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.