges...namely making a living with your art.

For those of us who have another job, especially a public one, a quick glance over the shoulder reveals that censorship is alive and well in America. As a public school teacher, I'm alert to the boundaries between my private life and my school persona. It sounds silly, but I wouldn't go to the grocery store and buy a 24-pack of beer (ok, so I don't really like beer so substitute a bottle of wine there). And forget buying underwear locally!

The dilemma: what do about an upcoming show I'm having or the possibility of my artwork showing up on the web? Will my figure drawings offend? If they do, surely there are other things someone could find fault with. Regardless that I'm extremely particular about appropriateness with my students, including their art projects, all it could take to get tongues wagging is the "perception" of impropriety.

Exaggerating? A recent NEA Today cites numerous teachers being fired when their private and public worlds collided via the Web. Ranging from stupid--posting racy pictures or admitting to drug use--to First Amendment fodder like the Virginia teacher who "posted photos of his 'butt art'..." where he applied paint to certain body parts and applied those parts to canvas.

Despite the disturbing visual that 'butt art' conjures, one still has to wonder where freedom of expression comes in. The irony is that the show I'm working on is, in part, inspired by the very real issues I see on a daily basis: domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and the disregard society has for people whose voices get drowned out by the din.

Cda Art Association "Artist Showcase" 2008

Art For Everyone

It's a snapshot in time of the spectrum of Coeur d'Alene artists, ranging from absolute beginners to accomplished artists, united by the desire to create, learn and exhibit. I saw many familiar faces:
  • Joe Kronenberg, whose daughter would bring copies of her father's phenomenal wildlife artwork into my beginning art class. 
  • Carol McCarty, whose tutelage under Kronenberg is evident in her exquisitely rendered pastels. She's a former art teacher from Lake City High School (who graciously gave me a lot of latitude with her students during my student teaching preparation). 
  • Patsy Parsons wasn't there but her trademark plein air paintings were, vibrant with color and light. Patsy and I are working together on Timberlake Creates, a community-wide art show in its second year, which showcases the talent of students, adults and art professionals in the Spirit Lake/Bayview/Athol/Twin Lakes area.
  • Dorothy Porter and Rozanne Thompson (who won first place in last year's Timberlake Creates and is an amazing muralist whose work graces the walls of most of Lakeland School District's elementary schools) were exhibiting their paintings.
  • Jackie Jewitt, Yvonne Benzinger, Suzanne Jewell, and Jacquith Travis are other names you'll remember from around town, including Art on the Green.
Lots of landscapes, still lifes, portraiture. Some good. Some great. Ordinary people doing what others only dream of doing. Good for you, I say to your members...and anyone else who answers the calling to MAKE ART.

In the Beginning: How This Got Started

The sign read "Art Show" with an arrow pointing to Kootenai County Fairgrounds. Same as the info printed on the postcard sent by the Coeur d'Alene Art Association hosting the annual event this typically atypically cool spring weekend. Although the parking lot was full enough and there'd be plenty of interesting work on view, this would be yet another event that would not receive press coverage. 

And then the anvil dropped on my head: I'm not busy enough...I should start an ART blog.

The inland Northwest is home to many fine (and not-so-fine) art venues, ranging from boutique galleries, local art associations, college-based stuff, contemporary galleries, community art festivals, and even a museum or two. And yet, coverage is pretty slim. 

In Idaho, the Coeur d'Alene Press does an occasional feature, while the other journalistic giant--the Spokesman Review--covers the bigger events, like Art Fest. A big void was left when the S-R axed the wonderfully thorough arts blog run by then-arts writer Julianne Crane, who also did the lion's share of the arts writing for them. The alt-weeklies lead the pack, including Sandpoint's Reader and Spokane's The Pacific Northwest Inlander (aka the Inlander), for whom I write. Some local magazines write about art, including Sandpoint Magazine, for whom I also write.

Although my talented and funny Inlander editor, Michael Bowen (did I mention charming? And generous...hint, hint), had asked me about doing a blog, I was sure I didn't have time. And I don't. Nor do I think my opinion is the definitive one on arts in the inland Northwest; to be sure, there are far more knowledgeable folks than I out there.

But, in the spirit of how most things get started, this blog was predicated on the simple belief that someone had to do it. Mine as well be me.