Spokane Arts Collection
In 1981, the City of Spokane enacted its "% for Art" Ordinance mandating that 1% of certain capital construction costs be utilized to purchase artwork for enhancing public buildings and spaces. A primary function of the Spokane Arts Commission is coordinating the selection, placement and other planning and design factors of municipal art projects in accordance with the overall municipal arts plan.
In the past three decades, public art has been created for a variety of locations in the City on a voluntary basis. The Spokane Public Facilities District, the Davenport Arts District, the City of Spokane Parks and Recreation Department, and the Spokane International Airport along with many private property owners and developers have made commitments to public art.
The mural culture in Spokane has been active for decades but the City of Spokane and Spokane Arts have recently made a commitment to revitalize and reimagine murals in the downtown gateways as a placemaking measure and as a way to activate underutilized areas which also see a large volume of pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
WASTE TO ENERGY 25th ANNIVERSARY MURAL
Spokane Arts and the City of Spokane commissioned Todd Benson to create a mural for the northeast end of the Maple Street Bridge, commemorating the 25th anniversary of Spokane's Waste to Energy Facility. The mural represents the citizens of Spokane and replaces the 1993 People's Gallery. A special thanks to all the volunteers and all the artists who made this happen!
SIGNAL BOXES 2016
In 2013 - 2015 Spokane Throw was a community arts project focused on catalyzing healthy forms of communication and cultural expression in our city. Citizens wrote letters to Spokane, artists designed artwork out of the words, projected on the urban landscape.
Spokane Mayor's Urban Design Award Winners 2015
Begun in 2007, the Spokane Mayor's Urban Design Awards celebrate the importance of creative thought, technical proficiency, and the relationship of good urban design to our city’s economic health and overall well-being.
Spokane Arts, Bernardo Wills Architecture, Eastside Reunion, Gonzaga University and Numerica team up to bring new life to an old building in the East Central Neighborhood!
Fresh Soul is the creation of Michael Brown, Founder and President of Spokane Eastside Reunion Association (SERA) and Sheldon Jackson of Selkirk Realty, the Fresh Soul Project Coordinator. “Fresh Soul is going to be much more than a restaurant,” Brown explained. “We want to motivate and teach our kids skills that will inspire them to continue their education, and provide a platform for success and to find their passion.” The building will soon house a food service education facility for young people looking to build skills in the service industry with a fully-functioning café, including outdoor seating.
In the early spring of 2015, Mike Wallace with Bernardo Will Architects paid a visit to the Spokane Arts offices. He and a fellow colleague were inspired by a presentation given by Laura Guido-Clark, the Executive Director of Project Color Corpsat a conference they had recently attended. They immediately thought there was a need to apply a similar ethos to the Fresh Soul project they were working on back in Spokane. Mike initiated a conversation with Spokane Arts about the potential of the project and the conversation of how to incorporate a mural into the plans.
Around the same time, Shalon Parker, an art history professor at Gonzaga University, visited Spokane Arts to get some guidance on a course she would be teaching in the fall of 2015 called Art, Race, and Public Space: The Mural in America. Initially she had approached Spokane Arts wanting help enlisting local mural artists to come speak to her class. That conversation was the catalyst for imagining how to realize the project with Bernardo Will Architects. Spokane Arts Executive Director Laura Becker thought, “Hey, you’re teaching a class on murals with students who are wanting to learn about the art of mural making. What better way to learn than to do?” Becker’s vision was to have those students work with a lead artist, commissioned by Spokane Arts. The new Program Manager, Ellen Picken (a muralist) was tasked with creating a design that spoke to the vibrant community and could be painted by volunteers in one weekend. She asked Brown to invite the community members to help paint, never imagining there would be more people than paint brushes.
Painting the mural brightened a once run-down building, bringing light to the corner of Fifth & Fiske. More importantly, neighbors and students know they created that space together and made new friends in the process.