2017 SAGA Grantees, Round 2

In the second round of the 2017 Spokane Arts Grant Awards (SAGA), ten proposals were awarded funding from a pool of fifty-eight applications. The grant winners will receive funding to support projects and programs that will take place in the Spokane region over the next year. A little over twenty-five thousand dollars total was awarded spread between the ten grant winners through a competitive process.

This round of SAGA funding will support a wide range of artistic endeavors. One grant will support an emerging artist residency program, and improvements to gallery space, at Saranac Art Projects. Another grant will pay for marketing and outreach for SpiFF’s 20th anniversary. Two grants have strong educational outreach components and seek to help underserved children in the West Central neighborhood (Spark and Shine Youth Fund). A visual artist team will use grant funds to take photographs of Muslim women from Spokane, and develop prints and projections to show publicly (See Me Spokane). Three grants will support events that aim to reach a wide range of audiences and diverse communities (The “M” Show, Zine Fest, and Jugalbandhi). A grant was given to Laboratory to support a collaboration between dance, media, visual arts, and technology. Finally, a grant was given to the Garland District to support a series of mural projects.


Members of the Saranac Art Projects

Saranac Art Projects

Saranac Art Projects: Emerging Artist Residency Program and Gallery Improvements

Saranac requested grant funding to support two projects aimed at maintaining and expanding their mission of service to the Spokane Arts Community and local artists. Saranac Art Projects is creating an Emerging Artist Residency Program, where select emerging artists will receive a 12-month membership to Saranac Art Projects and the opportunity to exhibit their own work. Their other major project will be installing a gallery track system to facilitate hanging many different types of artwork. Both these projects will support and enliven their educational mission, giving Saranac Art Projects an influx of fresh voices and an expansion of the possible types of shows and programs they can showcase in the gallery.


A grant to the Saranac Art Projects will have an immediate and lasting impact on their ability to continue their mission of presenting high-quality art exhibitions, along with community outreach and education. Over the years, Saranac Art Projects heard from several local artists interested in joining the cooperative, who couldn’t afford the monthly dues that help them pay rent and maintain the gallery space. Often emerging artists just need a little boost, and grant funding will support new outreach efforts to bring emerging artists into the fold, as well as fund needed improvements to gallery walls that will strengthen their ability to show professional work and improve attendees’ experience viewing shows.

Hilary Hart & Rick Singer

See Me Spokane

Hilary Hart is a gifted Spokane digital graphic artist who has cultivated a group called “Spokane Women Together” which includes about 40 women, nearly half of whom are Muslim. In partnership with Rick Singer, one of Spokane’s most respected portrait photographers, the “See Me Spokane,” project is an outgrowth of this group and the stories of these diverse women. In this project, we hope to normalize the presence and contributions of Spokane's Muslim women through a series of portraits and text projected onto downtown buildings and displayed as prints in the Downtown Public Library. Muslim women who choose to wear hijab are unusual in Spokane, and along with current issues around stereotyping and discrimination of religious groups, “See Me Spokane” will examine the myths and dispel fear through art. “We hope that by making this soft, thoughtful statement that we will generate conversations and open hearts.”


Grant funding to “See Me Spokane” will help print up to 20 individual portraits as well as help support studio time, production, and the installations of her work in accessible locations in Spokane. Hilary and Rick’s work will bring the gallery to the people because they believe that using public spaces, like projecting the art work on building exteriors or hanging it at the library, is a great way to engage people who might not ordinarily visit museums and galleries. Having multiple ways to see the work, and have a broad selection of work, is important and will spark many critical conversations in Spokane.

Executive Director of Shine Youth Fund, Jill Reeves

Shine Youth Fund

Arts Education for Everyone

The purpose of Shine Youth Fund is to provide arts education, scholarship funding and accessible arts programs for youth in Spokane. Shine Youth Fund has three primary programs including: community outreach, scholarship funding, and Shine Art Center. Shine Art Center will have a new location in August, and programs for primary age learners will include specialized dance programs, beginning drama, music, art and more. This grant will be used to support three six-week after-school dance programs, which begin in October 2017 at the West Central Community Center. Shine Youth Fund will use the grant to hire a dance instructor, which will allow them to keep the cost of dance lessons extremely low, with many scholarships available.


Not only will the Spokane dance and arts scene benefit from having teaching opportunities for artists, but access to the arts for our most young and vulnerable populations is a critical need for our region. Grant funds will be used to grow the community programs housed in community centers, and increase awareness of their programs. Executive Director, Jill Reeves says, “It is my hope that Shine Youth Fund programs will serve as a springboard for increased community among our art educators. Our community efforts will provide an opportunity to identify talented kids and create a path for their talents and passions to grow.”

Staff and executive director of Spark Central

Spark Central

West Central Publishing Union

Spark Central is starting a new program called West Central Publishing Union, which includes two parallel literary tracks— a program for elementary-aged children (which SAGA funding will support) and a program for adults. The West Central Publishing Union program involves students being bussed during the school day to Spark Central, where they will participate in creative writing workshops that result in the students taking home a personalized, bound, published book that the students can take home to show their family and friends. For the youth-focused track, Spark Central has developed active partnerships with neighborhood elementary schools, whose students will learn writing skills and the power of creativity; as well as local universities, whose students majoring in education will help engage and mentor the participating students.


SAGA funding will give Spark a portion of the funds they need to implement the West Central Publishing Union program. Executive Director, Brooke Matson says, “Right now, our shoestring staff of 2.5 full time employees is already stretched beyond capacity. This grant will support the time and materials necessary to plan and host field trips and workshops, invest in relationship-building with schools, manage registration, teach, coordinate public readings, and design/print books.” SAGA will also allow Spark to work with outside partners such as Gray Dog Press to print the books published through their teen/adult workshops, creating a more durable product worthy of Auntie's Bookstore. The revenue from increased book sales will be reinvested into the West Central Publishing Union, making it a sustainable program.

Artists and director of the garland business district

Garland Business District

Garland District Art Alley

The Garland District is planning to create an art alley between Monroe and Post. The mural project will be completed by professional mural artists, and will also be a collaborative project with staff and students from a neighborhood youth center. The end result will be a beautiful space for the whole community to enjoy. Historically the alley has been a target for tagging and graffiti, and this project will activate the space in a positive way. An exciting educational component to the grant proposal is that professional artists will work with a small group of students to teach them about the process of painting murals, with the aim to instill in the students the importance of public and street art. One outcome of the transformation of the alley could be that local businesses will be able to use it as an extension of their business.  For instance, they could create small patio areas, possibly a small farmers market, a place to watch outdoor movies, and so on. Neighbors, whether residential or commercial, will feel a sense of pride and connection to the art since it was created by people who live and work in their neighborhood.


A portion of the SAGA funds will be used to purchase supplies, such as paint and paint brushes, and a portion will be used to pay a stipend to the professional artists. President of Garland Business District, Julie Shepard-Hall says, “I know that some of the artists are willing to volunteer their time, but we feel it is important to pay the artists as well. Along with the grant money, we will seek donations or business sponsorship.” The Garland District will benefit by creating more of an awareness of their lively, quirky business district. “The Art Alley will bring publicity and new visitors to our district that will in turn hopefully encourage more spending at local businesses.  Many people love the Garland District, but there are also many who don't even realize what we have to offer. This can put us on the map.”

Chase Ogden and Adam boyd

Spokane International Film Festival


The Spokane International Film Festival (SpIFF) aims to deepen audience engagement with films, and to strengthen their interaction with the filmmakers and local experts who introduce and lead discussions following screenings. 2018 will mark SpIFF's 20th anniversary. The much-anticipated festival will run from Friday February 2nd through Friday February 9th and will consist of roughly 24 screenings at multiple venues including: The Magic Lantern and Bing Crosby Theater in Downtown Spokane. Incoming Director, Case Ogden wrote in his grant application, “SpIFF works diligently to ensure that all of our screenings illustrate the beauty and truth of human existence around the world, seen through the lens of Spokane filmmakers.”


Renting these theaters is a large expense, but the festival simply could not be possible without a place to show the films.  Chase Ogden says, “The support we seek from SAGA will help us cover venue, marketing, and projector rentals, and Posterize!.” Kicking off opening night of 2018 will be Posterize! and a VIP reception of artists and SpIFF supporters. Local artists design posters for SpIFF screenings. SpIFF will print 27x40 posters on foam core and exhibit them as part of their opening reception. Artists have embraced this annual ritual, much to the delight of filmmakers, some of whom have adopted the posters for their publicity.

Alan chatham, director at laboratory


Support for Laboratory's Summer Dance Program

Laboratory provides space and support for interactive, digital, and performance art in Spokane. Interactive art goes beyond either ‘something on a wall’ or ‘something on a stage’. It is an artist residency program for interactive artists from all over the world. It is art that creates experiences, where the viewer/user is an integral part in their own experience, where they can touch, manipulate, and interact with the stuff they’re seeing. Laboratory is focusing our summer residency program on the intersection of interactive art and dance, and will be collaborating with the Vytal Movement Dance Studio, the Gonzaga Theater and Dance department, and a diverse range of dance groups who work and perform in the Spokane area.


The Laboratory Summer Dance Program’s SAGA funding will support their operations during the Summer 2017 residency session. Director, Alan Chatham says, “This funding will help us directly support an international group of six artists, paying for studio space, materials, housing, equipment, and a small living stipend. They will in turn be working full-time, collaborating with a wide swath of the Spokane dance community, developing and showing internationally relevant work, and connecting Spokane artists with a global community of dancers and interactive artists.”

Musicians and directors of saca spokane

South Asia Cultural Association of Spokane (SACA)

3 Events : Two Evenings of Jugalbandhi; One Evening of Duality

The South Asia Cultural Association of Spokane is proud to present three rare cultural and musical art performance for the Greater Spokane Area. Jugalbandhi on June 2nd and Oct 7th. The artists who will be performing are classically trained in very distinct and ancient traditions of South Asian music: Carnatic music from South India and Hindustani music from North India. Their respective instruments, the tabla drums, mrindagam drum, veena (string) and sitar (string), are all traditional acoustic instruments with a rich history in the Indian Subcontinent. The third event will be Duality (Dance Drama) in October, which reflects an Indian immigrant woman's experience in US, involving the classical dances of India, Chau and Bharatha Natyam classical dance forms and folk dance styles, and Bollywood.


SAGA funding will help bring several Indian artists to Spokane, who will present a divine, meditative, and transcendental experience that has been passed down for generations. The Director of SACA, Sreedharani Nandagopal, wrote in her grant application: “These artists deliver passionate, imaginative, impromptu performances that move audiences, spark the imagination and create a sense of awe and wonder among the audience.” These events will not only entertain, but they will also educate the citizenry of Spokane and the outlying areas about the rich heritage, traditions and cultures of South Asia, specifically Indian sub-continent, thus bringing diversity of cultures in to the Spokane area.

Music Director, Eckart Preu- creator of "the M show"

The Spokane Symphony

The M Show - Music, Mayhem and Mystery with Mateusz Wolski

Funding from SAGA will support “The M Show – Music, Mayhem and Mystery,” a new show designed to generate younger audiences for live symphonic music. The Spokane Symphony’s concertmaster, violinist Mateusz Wolski, will use humor and his fascination with fast cars to introduce musical discussions, guests, and performances at alternative local venues.  The M Show is sure to be a quirky and fun interactive experience for all. Through a variety of venues offered at local breweries and restaurants throughout the city, the M Show will combine live orchestral music along with 2-minute pre-recorded videos that engage and encourage participation from the audience. Think classical virtuoso meets late night comedy.   Nancy Hunnicutt of the Symphony wrote in the grant application, "Audiences will enjoy performances by guest musicians and have an opportunity to participate in discussions on music." Video segments of the M Show will focus on Matuesz Wolski conducting a series of musical challenges and experiments, comparing such factors as musical quality, speed, handling, practicality, and reliability—similar to what you might find on TopGear, or MythBusters.


SAGA funding will help the Spokane Symphony to lure younger generations to a venue that provides a significantly different takeaway than a typical evening spent at the Symphony. As symphonies around the country struggle to attract—and retain—millennial audiences, the Spokane Symphony will use SAGA funding to create and market this orchestral nightlife program to reach approximately 200 attendees per show. 

 Ian Amberson  and Chelsea Martin

Spokane Zine Fest

Zine Fest

The Spokane Zine Fest will be a one-day public event celebrating zines, small press books, comics, drawings, prints, cards, and other small paper media DIY items. The event will be minimally curated to include as many participants as possible while maintaining a high level of craftsmanship and ensuring a focus on paper-based work. The event will be aimed at energizing and bringing visibility to the Spokane zine/DIY community. Chelsea Martin wrote: “Our hope is that this inspires local artists to continue making and sharing their work long past this event, and to encourage a more vibrant and active zine/DIY community.”


Zine Fest is a new project and SAGA is thrilled to support its first event. Funding will support the creation of the event, outreach to artists to submit their work, and the marketing. “In accordance with the DIY spirit, we plan to create this event on a shoestring budget, doing as much as possible ourselves. SAGA funds will be used to rent a venue that suits the Spokane Zine Fest, promote the event to participants and attendees, and to buy the supplies necessary for a fun and memorable event.”


2017 SAGA Grantees, Round 1

In the first round of the 2017 Spokane Arts Grant Awards (SAGA), eight proposals were awarded funding from a pool of seventy-four applications. The grant winners will receive funding to support projects and programs that will take place in the Spokane region over the next year. Twenty-five thousand dollars total was awarded, spread between the eight grant winners through a competitive process.

The first round of SAGA funding will support a wide range of artistic endeavors. One grant will support live music at ArtFest 2017, allowing for new performing artists to participate. Another grant will pay for the publication of an anthology celebrating the nationally-recognized Spokane Poetry Slam. SAGA funding will help improve the production quality for GlitterCouch, a fun, wacky and totally unique way of interviewing local artists. Millwood Print Works will use their grant to procure equipment necessary to offer classes in letterpress and screenprinting. Terrain Program’s Window Dressing will use SAGA funding to help sustain their operations. Local musician Scott Ryan will hold a series of songwriting workshops, which will build on existing skills and push songwriters to experiment with new methods, providing support to the burgeoning local music scene. Kathryn Smith, a local poet, was awarded funding for a book-length project called “The Chosen Companions of the Goblin,” and she will compose and teach workshop sin the summer of 2017, Spokane Tribe artist Dr. Shawn Brigman will create traditional Salishan sturgeon nose canoe, which will be presented, displayed, and paddled on the Spokane River, as well as used in cultural educational offerings that will benefit both students and community members.


Millwood Print Works: Bethany Taylor, Derek Landers, and Thom Caraway

Millwood Print Works

Bethany Taylor, Derek Landers, and Thom Caraway of Millwood Print Works will provide Spokane with a community print shop specializing in letterpress and screenprinting. The facility will include presses/equipment, knowledgeable teachers, opportunities to print and attend classes and studio space to work. Many Spokane residents learn to print or want to but have no venue in which to either continue to grow as an artist or begin the journey. As Spokane continues to grow and cultivate its arts community, it becomes essential to have knowledgeable leaders and ample facilities in the print media.


SAGA funding will jump-start Millwoood Print Works and all of their efforts toward opening. In addition, this grant will help the procurement of equipment necessary to offer the first classes. The opening of a letterpress print shop is resource-intensive, not just in the equipment, but in all of the supplies (large quantities of paper and specialized ink, typesets and cases to hold them, etc.) needed to provide the programming they’ll offer. After the procurement of materials, the public is encouraged to participate in many education opportunities, by taking classes with Millwood and learning how to do for themselves. Millwood will also try to provide access to the equipment and material necessary for letterpress or serigraphic production by other arts organizations.

Brian Estes, President of Terrain Programs: Window Dressings

Window Dressings

The SAGA funds will help Terrain continue the programmatic work to transform Spokane into an economically diverse, stronger, and more vibrant city. The grant will specifically support Window Dressing's two strategies, which are known as Artscapes and Creative Enterprise.

Artscapes: Window Dressing develops relationships with local property owners and unites their empty storefronts with locally created artworks. Blocks that once resembled ghost towns come alive with vibrant, engaging works that enthrall passersby, displace vandalism, and attract businesses to the neighborhood (often into the very spaces that once displayed an artscape).

Creative Enterprise: Currently with a cohort of 14 artistic businesses who were selected in the summer of 2016. Each Enterprise received intensive business training jointly carried out by Avista's Center for Entrepreneurship. Window Dressing will coach them as we sleuth out the perfect space for the businesses that will be placed in a bricks-and-mortar storefront, and are currently curated into a Pop Up Shop storefront.


Terrain Programs will use SAGA funds to help Window Dressing sustain Artscapes locations and phase in a second Creative Enterprise cohort. During the application process, they clearly identified a long-term strategy with markers to make Window Dressings successful. The projects they’ve requested support for will impact not only their organization, but benefit many artists who will participate in those two programs, in addition to impacting the wider community of any Spokane resident who encounters the ArtScapes in Spokane storefronts. Window Dressings has made a significant impact on Spokane in a short amount of time, and with SAGA funds, it has the potential to do even more.

Scott Ryan, Base Songwriting Workshop

BASE Songwriting Workshop

Scott Ryan has been writing songs for more than fifteen years, and has been a professional musician either part or full time since graduating with a music degree in 2007. He plays shows all over the country, has recorded multiple records and his music has been used to score films and television shows. In addition, he has taught guitar, voice and songwriting to various skill levels.

Scott Ryan will present professional songwriting classes to those in our community looking to learn new techniques and skills to hone their craft, called BASE Songwriting Workshop. Scott says, “The name BASE represented this being both a foundational course for teaching the arts, and the hope that it would be seen as a place of safety for many different people to come and partake in the class. As much as anyone can study and learn about music, as with any art form, there's still magic in it. My approach is to help songwriters understand where their strengths lie and learn to use what they are good at to their advantage, as well as push them to experiment with new methods.”


SAGA support will help to increase the marketing efforts of these classes as well as underwrite the ticket prices and venue. We anticipate that with a low entry cost and wider marketing reach, the impact of these classes could be significant, providing instruction to songwriters who would gain skills and confidence to seek out other opportunities to showcase their music in local venues and grow the overall music scene.

Dr. Shawn Brigman, Salishan Sturgeon Nose Canoe: Spokane Water Is Life Theme

Salishan Sturgeon Nose Canoes

Dr. Shawn Brigman is an enrolled member of the Spokane Tribe of Indians and descendant of regional Salish bands (San Poil, Arrow Lakes, and Shuswap). "As a traditional artisan for 12 plus years, and descendant of regional Salish bands (San Poil, Arrow Lakes, and Shuswap), my creative practice has been one of project based ancestral recovery efforts in Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Southern British Columbia, exploring and transforming the way people read Plateau architectural space by celebrating the physical revival of ancestral Plateau art and architectural heritage.”

Shawn will be crafting of a full-scale sturgeon nose canoe unique to the interior Plateau Salish peoples in Eastern Washington State, while exploring contemporary construction tools, methods, and techniques. He envisioned that this traditional work will contribute to the recovery of lost arts of the Spokane Indians by expressing a shared heritage in patterns of construction of ancestral canoe heritage in the northern Plateau culture area.


SAGA support will help Dr. Brigman secure materials, space, and other support needed to complete his project. His work will take over 200 hours. The completed sturgeon nose canoe will be presented, displayed, and paddled on the Spokane River with the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club. The canoe will participate in a Richmond Art Collective exhibition, and will participate in other opportunities that arise such as youth programming, and college/university educational settings in the summer and fall of 2017. The canoe will be used as a physical marketing tool for future commissions of sturgeon nose canoe construction. 

Emily Gwinn, Uncensored: Spokane Poetry Slam Collected

Spokane Poetry Slam

Spokane Poetry Slam will use grant funds to create an anthology which can be sold and distributed. This poetry collection will highlight the talented slam poets that have emerged from the Spokane scene, which represents a diverse cross-section of communities in Spokane. "We will not only publish the "best of" work from past National Poetry Slam team members, including about 30 local poets, but also reach out to those who've shaped Spokane Poetry Slam as an organization. We would like to do an original press run of 300 copies, with a collection of 70 – 120 pages each," says Emily Gwinn. Sales of the collection will be a fundraiser toward the funds necessary for Spokane to host the Individual World Poetry Slam in October 2017.


Not only will the Spokane literary scene benefit from the national exposure by hosting iWPS (Individual World Poetry Slam), but Spokane will gain attention as a destination city. Ninety-six of the nation's top-performing, touring poets will fill our city streets with words, and bring dollars to spend at our local restaurants, bars, and businesses.

Betsy Godlewski, Director of Development

Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, ArtFest 2017 

While ArtFest has been popular in Spokane for 32 years, the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture requested funding to help support a new music initiative as part of the annual event. Between 160-175 artists participate each year in ArtFest, many of whom are return vendors because of the quality of the festival. Artists come from a variety of backgrounds including painting, drawing, ceramics, fiber, metal, photography, printmaking, among others. With the help of SAGA, new music and performance artists will be added to the lineup. Over 30,000 visitors attend the three-day event, and while enjoying ArtFest, they also participate in other activities in Spokane, such as shopping, dining, and other cultural activities. Besty Godlewski says, “The MAC views the event as important community outreach, providing the public access to the arts in a festive atmosphere, as well as providing artists an avenue to present their work to a large audience.”


ArtFest is free to the public, but requires substantial resources from within the museum to produce. Support from SAGA will not only support the music component of ArtFest, but also enable the museum to broaden its reach to the neighborhoods and communities in and around Spokane and ensure the high quality reputation of the event, showcasing the best work of local and regional artists and supporting them as they try to reach new markets and new audiences.

Kathryn Smith, Poet

"The Chosen Companions of the Goblin": A Poetry Project

The Chosen Companions of the Goblin” is a book-length poetry project about and inspired by the Fox Sisters of Hydesville, New York, who in the mid-1800s helped spur--perhaps unwittingly--the Modern American Spiritualist movement. In other words, they claimed to communicate with the dead. The poems will explore several intersections: most notably, the living and the dead, the earthly realm and the spirit realm, but also the intersections of fact and fiction, truth and lie, faith and proof, as well as the confluence of numerous historical factors in informing a movement.

“My vision for “The Chosen Companions of the Goblin” is two-fold. First, I intend to extend the series of poems I've already begun into a book-length project combining poetry and erasure. Second, utilizing collage and bookbinding, I envision either a one-of-a-kind art piece to accompany a publishable volume, or a small number of handmade, limited-edition chapbooks.”- Kathryn Smith


SAGA funding will allow Kathryn Smith to prepare and conduct several workshops in collaboration with local arts venues. These events and opportunities point to what makes Spokane such a great place for literary artists right now. New events are popping up all the time, often conceived by individual writers at a grassroots level, and the community helps make them happen. Local published authors offer workshops, but they also participate in them alongside brand new writers and students who have never shared their work publicly before.

Brittany Decker & Remelisa Cullitan: GlitterCouch

GlitterCouch is a shining, almost magical, object that is taken into locations; such as hiking trails, urban alleyways, offices, and parking lots, in order to play up the juxtaposition of a glitzy piece of home furniture in rather unrealistic scenery. Local artists are invited to be interviewed by Brittany Decker and Remelisa Cullitan and speak frankly about their work and present themselves to a global audience in a casual intimate setting. The interviews are recorded and published for the world to see on a variety of social media outlets. “We feel that there is a need for a platform in which local artists have both visual and audible examples of their work made public.”- Brittany Decker.


Similar to many artists in Spokane, GlitterCouch is currently being funded one-hundred percent by out of pocket resources from the Co-Creators. With grant funding from SAGA, Brittany Decker and Remelisa Cullitan will grow the outreach of GlitterCouch, and will work to improve the audio-visual quality of their work. These improvements will not only grow the GlitterCouch audience, but will also help to invite more and more interesting, diverse artists to the couch for interviews.

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