Gordon Wilson in November, Tinman

I like Gordon Wilson. He's got such a calming manner, an ever-present thoughtfulness in his face. Energy, yes, yet more of a constancy. That shows in his work, I think, although these images were a bit of a surprise. 

From his plein air experiences painting in Venice and Southern France, these are more exuberant, saturated, gooey with color and joy. 

Artist's Reception: 5-9pm

811 West Garland Ave
Spokane WA 99205

Visual Arts Tour Fall 2010

The Ninth Annual "Archie Bray" show at Kolva-Sullivan was definitely worth the slog through sooty, torn-up streets resulting from Spokane's current reinvention of the Second Avenue area. What these exceptional artists do with clay is nothing short of amazing, and a testimony to the necessity and vitality of structured or critical review of one's work.

Austin Stiegemeyer
They've struggled in the past with quality and capacity. Where some artists exhibiting might have really strong work, they didn't show enough to truly represent any range. Or the craftsmanship was sub-par, which can be true for any artist, even those who are studio-tested. This year, there were only a few works that truly fit the bill of "emerging" artist while many showed new talent that clearly were honing craft, content and concept. Some very good to really, really good stuff. 

I knew a fellow educator's son had work there (shown at right) but wasn't prepared for how strong his work was. Way to go Austin. I'd be thrilled to think he learned at least some of that from his high school art teacher, the incredibly-talented and so-much-more-even-tempered-than-myself, Mary Maxam.

And, following in no particular order, are other works that struck me. I could kick myself for not having a pen to write down names. But the images made an impression.

Listen to the Saranac Arts Project podcast of the Visual Arts Symposium

Saranac Symposium podcast PART ONE

Saranac Symposium podcast PART TWO

Click here to listen to the podcast of the Visual Arts Symposium from Saranac organized by our own Scott Kolbo. Good conversations.

Art in the Making in Coeur d'Alene, 2010

You might not think watching someone draw is all that exciting, but it is. It's the creative process unfolding, stroke by stroke. It's the sound of creativity, in exhalations, sighs, pauses and the scuffing and sliding across the page that results in the final image. It's the feel of creativity, and even more so, of technique, a kind of tension that exists in the delicate balance between artist and subject, and even the onlooking audience.

Art in the Making will take place in the Cda Resort Plaza and features artists like Victoria Brace, Terry Lee and Pat Parsons. 1-4pm, free admission. Sponsored by our friends at The Art Spirit Gallery.

And part of the overall arts festivities for Art from the Heart. For more info, click here.

Spontaneous Explosions of Art in Spokane

Right outside Kolva-Sullivan was this odd but wonderful display of portraiture. What a gift. Who cares where it came from?

Normally I don't go to Spokane for First Friday but the weather was fine and it was time. Glad I did. What a weekend of art!

Spokane the Arts Town? You betcha!

Last night the Saranac Arts Project cooperative gallery (25 W. Main) was host to the first-ever panel discussion on the state of the arts in Spokane. Great questions, probably more than answers, and great conversations about what is working and what still can be done to improve the visibility and viability of the visual arts in Spokane,

The panel consisted of Kolva-Sullivan owner, Jim Kolva, artist Chris Dreyer, artist/professor and KYRS Readymade Radio host, Bernadette Vielbig, and myself. It was moderated by Whitworth professor and fellow Saranac artist, Scott Kolbo. 

We had no idea how many would show and were pleasantly surprised to find both gallery sections filled with people who came to listen and contribute to the overall conversation. Even though I live in Idaho, I enjoy being part of the Spokane arts scene and continue to be impressed with how many varied avenues there are for artists:
  • Spokane Arts Commission, so ably commanded on a shoestring budget by Karen Mobley
  • RiverSpeak and other digital/online forums like it
  • Terrain, now in its third year and, judging by this year's work, a growing force in the emerging artist scene
  • Colleges and Universities, including Whitworth, WSU, EWU and definitely SFCC/SCC
  • A lot of spaces--both formal galleries and arts-supporting businesses--that encourage the arts
  • And the artists themselves, resilient as ever, doing everything from creating their own exhibition opportunities, to writing grants, to working with kids, to participating in events like the panel discussion. 

Wish North Idaho had something similar...