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2019 Round 2 SAGA Winners

The Spokane Arts Grant Awards (SAGA), now in its third year, has funded eight proposals through a competitive process from a pool of 27 qualifying applications. Grant winners will carry out arts projects and programs that will take place in Spokane over the next twelve months. The eight successful applicants received a total of $33,000 for projects in storytelling, dance, installation, music composition, theater, writing, visual arts, and language. Below we provide some information about each of our new awardees. Congratulations to this round’s winners!

Spokane Chinese Association
PROJECT TITLE: Descendants of the Dragon in Spokane: Our Culture, Our Stories
Spokane Chinese Association (SCA) is a non-profit organization that connects and unites people of Chinese heritage in the Greater Spokane area with the purpose of fostering stronger community connections and pursuing a more enriched quality of life. Over the course of their grant year (2019-2020) SCA will be sharing their culture and their stories in public performances, demonstrations, and storytelling events for local audiences.

Traditional dance, calligraphy, Chinese painting, and stories from local Chinese residents will take place at senior centers, libraries, and schools across the city. Performances will be put on by seasoned and dedicated artists who have practiced their craft for years.

With SAGA funding will allow for the purchase of traditional dance costumes, and materials for workshop participants, and will provide stipends for artists and storytellers. The new, storytelling initiative will provide English language and presentation support to English learners presenting their stories, sometimes for the first time in a public venue.

The major Lunar New Year Celebration in February 2020 will take place at Ferris High School, storytelling events are planned for May and October, and dance, calligraphy and painting performances will continue throughout the year.

More about the Spokane Chinese Association can be found at:

GRANTEE: Writers in the Community
PROJECT TITLE: Community Voices: Spokane School District Creative Writing Contest
Housed in the Master of Fine Arts program at Eastern Washington University, Writers in the Community (WITC) has worked with Spokane writers of all ages and backgrounds since 1994. Since its inception, WITC has offered free workshops to audiences as varied as inmates, veterans, men and women in recovery, pediatric oncology patients, and elementary, middle, and high school students.

From January to March, 2020, WITC will welcome all high school students from Spokane School District (SSD) to participate in a creative writing prose contest. The district’s English teachers and department leads are supporting WITC in developing the proposed contest and have agreed to integrate it into their English or creative writing curricula. MFA graduate students interning for WITC will also visit individual classrooms and conduct pro-bono craft lessons and workshops where students can share their work and receive encouraging guidance and feedback in real-time. An estimated 450 students enrolled in these English classes, creative writing electives, and after-school writing clubs from the seven SSD high schools will thus receive an opportunity to create and submit a 2000-word piece of fiction or nonfiction to the competition. 

SAGA funding will help the program increase its reach, improve its materials, and publish and distribute the contest participants’ work in their regular journal, InRoads.
More information about Writers in the Community can be found here:

GRANTEE: Square Top Theatre
PROJECT TITLE: The Scent of a Thousand Rains
The Scent of a Thousand Rains (TSTR) will offer local performances of a theatre production in verse for an actor and violinist, and a live recording for local public radio. The show features local actor, Ryan Childers, a veteran of Seattle’s theatre scene and violinist Tana Bachman-Bland, a regular with the Spokane Symphony, Tango Volcado, and Tedesca String Quartet. Bachman-Bland arranged, composed, and performs the music for TSTR. The production is conceived and directed by Charles M Pepiton, STT’s Producing Artistic Director and Associate Professor and Chair of Theatre & Dance at Gonzaga University. The text was written by Damon Falke, an American author, poet, and playwright.  The Scent of a Thousand Rains (TSTR) is Square Top Theatre’s debut project in the city of Spokane.

TSTR is an original theatre production offered in cooperation with Spokane Public Library, Spokane Public Radio, and Washington State Parks. The premiere will take place September 13-14, 2019, at the Vista House in Mount Spokane State Park. Additional performances will be offered with guided discussions at Spokane Public Library’s Downtown (October 3, 2019) and Shadle Park (January 17, 2020) branches. Finally, Spokane Public Radio will broadcast a recording of the show throughout their listening area. The recorded performance will remain available as a free, downloadable podcast. SAGA funding will help cover production costs and ensure the performances are free to the public.

GRANTEE: Hannah Pomante, Katie Smith, and Melissa Jones
PROJECT TITLE: Bird Nest Installation: A Moveable and Interactive Public Arts Project
The three artists are all 2019 graduates from Whitworth arts programs and are collaborating to create and share the work with Spokane’s youth.

The goal of the Bird Nest Installation is to provide a place of escape for Spokane's Youth by translating elements of nature into an eco-friendly public art installation. They will be constructing a moveable human-sized bird nest that offers the children of Spokane a safe hideaway place that is supportive of their learning and creative endeavors. It’s a grounded installation that will be transported throughout the area, finding temporary homes in elementary classrooms and libraries. For the time that it resides at each location, the children there can claim it as their own, using it as a place of refuge. They can read, play, create, or simply get away. No matter its use, it is a place for them.

The SAGA grant will be used to fund the construction and transportation of the nest, and a small stipend for the artists' work. Construction of the project will be completed in October/November 2019. Upon completion, the Bird Nest will be exhibited the remainder of the school year. Three locations have already been identified, Nine Mile Elementary, Millwood Kindergarten Center, and Shiloh Hills Elementary. Additional locations are being pursued.

GRANTEE: Factory Town
PROJECT TITLE: Things Change
Ellen Picken and Rajah Bose started Factory Town to combine their interests in visual art and storytelling. With SAGA support, Factory Town will be creating six kinetic sculptures which transform the familiar handheld “Jacob’s Ladder” toy into an over-sized interactive experience on impermanence. The goals are to offer an interesting perspective on the state of affairs in our world today and remind people that change is inevitable and within our control. 

Another goal is to create a work that has rarely been experienced by our Spokane audience, at least in Spokane. We are offering an installation that the audience makes come alive, that they are not only allowed to touch, but encouraged to. 

This interactive work is scheduled for exhibition September 2-30, 2019 in the Terrain Gallery in the Washington Cracker Building (Exhibit opening party: September 6, 2019), and will be a part of First Friday Art Walk in Downtown Spokane.

More information about Factory Town, the artists and their other works, can be found at:

GRANTEE: Scablands Books
PROJECT TITLE: Baby Speaks Salish Book Publication
With support from SAGA, Scablands Books will publish a graphic novel, Baby Speaks Salish, by local writer Emma Noyes. Proceeds will go to the Salish School of Spokane, which is dedicated to keeping the interior Salish languages alive in the face of ongoing colonialism.

Baby Speaks Salish by artist, researcher, and writer Emma Noyes (Sinixt Band of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation) is a vital, visually stunning instruction manual for parents who wish to speak interior Salish (Colville-Okanogan) with their babies and toddlers. Noyes includes important discussion of the deleterious colonial erasure of indigenous communities in our region while also delighting in language and illustration. This is a book that truly celebrates motherhood and indigeneity.

Copies of the book are expected to be available in February 2020.

GRANTEE: Apostrophe Spokane
PROJECT TITLE: Apostrophe: Representing marginalized student artists in Spokane.
Apostrophe is a student lead group that exhibits LGBTQ+ students, students of color, and women student artists from six local universities and colleges. After a successful first exhibition in May of 2019, Apostrophe will be holding its second annual exhibition of curated student work at an independent gallery space, to be announced, during the month of April 2020 with SAGA support. This expanded exhibit will encourage and promote emerging student artists from Whitworth University, Spokane Falls Community College, Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, North Idaho College, and Washington State University.

The exhibition will run from April 3, to April 12, 2020. Opening night will be part of First Friday, and the entire event will be part of Spokane Arts’ Saturate programming. In addition to the exhibition, a workshop will be taught by SFCC sculpture professor, Rob McKirdie, on April 6th, which will introduce attendees to working with metal. April 8th, will offer poetry, live music, and an open mic, and April 10th will present the public with a cultural food night.

More information about Apostrophe can be found on Facebook at “Apostrophe Art Collective.”

GRANTEE: Cary Boyce
A Garden of Roses
A new work for chorus and string quartet, A Garden of Roses, will have its world premiere featuring the Spokane String Quartet’s and Kantorei's 2020 season.

Dr. Cary Boyce is known locally as the General Manager of Spokane Public Radio, but away from home, Cary is known primarily as an Emmy award-winning composer. SAGA is providing support for the composition and presentation of a new work in partnership with two of Spokane’s premiere ensembles, Kantorei Cathedral Choir and the Spokane String Quartet.  A Garden of Roses, a cycle for chorus and string quartet, will center on American and English poems on the theme of roses.  These flowers have long served as symbols of the human condition—from life and love to sorrow and death. The work will function as a suite with choral/strings and quartet movements in alternation.  Movements could then be extracted and performed separately by each group (choral movements with piano reductions) as well as integrated performances.

Kantorei Choir is a semi-professional group of extraordinary singers and musicians directed by Dr. Timothy Westerhaus, Director of Choral Activities at Gonzaga University.  The ensemble is separate from the University (though subsidized with rehearsal space), and is one of the top vocal ensembles in the area and the state.  The Spokane String Quartet has presented professional performances of the quartet literature in this area for more than three decades.

The concert premier of the work, is scheduled for Spring 2020 with recording sessions and wider dissemination of the work to follow.

More information about the composer can be found here:

2019 Round 1 SAGA Winners

In the first round of its third year, SAGA has funded seven proposals through a competitive process from a pool of 42 qualifying applications. Grant winners will carry out arts projects and programs that will take place in Spokane over the next twelve months. The seven successful applicants received a total of $33,000 for projects in interactive film, music, public arts programs, theater, and education.

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GRANTEE: FEM+FEST Spokane Feminist Art Festival
New Artist Opportunities at the Second Annual FEM+FEST

Spokane Feminist Art Festival FEM+FEST 2019 is presented by Spokane NOW (National Organization for Women) in partnership with the Downtown Spokane Public Library. The Festival will take place on Saturday, April 27th from 6-9pm and will include visual arts displays along with a full stage lineup of music (featuring local punk band, Itchy Kitty), spoken word poetry, and performances. Earlier the same day at the Library, the Washington State NOW conference will provide an additional opportunity for FEM+FEST to present poetry workshops and mount exhibitions for statewide advocates attending the day’s conference. SAGA funding will provide the resources necessary to add high-quality artistic experiences to this year’s Festival program by supplying funds for local artist’s fees, display materials, and the production of a 2019 exhibition catalogue. Learn more about this year’s FEM+FEST at or on Facebook at “FemFest Spokane Feminist Art Festival.”

: Rebecca Chadwell and Thomas Castillo
PROJECT TITLE: The Sqelixw Language and Culture Project

Rebecca Chadwell works in media production and coordinates programs at Community Minded Television, promoting diversity in storytelling through media education. Thomas Castillo (Spokane Tribe) has a background in Government and Indian Studies as a means to advocate for rebuilding Native Communities. In close collaboration with Spokane Tribal experts, Chadwell and Castillo will be working to bring the Salish creation story to life. The story will be captured using both traditional and virtual reality filmmaking techniques, and will be set in a historically accurate representation of the Indian Congress Encampment along the Spokane River at Glover Field. The resulting short film will be shared with local tribes directly, and general audiences throughout Spokane during Native American Heritage month (November). Once completed, the artists will present each local tribe with a digital and virtual copy of the production along with a complimentary VR headset to make it available to their communities.


GRANTEE: Imagine Jazz
PROJECT TITLE: Imagine Jazz: Concert Series, Festival, Education and Fellowship Program.

Imagine Jazz is a non-profit organization founded by local composer, saxophonist and teacher, Rachel Bade-McMurphy, and SFCC teacher, composer, and trumpet player, Brendan McMurphy. The 2019-2020 season will be Imagine Jazz’s second year providing Spokane with high-quality concerts and educational opportunities.

Just in time for Jazz Appreciation Month (April) SAGA is supporting the 2019-2020 Imagine Jazz concert series, festival, clinics, and fellowship program. The year of jazz kicks off with an April 26-28 Jazz Festival featuring many local artists and the "Inner Flame" regional Women's composer collaborative. This festival will feature many local musicians and composers. Guest and local artist concerts in a variety of venues, two clinics with legendary visiting artists, and fellowship opportunities will continue into 2020. For more information, visit Imagine Jazz at

Glassblowing artists demonstrate their skills. Photo courtesy the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.

Glassblowing artists demonstrate their skills. Photo courtesy the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.

GRANTEE: The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC)
PROJECT TITLE: Mobile Glassblowing “Hot Shop”

Over the last weekend of spring break (April 4-6), the MAC will be offering visitors to Luminous: Dale Chihuly and the Studio Glass Movement the opportunity to experience live glassmaking and hands-on demonstrations in a mobile glassblowing “hot shop.” Two talented glass artists and an emcee, provided by Tacoma’s Museum of Glass, will be answering questions and explaining their techniques as they create works in a fully-equipped, mobile studio. This all-ages experience will be taking place in the MAC’s parking garage from 10am to 5pm each day and is free with general admission.

A whole family enjoys drawing together at Spokane Art School’s 2016 Art on the Street event. Photo courtesy Spokane Art School.

A whole family enjoys drawing together at Spokane Art School’s 2016 Art on the Street event. Photo courtesy Spokane Art School.

GRANTEE: Spokane Art School
PROJECT TITLE: Art on the Street 2019

On eight consecutive Saturday afternoons this summer, Spokane Art School will set up four giant, paper-covered easels on Garland Avenue. Each week, a different professional artist will offer mini lessons to passersby: a 90-120-second lesson on a particular skill, such as shading, composition, or color work. These lessons will be videotaped as "The Art on the Street Lesson for Today" and posted on social media platforms. Photos of the work created will be featured on the school’s growing Facebook and Instagram platforms, furthering the Spokane Art School mission of teaching Spokane to make and enjoy art.

A wide variety of drawing and painting materials will be provided by the school as they expect to host hundreds of aspiring artists Saturday afternoons from July 13 through August 31.

Kemuel DeMoville
PROJECT TITLE: Fire Melt Stone
SAGA is supporting local playwright Kemuel DeMoville in the creation of an original work, “Fire Melt Stone,” along with the creation of a complimentary education packet for area schools (focused on grades 3-6). The Theater for Youth (TYA) play dramatizes Spokane’s Great Fire of 1889 for Spokane area students and the general public. The Spartan Theatre at SFCC will feature the TYA play as part of their 52nd (2019- 2020) season.

Preproduction work will begin in the summer of 2019, with performances beginning in March of 2020. Engagements will consist of both daytime school field trip performances, as well as evening and weekend public performances. Two free playwriting workshops will also be offered as part of this project. The workshops will be free to attend.

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GRANTEE: Spark Central

With SAGA support Spark Central will be offering its 5th year of “Girls Rock Lab” in Spokane. Girls Rock Lab is designed to help girls who have never picked up an instrument find their inner rock star in a fun, safe space with other girls just like them. Facilitated by talented female or female-identifying volunteer musicians, Girls Rock Lab provides a space for girls to learn about music, experiment with new instruments, form bands, and write their own songs. Girls Rock culminates in a live concert where each all-girl band performs on-stage. After the girls play, local female bands perform throughout the evening, modeling for girls that they can become powerful musicians, too. To keep the girls engaged after their one-week intensive camp and to allow more girls to participate in this empowering arts program, Spark Central also convenes quarterly jam sessions. Forty girls participate each year at the Spokane Public Library Downtown.

2018 Round 3 SAGA Winner

The Spokane Arts Grant Awards (SAGA) has completed its final round of funding for 2018 and has awarded a single proposal for $10,000. With this final recipient, SAGA has awarded a total of more than $90,000 in grants to the arts in 2018. This round, we are proud to announce that Spokane’s Columbia Fire & Iron Blacksmiths submitted the winning proposal. Selected from a pool of 24 eligible applications, this round’s grant recipient will have one year to carry out their supported work.

Qualifying applications are reviewed by a panel of five or six individuals from the Spokane community. This Selection Panel is composed of one Spokane Arts Commissioner, one member of the Spokane Arts Board of Directors, and three or more members of the community with experience in the arts. With assistance from the staff of Spokane Arts, funding allocations are made three times a year. The next round of SAGA grant applications will be due online February 1. For more information, please visit Spokane Arts at

GRANTEE: Columbia Fire and Iron
PROJECT TITLE: Mobile Blacksmithing Outreach and Education

columbia fire and iron’s “hammer-ins” give hands-on experience to the spokane community in basic blacksmithing techniques, and can lead to ongoing educational opportunities for those interested in learning the craft. photo: megan kennedy.

columbia fire and iron’s “hammer-ins” give hands-on experience to the spokane community in basic blacksmithing techniques, and can lead to ongoing educational opportunities for those interested in learning the craft. photo: megan kennedy.

The blacksmithing craft is seeing a resurgence of interest, greatly fueled by the popularity of reality television shows like “Forged in Fire,” “Milwaukee Blacksmith,” and “Iron and Fire,” but many aspiring smiths struggle to find a way into the field. Beginning blacksmithing courses are rare and they range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, making it expensive to try out. The cost to set up one's own blacksmith shop is prohibitive for most and the equipment and tools can be difficult to find.

Since 2013, Columbia Fire & Iron (CFI), a 501(c)(3), has volunteered hundreds of hours teaching and demonstrating traditional and modern blacksmithing around the Spokane area, giving the community an affordable way to try blacksmithing for the first time and offering continuing education and guidance to those who choose to pursue the craft. CFI is the only blacksmithing organization within a 200-mile radius of Spokane — the closest similar groups are in the vicinities of Seattle, Portland, and Boise. As the local blacksmithing community has grown in size and enthusiasm over the last five years, CFI has grown with it: investing in additional anvils, forges, and other tools and materials as they are able, and borrowing tools from their personal shops or other local professionals to try to meet public demand at their events.

Despite their efforts, CFI’s stock still isn’t enough to give adequate time at the anvil to the growing audiences at each of their three annual “Hammer-In” events. In addition, as the demand for their expertise, and their body of forges, anvils, tools, and materials grows, CFI faces the immense challenge of storing and transporting that heavy and (currently) widely-dispersed equipment. As CFI describes it: “Preparation for our events includes gathering all of these tools from their various locations. Imagine loading numerous heavy anvils, forges, vises, anvil stands, and buckets of hammers, tongs, and other tools into trucks, and then unloading them at the event site, AND THEN having to do the same in reverse at the end of the event. We must move all of this equipment twice as much as we would if we possessed a dedicated trailer where the equipment could stay when not in use, not to mention all of the drive time that would be saved.”

With support from SAGA, CFI will be purchasing an 18- to 20-foot, heavy-duty tandem axle trailer to securely store and transport their forging equipment. The group will also be acquiring six additional, locally-cast anvils and tools for students so that CFI no longer has to borrow from the community to provide instruction. The ability to transport their equipment in a single vehicle, instead of the many individual vehicles of the participating teaching blacksmiths, means the group will save days of collecting and logistical issues for each event.

CFI states, “This considerable reduction in prep time and simplified logistics will make it possible to put on more frequent forging events. We will be more nimble too, with one or two CFI smiths being able to put on an event, instead of everyone having to participate and gather equipment. In addition, we would like to add more community outreach events in 2019 that would focus on reaching underserved communities.”

With this investment from SAGA, CFI looks forward to continuing to educate others about this timeless art form. Learn more about our newest SAGA grantee and their public offerings at

2018 Round 2 SAGA Winners Announced

The Spokane Arts Grant Awards (SAGA), now in its second year, has completed its second round and has funded nine proposals. These proposals were selected through a competitive process from a pool of 42 eligible applications. Grant winners will carry out arts projects and programs that will take place in the Spokane region over the next twelve months. The nine successful applicants received a total of $40,000 for projects in film, theater, interactive arts, photography, education, dance, and music.

SAGA will be awarding a total of $90,000 in grants to work in the arts in 2018, which will be allocated across three grant rounds. Qualifying applications are reviewed by a panel of five individuals from the Spokane community. This panel is composed of one Spokane Arts Commissioner, one member of the Spokane Arts Board of Directors, and three or more members of the community with experience in the arts. With assistance from the staff of Spokane Arts, funding allocations are made three times a year. The next round of SAGA grant applications will be due online October 1. For more information, please visit Spokane Arts at

GRANTEE: Power 2 The Poetry
PROJECT TITLE: After School Poetry Program with Spokane Public Schools

bethany montgomery, founder of power 2 the poetry. photo: ira gardner.

bethany montgomery, founder of power 2 the poetry. photo: ira gardner.

Power 2 The Poetry’s after school poetry program will offer a platform for students to learn how to properly channel their emotions, find their voice, and convey their feelings through spoken word. With SAGA support, this three-high school pilot program will be introduced in the 2018-19 school year. The academic year course will culminate in a showcase where students perform their spoken word pieces for the school and larger community. The program will be presented initially at North Central and two additional high schools chosen by the School District. After establishing a presence and perfecting their curriculum, Power 2 The Poetry will extend their classes to other schools in the District.

GRANTEE: Quiero Flamenco / Monica Mota
PROJECT TITLE: Aire Flamenco

Quiero Flamenco in performance. Photo: Marcos Esborronda.

Quiero Flamenco in performance. Photo: Marcos Esborronda.

Aire Flamenco will be a presentation of Flamenco arts with live music and dance from master Flamenco artists from Spokane and around the country at The Bing Crosby Theater on February 23, 2019. Aire Flamenco will be the third live performance of Flamenco presented by the Spokane-based organization, Quiero Flamenco. This year's show is entitled Aire (Air) Flamenco. The performance will incorporate the manton (shawl), capes, an aerial artist, and bata de colas (flowing train dresses), all of which harness the power and beauty of air, and provide a stark contrast to the powerful sound generated by the singing, dancing, and percussion produced by a full complement of Flamenco musicians and dancers. SAGA funding will be used to increase the quality and diversity of this year’s production. In addition to the performance, workshops will be offered giving local students the opportunity to work with and learn from master artists in singing, dance and guitar.

GRANTEE: Cherry Street Studios / Bill and Kathy Kostelec
PROJECT TITLE: A Spokane Silver Celebration

The Lucky Penny. Photo: Bill and Kathy Kostelec.

The Lucky Penny. Photo: Bill and Kathy Kostelec.

SAGA is supporting the creation of a free, public exhibition of A Spokane Silver Celebration: 50 fine art, black and white film and silver gelatin prints, which illustrate the beauty and unique character of Spokane. Much has changed since Bill and Kathy first began photographing Spokane: the Monroe Street Bridge was reconstructed, the Rookery Building was demolished, and places such as Dutch's, the Lucky Penny, and Sam's Pit were shuttered. These Spokane icons are just a few of the memories represented in the forthcoming exhibition, which will include many more of their favorite Spokane captures spanning 25 years.

GRANTEE: Stage Left Theater
PROJECT TITLE: The Threepenny Opera


With SAGA support, Stage Left Theater will produce its first musical: The Threepenny Opera. This production will involve 21 actors, nine directors, designers, and operators, and be enjoyed by more than 1,000 patrons. The community theater personnel will not only learn to work in an intimate space as a collaborative team to reach a final result, but they will be part of creating a production that encourages conversations which will run deeper than mere entertainment. With the message of this production, Stage Left Theater hopes Spokane will think about the consequences of decisions and how words and actions can inadvertently affect the emotional, spiritual, physical, or economic life of another. Threepenny Opera will be presented in at least nine performances from May 24, 2019 through June 9, 2019 at Stage Left Theater. For more information, please visit

GRANTEE: Counting Coup Media

counting coup media's producer, ryan abrahamson, directs a scene during the shooting of "red road."

counting coup media's producer, ryan abrahamson, directs a scene during the shooting of "red road."

Tackling issues of Native identity and Hollywood distortion, Counting Coup’s Director, Cinematographer, and Spokane Tribal Member, Ryan Abrahamson, and Co-Producer, Michael Kane, are collaborating with Derrick LaMere (Rocky Boy) at War Pony Pictures to create a film that the creators hope will leave audiences with the feeling that, “It is OK to be Indian.” Turning away from Western depictions of Natives as either shaman or derelict, Red Road will follow a protagonist, who is “just a dude who happens to be a redman who wears a tie every day, and works with computers and likes to go out with his friends.” Once completed, the film will be offered to Tribes nationwide for local screenings. Additionally, Counting Coup Media will be holding a free screening and question and answer session at the Garland during Native American Heritage month for troubled native youth in Spokane.

GRANTEE: Jenny Hyde
PROJECT TITLE: The Streets of Spokane


Artist Jenny Hyde wants to use the streets of Spokane as a source of inspiration for a metaphorical look at the cultural demographics that make up this city. The artist states: “One thing that I have noticed in particular about Spokane is the texture of the streets. Many of them are scarred – a series of botched repairs over the years of freezing and thawing… I have always looked to the landscape as a metaphor for the stories and lives that come from a place.” With help from SAGA, Hyde will be working with a mechanical engineer to develop a seismographic “road reader,” which will record the changing textures of various driving paths through the city. The resulting seismographic maps will then be translated into scores and videos, characterizing the physical and human journeys found in Spokane’s various neighborhoods.

GRANTEE: Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC)
PROJECT TITLE: RYAN! Feddersen: Phantom Lands

coyote bones , ryan! feddersen.

coyote bones, ryan! feddersen.

With support from the Spokane Arts Grant Awards, the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture will bring the exhibition, RYAN! Feddersen: Phantom Lands, to the MAC, from September 15, 2018-January 20, 2019. The exhibition expresses the MAC’s mission to bring diversity of art, different perspectives, and opportunities for deeper thinking and stronger conversations to Spokane audiences. The artist aims to form connections between US history, her Okanogan heritage, and current events to ignite conversations on place, use of space, and the human relationship to the environment. Feddersen approaches these topics with an emphasis on humor, play, and creative engagement as a way to create opportunities for personal introspection and discovery.

GRANTEE: One Heart Native Arts and Film Festival

J.Nicole Hatfield with some of her work.

J.Nicole Hatfield with some of her work.

On Friday, October 19th at the Bing Crosby Theatre in Spokane, Buffy Sainte-Marie will headline the One Heart Annual Festival with a 75 min set of her most classic songs, as well as songs from her recently released album. Sainte-Marie will kickstart One Heart Native Arts and Film Festival’s theme “Honoring Our Women,” bringing to attention the horrific issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG), and reaching out to the greater Spokane population with a rich presentation of Indigenous arts and culture. The 2018 Festival will include exhibitions, performances, discussions, and artistic workshops with prominent painter, J.Nicole Hatfield. SAGA is pleased to support this local, two-day festival as it prepares for its third year. Learn more at

GRANTEE: Edward Bryan and William Berry
PROJECT TITLE: Moby Dick – A Musical

Moby Dick logo.jpg

In a significant collaboration between writer, Edward Bryan, and composer, William Berry, the classic tale of a man chasing a whale has been refashioned as a musical. Writing dialogue and song lyrics, along with creating stage directions, property lists, and set and lighting designs for this production has consumed hundreds of hours of the artists’ time. SAGA is offering support to bring this undertaking to stage by assisting with the cost of the musicians, equipment, and performance space. On its way to a full production, Moby Dick – A Musical, has been scheduled April 5, 6 and 7, 2019, at Spokane Civic's Firth Chew Studio Theatre as a staged reading for Spokane audiences.


2018 Round 1 SAGA Winners

GRANTEE: Grace June

This is Debra, mother of Spencer who died by suicide in 2016. Spencer struggled with his treatments for bipolar disorder. Photo courtesy grace june.

This is Debra, mother of Spencer who died by suicide in 2016. Spencer struggled with his treatments for bipolar disorder. Photo courtesy grace june.

Artist, Grace June, draws inspiration for her work, “Survive,” from personal experience. June says, “My motivation is to do for others what my self-portraits have done for me as a cathartic outlet. I have struggled since I was a child with the idea of ending my life.  As a person with bipolar, art has helped me tremendously, and I have had amazing feedback from the people I've photographed that my photographs of them have had profound positive impact on them as well.”

June’s “Survive” photographic series and book are being created to acknowledge the experience of people in our community and surrounding areas most impacted by suicide, either as survivors after a death by suicide or survivors of a suicide attempt. Along with each image, June shares the story of the individuals pictured.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and is perhaps one of the least talked about. Four of the most highly affected states are here in the Northwest.  Through her photography, June wants to raise public awareness in a way that provides healing for survivors and hope for those who are struggling with this invisible epidemic.

WITH SAGA SUPPORT...An exhibition of the images printed on metal, will travel to schools, libraries and community art spaces in the Spokane area. The collected images and stories presented in book form will be donated to community health agencies and counseling centers as well as middle schools and high school counseling offices and libraries.

June says, “When seen all together in a book or on the wall, there will be a physical depiction that the people shown in the images are not alone in their experience.”

GRANTEE: Dr. Robert Bartlett
PROJECT TITLE: Jumping Into Fire

the men of the 555th parachute infantry battalion, the first and only all African-American paratrooper unit in military history.

the men of the 555th parachute infantry battalion, the first and only all African-American paratrooper unit in military history.

"Jumping Into Fire" will be a feature length documentary that uncovers the hidden story of the first and only all African-American paratrooper unit in military history, the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion. Nicknamed the Triple Nickles (spelled in Old English), these men broke color lines during a time of hostile segregation to become the first African-Americans trained as army paratroopers. Once trained they were then sent on a top-secret mission code-named “Operation Firefly” to fight a highly classified Japanese threat in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Yet, despite their historic accomplishments and contributions to the war effort, their tale is largely unknown.

Dr. Bartlett says, “Hidden stories like this one are part of a larger narrative about race and racism in this country, many of which have tragically been left out of the history books. These accounts need to be shared, just as the voiceless among them need to be heard. This particular story is about more than war; it is also about race, patriotism, service and sacrifice.”

This project began four years ago when Dr. Robert L. Bartlett, a local professor, public sociologist, and researcher, discovered a short article in the Spokesman Review about this unit. The story immediately appealed to him on a personal level since he is an African-American with a long-standing history of military service in his family. Dr Bartlett is, himself, an ex-Army and Vietnam War combat veteran. He has been researching this group for the past four years, and has spent two years as an official speaker for Humanities Washington where he traveled the state sharing their story.

WITH SAGA SUPPORT...“Jumping Into Fire” will educate viewers while providing a voice for the voiceless, and contribute to ongoing discussions on race and history, while creating opportunities for local artists, storyboard artists, motion graphic designers, sound designers, and other post production personnel.

GRANTEE: Jundt Art Museum
PROJECT TITLE: Truth, Form, and Life: Sculpture by Auguste Rodin from the Cantor Collections

Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917), Heroic Bust of Victor Hugo, modeled 1890-97 or 1901-02; bronze, 29 ¼ x 23 ½ x 21 ¼ inches; Lent by Iris Cantor

Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917), Heroic Bust of Victor Hugo, modeled 1890-97 or 1901-02; bronze, 29 ¼ x 23 ½ x 21 ¼ inches; Lent by Iris Cantor

The prohibitive cost of high profile, national traveling exhibitions makes them an unusual catch for Spokane. This special collection, organized by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, presents 22 of Rodin's most important bronzes modeled between 1860 and 1910. The SAGA selection panel would not miss the opportunity to assist in bringing this work to the region.

Jundt Art Museum Director and Curator, Paul Manoguerra, writes: “At the peak of his career, Auguste Rodin was regarded as the greatest sculptor since Michelangelo.  Rejecting 19th-century academic traditions that dictated what was “proper” in art, Rodin used sculpture made from hard marble and bronze to convey the vitality of the human spirit.”
The Rodin exhibition will open with a free public reception on the evening of Friday, September 7, 2018, and remain open until January 5, 2019. For every exhibition, the Jundt Art Museum directly invites art, history, and other teachers in K-12 from throughout the area to arrange a guided tour for their respective students. “Truth, Form, and Life” is expected to reach approximately 10,000 visitors.

The Jundt Art Museum has a 23-year history of providing quality art exhibitions to the Gonzaga, Spokane, and Inland Northwest communities. The Museum is always free of charge.

GRANTEE: Spokane Civic Theater
PROJECT TITLE: Shakespeare in Schools

spokane Students engaging shakespeare's works during the 2016-17 school year. photo courtesy spokane civic theater.

spokane Students engaging shakespeare's works during the 2016-17 school year. photo courtesy spokane civic theater.

Spokane Public Schools’ required curriculum covering the works of Shakespeare is brought to life with the help of the Spokane Civic Theater. SAGA funding will assist our local theater in reaching a greater number of under-served schools in our district with hands-on workshops as they study the work and history of Shakespeare. With SAGA funding, the Theater will be able to expand programming into Title One middle and high schools in Spokane.

Since 2011, teachers have turned to the Civic Theater to supplement curriculum with hands-on theater-based enrichment activities that bring texts to life and increase students' self-confidence as thinkers and actor. These two- to four-day workshops make the Bard accessible to middle and high schoolers, exploring Shakespeare’s history, romance, tragedy, and wit while engaging their bodies, minds, and emotions.

Mike Shannon, CEO writes, “Shakespeare's works were meant to be performed and seen in performance, not studied on a page… Many [students] have no prior exposure to the arts, because arts programming and affordable extracurricular options are inaccessible to families without discretionary income to pay for them. Involvement in Shakespeare in Schools changes all that. This program introduces them to the joy, confidence, and sense of connection generated by participation in performing arts.”

GRANTEE: Vytal Movement Dance Company
PROJECT TITLE: Vytal Movement Dance Company presents Confluence: Dances Influenced by the Spokane River

the vytal movement dance company explores the spokane river.

the vytal movement dance company explores the spokane river.

Vytal Movement Dance Company (VMDC) is Spokane's only professional dance company, founded in the summer of 2016. The troupe is composed of several highly trained dancers, most of whom connected via community adult dance classes taught by Vincas Greene, VMDC's director.

The Company’s formation was motivated by two main goals: to develop a professional quality modern dance presence for the regional audience in the Inland Northwest, and to provide performance opportunities for the talented dancers, who call this region home.

WITH SAGA SUPPORT... Vytal Movement Dance Company will present a concert of original dance works choreographed by Greene. VMDC is collaborating with Spokane composers Margaret Francik and Sy Hovik, Spokane photographer/videographer Ira Gardner, and costume designers during the development process of the new dances. The concert will take place in the Bing Crosby Theater on April 20 and 21.

VMDC will be identifying under-represented groups that would not normally have the opportunity to attend a dance concert and provide 100 complementary tickets.

This dance concert is designed to intrigue and increase the dance audience in Spokane by using the commonality of the Spokane River as a subject for one of the dances. SAGA is pleased to support the performance of new work in an arts medium that has not been presented to the general Spokane audience in several years.

GRANTEE: Spokane Interactive Arts / Laboratory
PROJECT TITLE: Laboratory's Summer Session: Projects Focused on Our Region

spring table. Caitlin Pickall, 2017. projection on a table with place settings. An example of laboratory's experimental, multimedia work.

spring table. Caitlin Pickall, 2017. projection on a table with place settings. An example of laboratory's experimental, multimedia work.

Spokane Interactive Arts is a local nonprofit which runs “Laboratory,” an artist residency program in downtown Spokane. Laboratory brings in interactive artists from all over the world for one to three months, so they can make and show work and connect with local Spokane creatives and businesses.

In its first three years of operation, Laboratory has brought in more than 60 artists, from more than a dozen countries.  “Most excitingly,” says Alan Chatham of Laboratory, “we have brought a huge diversity of artistic voices into our community and have helped fuel Spokane's creative environment.”

WITH SAGA'S SUPPORT... Laboratory will be hosting eight new residents in Spokane from June to August 2018. Each participating artist receives room and board and a small stipend during their stay. Each resident will also host a public show of their work at the end of their residency. This summer will bring two local artists together with artists from around the world who are interested in different elements of our region--terrain, history, architecture--that will be explored in local contexts.

GRANTEE: Gonzaga University Choirs
PROJECT TITLE: Gonzaga University Choirs Spring Masterworks Concert

the gonzaga university choir. photo courtesy gonzaga music department.

the gonzaga university choir. photo courtesy gonzaga music department.

WITH SAGA's SUPPORT, and in preparation for a performance that commemorates the Holocaust and cultivates awareness of modern anti-Semitism, Gonzaga University Choirs are collaborating with Spokane’s Jewish community in a project that will culminate in a public performance of Michael Tippett's A Child of Our Time.

The performance will take place on April 28 at 7:30 at the Fox Theater, shortly after Yom HaShoah, and will be preceded by a Yom HaShoah service, led by Gonzaga's student and faculty Jewish organization. This service is open to all community members.

The Masterworks Concert includes a choir of 62 college students and an orchestral ensemble of 37 musicians, with an expected audience of 600 people, comprised of students and community members. The performance will also be broadcast to a Northwest audience of more than 10,000 people through Spokane Public Radio.

Elayne Ingram, Choir Intern, writes, “This project is intended to be a collaboration not only of artists and organizations, but of cultures and hearts.”

The performance expects to see around 600 audience members, but will also be broadcast to the larger Spokane area through Spokane Public Radio--for those community members who wish to engage, but may not be able to attend the performance. Preceding the performance, the Choir be partnering with Temple Beth Shalom for an open Yom HaShoah service.

GRANTEE: Willow Springs Books
PROJECT TITLE: Willow Springs Books Zodiac Poetry Series: Year of the Dog

Cover art for the first book in the zodiac series: "heart of the rat." Photo courtesy willow springs press.

Cover art for the first book in the zodiac series: "heart of the rat." Photo courtesy willow springs press.

Willow Springs Books is an independent press in Spokane, overseen by Eastern Washington University's MFA Creative Writing program. In 2016, Willow Springs launched the Zodiac Poetry Series with the publication of “Heart of the Rat, An Anthology,” which is the first part of a twelve-part series. The small press plans to publish an anthology of poetry and short prose for each animal of the Chinese Zodiac. The next anthology in the series is Year of the Dog. MFA student Tessa Bryant says, “To our surprise, "Heart of the Rat" has been one of our best-selling books, and we expect our anthology on the dog will be even more popular, since the dog is such a beloved animal.”

WITH SAGA SUPPORT, and through various community partnerships, Willow Springs will be sourcing some their contributions from writing workshops focusing on dogs. This will allow children and underrepresented adults the opportunity to have their work featured next to nationally recognized poets.

“We don't want a stuffy anthology of academic writers,” writes Bryant, “We want a book full of powerful work from national names to emerging Spokane authors.”

Willow Springs Books is an established literary press that consistently publishes books that are beautifully designed and cleanly and professionally edited. The press will be using SAGA funds to solicit new work, design print and distribute the new "Year of the Dog" chapbook.

PROJECT: Spokane-based printmaking artist will use SAGA funding to acquire an etching press and related printing materials for printmaking studio with public access in downtown Spokane.

The SoulCrafter. 4'x5' woodcut relief print on cloth using an asphalt roller. This piece was carved by Reinaldo Gil Zambrano for the 1st Vandal Steam Roller project event at University of Idaho, which he organized. this print required the collaboration of seven people: the driver for the asphalt roller, two inkers and four to extend the fabric over the inked block.

The SoulCrafter. 4'x5' woodcut relief print on cloth using an asphalt roller. This piece was carved by Reinaldo Gil Zambrano for the 1st Vandal Steam Roller project event at University of Idaho, which he organized. this print required the collaboration of seven people: the driver for the asphalt roller, two inkers and four to extend the fabric over the inked block.

Reinaldo Gil Zambrano is a Spokane-based printmaking artist from Caracas, Venezuela.  Gil's current practice includes the creation of large pieces using relief printing applications, and collaboratively incorporating the audience in his printing process. He may be best known in the region for his popular First Vandal Steamroller Project and Ink Rally where community members in Idaho used an industrial asphalt roller as a press to print large scale works.

As a local printmaking artist eager to remain in Spokane, Gil wants to build his audience and educate the local community in the art of traditional printmaking. However, access to traditional printmaking equipment is difficult outside the university system. In its current state, the practice of relief and intaglio printing in Spokane is limited to universities and college campuses, and large-format presses are often cost-prohibitive to artists.

To create opportunity for this popular artform to thrive in Spokane, SAGA is supporting Reinaldo in the purchase of a pre-owned etching press and related materials for his studio in downtown Spokane. This press will allow Gil to develop his personal practice and to host public workshops, educating others about traditional printmaking arts.

In April, RGZ PRINTS will open for its first “Intro to Printmaking” class with continuing workshops available to the public on a monthly basis.

2017 Round 4 SAGA Winner

Richmond Art Collective accepting their $10,000 award on November 4, at the Arts Awards. Photo Credit: Don & Julia Photography

Richmond Art Collective accepting their $10,000 award on November 4, at the Arts Awards. Photo Credit: Don & Julia Photography

Richmond Art Collective

Proposal Title:  Richmond Art Collective Capacity-Building Project

Richmond Art Collective (RAC) is a dynamic, place-based community of multi-disciplinary artists, designers, curators, and academics practicing in the Spokane area. Its aims are to create a nurturing space for creativity, to perpetuate and disseminate the arts within broader communities, to uplift the self and provide peer support through creative exchanges, and to foster tangible practices of sustaining the Spokane artist.

RAC is led by Anne-Claire Mitchell, who applied for SAGA funding. Her passion for creating community and sustaining the collective came through in her proposal and impressed the SAGA Selection Panel. Located at 228 W. Sprague in the historic, repurposed Richmond Hotel building, RAC was formed with the intention of offering living and work spaces, artist resources and creative community support, but has grown and is ready to magnify its successes and broaden its impact.

With SAGA Support:

RAC intends to achieve several goals with the help of $10,000 in grant funding. RAC wrote in their proposal, “In response to a 100% increase in high-quality membership applications for 2017 over the previous year, exhibitions and open studio events serving more than 3000 local artists and community members since 2015, and participation from visiting artists and institutions with increasingly broad reach, RAC now requires additional funding to increase the organization's long-term sustainability and effectiveness.”

RAC will specifically use SAGA funds to build a development plan and will pay for the administrative work needed to build capacity and manage the growing facility. They will also strengthen their outreach programming, which will enhance RAC's ability to provide high-quality opportunities for historically disadvantaged artists in the City of Spokane, including access to affordable workspace, exhibition support, and a network of artist peers.

2017 Round 3 SAGA Winners Announced

In the third round of the 2017 Spokane Arts Grant Awards (SAGA), eleven proposals were awarded funding from a pool of fifty-three qualifying 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 eleven grant winners through a competitive process.

Three of the grants are awarded to individual artists for the creation of new work. One grant is awarded to a pair of artists, Cozete Phillips and Tybre Newcomer, to create a two-person art exhibition. Another was awarded to artist, Daniel Kytonen, to create huge 28 ft Monotype prints. The third individual is musician, Ras Omy K, who will use his grant to create and produce a new album.

Garageland Chronicles received a grant to support several artists. The nonprofit, Art Salvage, received a grant to support their mission of creating Spokane’s first creative reuse store. One Heart received a grant to support their two-day indigenous artists showcase along with their film festival. The McManus plays will use their grant to create a unique musical and theatrical performance that will be sure to entertain in large audiences. Get Lit! will use grant funding to create a 20th anniversary anthology. Spokane VR collective will use their grant for an interactive exhibition. West Plain Arts Academy will use their grant to cover the start-up costs of creating new classes geared toward children.

“Our selection panel has an incredibly difficult job of selecting from a pool of so many worthy proposals. I’m excited by the mix of creative proposals that were funded,” said Melissa Huggins, Executive Director of Spokane Arts. “There are diverse artistic disciplines represented, big and small projects, events, educational outreach and so much more.”


A scene from “The Garageland Chronicles,” filmed at Greenwood Cemetery. (Photo by Jamie Junction)

A scene from “The Garageland Chronicles,” filmed at Greenwood Cemetery. (Photo by Jamie Junction)

The Garageland Chronicles, Slothberg Productions

The Garageland Chronicles is the brain child of film producer, Shaun Springer. It is collection of short stories that encompasses many Spokane local artists, story tellers, writers, filmmakers, and actors while using a local hangout as its central hub: Garageland.

The Garageland Chronicles has been created as a feature length film, written, produced and filmed entirely in Spokane. Although the film is steered by Shaun Springer, the entire crew consists of local filmmakers, and cast/crew are all Spokane residents.

The film is in final post production and will be completed by January 2018. This period of time will allow for final color correction, final visual Fx, and the entire sound including Fx. The initial screening locally for cast/crew/family and friends will be in November 2017.  Film Festivals and events are between October 2017 and July 2018, and possibly beyond.


The Garageland Chronicles film celebrates our diverse community and all of the artists employed by one film.  The community, region, state and entire world can enjoy the collection of artists Spokane has to offer.

Now that the film has been completely filmed, and in initial edit, SAGA funding will be used to complete post-production of the full length feature film to the highest industry quality and standards. Shaun wrote, “I will be able to employ even more local Spokane artists and filmmakers to polish this local gem into a regionally, and even nationally recognized collection of art. These local specialists are matching in kind donations and greatly reducing their normal fees to also assist in the completion of this incredible film.”

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Art Salvage

PROPOSAL TITLE: Art Salvage’s First Creative Reuse Store

Art Salvage seeks to promote creativity while also educating Spokane’s art communities about sustainability through their ongoing collection and reuse of materials and art supplies that otherwise would be thrown away. Not only is potential waste recycled productively, but Art Salvage also takes sustainability further by offering low priced materials and classes showing how the Spokane community can create using such supplies and tools.

Art Salvage is a new nonprofit led by Katie Patterson Larson, who envisioned Spokane to be both creative and sustainable. The main focus of Art Salvage is to collect usable art materials from the community and organize them for resale in the Art Salvage store front.


Art Salvage does not yet have a store. They received an operational grant to help support, in part, a home and a retail space to sell goods and hold classes. It is their hope that the retail store will be a one stop shop for art and craft supplies such as paint, paper, yarn and more, as well as unique materials and vintage goods.

Katie Patterson-Larson, Art Salvage's Executive Director, wrote in her proposal, “Art Salvage aims to serve a wide variety of artists and makers including teachers, students, crafters, do-it-yourselfers, and artists of all ages. By selling art materials at affordable prices the organization hopes to appeal to both those on a budget and also individuals looking for unique creative inspiration and supplies.”

Two sculptures by Cozette Phillips that will be included in the Monoliths and Memory exhibition. (2017) These sculptures are constructed with Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Recycled Plastics and Resin

Two sculptures by Cozette Phillips that will be included in the Monoliths and Memory exhibition. (2017) These sculptures are constructed with Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Recycled Plastics and Resin

Artists Cozete Phillips & Tybre Newcomer, Monoliths of Memory

PROPOSAL TITLE: Monoliths of Memory, a two-person art exhibition.

Inspiration is often the result of attending an art exhibition. Monoliths of Memory is a two-person art exhibition, lecture, and gallery talk scheduled for January 3-February 9 of 2018 at Spokane Falls Community College Fine Arts Gallery. Through research and investigation of form and material, ceramic sculptor Tybre Newcomer and mixed-media sculptor Cozette Phillips will reflect on the influence of man-made materials within natural environments.

Cozette Phillips and Tybre Newcomer wrote, “We will engage and impact the local community by providing a lecture and gallery talk to accompany our exhibition of artwork. All events surrounding the exhibition will be free and open to the public and will serve people of all ages, races, and physical abilities. Providing an event that is accessible to a diverse population creates an opportunity for connectivity and builds a foundation for new friendships.


The SAGA support will help fund the creation of new artworks and supplement costs associated with studio operations, transportation, and installation of the artwork for the exhibition. This is important for the materials used because, “The vehicle for artistic research and technical explorations of form are the tangible art materials that inherently hold memory and respond to the artist touch,” according to Cozette. Clay, metal, and plastics will comprise the primary artistic mediums utilized in the artworks displayed. With SAGA funds, these materials will be purchased from local Washington/Spokane businesses and manufacturers to better serve the local economy.

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One Heart Native Arts & Film Festival

PROPOSAL TITLE: One Heart Native Arts

Spokane’s second annual One Heart Native Arts and Film Festival, September 8–-9, celebrates the best in Native film and arts in the Inland Northwest and beyond. The festival will feature screenings of feature-length and short Native films, a Native art gallery, music and more, as it explores the vibrant, innovative and diverse world of contemporary Native arts.

The mission of One Heart Native Arts and Film Festival is to share and showcase innovative, compelling and empowering stories from Native perspectives through film and art, celebrating the diversity and vitality of contemporary Native culture in our community today.


SAGA funding will support the visual arts component of the Film Festival at the One Heart Art Gallery, which is offering Free admission to the public. The funding will be used primarily for artists, per diem, honorariums, and marketing for the visual arts program. Featured visual artists this year include: Ric Gendron, Diane Covington, Carly Federsen, Stephanie Marchand, Jeff Ferguson, and Jeremy Salazar.

The One Heart Art Gallery is located at the Unfinished Space at S. 165 Howard Street is a newly refurbished industrial gallery and special events space. Holding the gallery of Indigenous arts in a central downtown location will open Native art to mainstream entertainment in the Spokane area.

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Patrick F. McManus, Tim Behrens, & Olivia Brownlee --McManus Plays

PROPOSAL TITLE: My Favorite Toy Was Dirt! An American Story in Concert. Story by Patrick F. McManus; Original Music Composed and Arranged by Olivia Brownlee, Starring Pat’s Indentured Actor Tim Behrens & Nine Fantastic Spokane Musicians!

This project is a special collaboration among three artists who have each resided in Spokane for more than 30 years and each of whom has attained a national reputation: humor writer (and retired EWU professor) Patrick F. McManus, composer/arranger and musician Olivia Brownlee, and touring professional actor Tim Behrens. Their goal is to create an original and humorous musical program, that would be presented, initially, to four Spokane area audiences. Then presented regional and eventually, national, concert venues, educational settings and special performance opportunities. The event is a roughly one hour concert performance featuring nine professional musicians and one actor (Tim) performing a complete story by Patrick McManus and original music by Olivia Brownlee.


SAGA funding will be used to pay, in part, for the composition itself, and the arranging, scoring, and printing of the piece for all performers. Additionally, SAGA funding will serve as a catalyst to promote the performances through the various resources from Spokane Arts. Tim Behrens wrote in his proposal, “For us, the most telling signs of success will be laughter, hopefully hard, loud, and delighted laughter. Success will also be measured by tickets sales, reviews from various media, social media response and increased interest in the next performance. We also hope people will leave the theater commenting on the originality, humor and depth of Olivia's musical composition.”

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Get Lit! 20th Anniversary Anthology

The Get Lit! Festival began in 1998 as a one-day marathon of literary readings sponsored by Eastern Washington University Press and EWU's Department of Creative Writing. By 2004, the audience had increased to thousands of people from Spokane and the surrounding region. More recently, The Spokesman-Review referred to the festival as the literary equivalent to Spokane's nationally recognized sporting events, Hoopfest and Bloomsday. Housed within Eastern Washington University's College of Arts, Letters, and Education, the Get Lit! Festival continues to expand and reach more people in our community.


SAGA will help support the creation of Get Lit!’s 20th anniversary literary collection to be launched during the 2018 Get Lit! Festival; the collection will be for sale throughout the week, but a special launch will take place during the most popular headlining readings. The collection will include work from some of the most famous and well-loved authors from Get Lit! 

Get Lit!’s director, Kate Peterson, wrote in her grant application: “The anthology, while primarily being a gift to the community, will also bring more national exposure, which will in turn help Get Lit! Programs secure more sponsors for the festival and more nationally and internationally acclaimed writers. The bulk of any funds raised for Get Lit! Programs goes towards putting on the festival each year, but Get Lit! Programs would love to continue and expand, the educational outreach programs that we have been running for years (like Writers in Residence and Author's Tour), therefore, more grants and sponsors for the festival would allow Get Lit!'s budget to expand and offer new and increased educational outreach opportunities throughout the year.”

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The Spokane VR Film Collective: Tempus Project

PROPOSAL TITLE: The Spokane VR Film Collective: "Tempus" Project

The Spokane: The VR Film Collective are all time-based artists, coming together to blaze a pathway for VR Film production in the Spokane region.

  • Anna Czoski, is an entrepreneur and visual artist working in the virtual reality medium who founded the Real-Time Collective, which seeks to build up interactive art and game development in Spokane.

  • Juan A Mas is a local director of ZNation, and a fierce community builder in the Spokane film community.

  • Vincas Greene, is a choreographer and dancer who founded Spokane's only professional modern dance company, among other contributions to the community.

  • Jason McKee creates stunning visual effects for ZNation among a slew of IMDB credits as a local business owner of MODEfx.

  • Tobias Hendrickson is a modular Synthesist and composes original music for Terrain's Uncharted, commercial spots, and is currently working on a documentary, among many other projects.

The Spokane VR Collective will create a project that looks at the concept of "time" through VR narrative. The piece explores the physical and scientific explanations of time as well as the personal and emotional implications. With cutting edge technology and a room full of creatives, this project will have a ripple effect to surrounding artists and communities.


SAGA funds will help the collective secure a 360 production-grade camera for demo and rehearsal. Since an artistic process is in a new medium that revolves around iteration, the choreographer and dancers will be handicapped without this tool. They will also use their grant funds to solicit more sponsorship. –“We will have difficulty showing the project to a wide audience in Spokane without funds. It comes down to how many headsets we have and how much time we have.”


Ras Omy K Album


Omy Karorero, musically known as Ras Omy K, is from Rwanda, Africa. He is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Within the first few days, he lost his family and subsequently ended up living homeless on the streets of Kigali for seven years thereafter. It was during his time on the streets of Kigali, where he was introduced to reggae music. The lyrics and messages gave Omy hope and purpose. He began writing and performing songs as a way to heal himself from the trauma that he had experienced. The creation of songs gave him purpose to tell his story and use music as an outlet for the pain and suffering that he experienced and saw around him.

Omy's music is fueled with topics that he feels the world needs to hear. Especially having recently come to the US from Africa, Omy has a unique perspective of the differences as well as the unity that exists among humanity. Omy's purpose as a musician is to integrate his cross-cultural life experience to educate those who listen as well as bring love and healing to the world.


Over the last several months, Omy has been working as much as time allows on this album with his musical producer Juan Parris. Omy has written lyrics, while Juan has laid beats for the songs. They have approximately 9 songs started and ready to be recorded. This includes recording vocals and adding live instrumentals, and then mixing and finalizing the songs. The SAGA award will be used for the studio time and space needed to create the new work, as well as the post production of the album, and limited performances.

Rough sketch of instalation

Rough sketch of instalation

Artist Daniel Kytonen, 28 ft Monotype Prints

PROPOSAL TITLE: Spokane Public Library Temporary Monotype Site-specific Installation

Daniel Kytonen is a visual artist whose current body of work is producing large monotypes. With these works he is investigating the in-between world of meaning and experience, which is connected to his life and the learning disabilities that are a part of who he is.

Like many people, learning differences have left Daniel with a gap between information and understanding, but instead of making differences become a detriment, his challenges have become his strength by being able to pull disparate ideas and objects together to show their connectedness. “I often find myself existing in, discovering, and searching out this in-between space, drawing influence from many artists from different cultures. Exploring the gap is what makes life meaningful for me, and as I search I find things inside myself that I hope connect to humanity.”


The SAGA grant will allow for Daniel Kytonen to make work that is site-specific for the Spokane Public Library that will be on display starting February 2018. Daniel wrote in his application, “In addition to helping fund this specific project, the SAGA grant would help me gain traction as an emerging artist in continuing to share my work with the larger Spokane community. Having the chance to have work displayed during Spokane's arts month would continue to bolster an already exciting time for the arts in the city, adding work that is thoughtfully engaging with the global contemporary art community.”


Listen To Your Mother (LTYM), Elise Raimi and Stacey Conner

PROPOSAL TITLE: LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER (LTYM) SPOKANE - Storytelling, Connection, and Community

For the past seven years, LTYM show is always on Mother's Day Sunday at 7:00 p.m. at the Bing Crosby Theater. The audience of almost 400 members of the Spokane community hears the stories of 13 strangers who become their friends, neighbors, and peers.  The show begins with a slideshow featuring pictures of each LTYM cast member. The theater goes dark and the curtains open to a sparse stage with a music stand and a microphone centered in the spotlight surrounded by a semicircle of chairs.

LTYM readers are all community members who have auditioned through a competitive process to be featured in the show, many of whom do not have any experience, and have been guided through the process of public storytelling performance tools developed by Stacey Conner and Elise Raime. The storytellers must remember what they've learned - to enunciate and make eye contact, to pause where we have practiced, but most importantly, that their words are important.  Stacey wrote in their grant application, “They speak their truth, no matter how brutal, and without fail the listening audience receives them with open hearts.”


SAGA funds will be used to support Stacey and Elise in their artistic efforts, and to expand outreach efforts, diversifying the stories LTYM can bring to their audience and the impact they have on the Spokane community. “Our outreach begins in September when we hold the first of five monthly sessions of our Creativity Salon.  The salon sessions are educational. We teach the basics of short creative non-fiction essays, and also the fundamentals of what makes a good essay for LTYM audition day.” Stacey and Elise’s classes aim to make an enormous impact on the participants as writers.

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West Plains Arts Academy- Art Classes

PROPOSAL TITLE: Large Cost Items for Art Classes

West Plains Arts Academy was formed in the summer of 2016 by Debbie Gerber, Nancy Gasper and Heather Hubbard: a group of concerned citizens and parents who felt there was an unmet demand for quality arts programs in their community. “It is difficult for many families to get kids to programs in Spokane, and so they miss out on the opportunity to experience the arts until they get to junior high or high school - if at all,” they wrote. Their mission is to provide opportunities within the community to explore the arts in a safe, creative, uplifting and nurturing environment.

West Plains Arts Academy employs four professional artists who have a mission to educate and provide hands-on artistic learning opportunities to young children and their families. Their newest artistic class will be focused on learning about masters through a series of classes. Each class will focus on a particular artist and students will have the opportunity to get to know a little about the artist and his works of art.  Students will then have the opportunity to create their own work of art in the style of that artist. These new classes will be taught by local artist Loredana Murphy, a Spokane area resident. 


SAGA funding to cover start-up costs for local art classes geared at introducing children to famous artists/art. These costs include paints, canvases, tarps and easels. This grant will also help West Plains Arts Academy spread the word about their offerings and their mission.


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.

Unless otherwise credited, all images copywright (c), don and julia photography.

Unless otherwise credited, all images copywright (c), don and julia photography.