2017 SAGA Grantees, Round 1

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

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


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

Millwood Print Works

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


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

Brian Estes, President of Terrain Programs: Window Dressings

Window Dressings

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

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

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


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

Scott Ryan, Base Songwriting Workshop

BASE Songwriting Workshop

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

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


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

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

Salishan Sturgeon Nose Canoes

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

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


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

Emily Gwinn, Uncensored: Spokane Poetry Slam Collected

Spokane Poetry Slam

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


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

Betsy Godlewski, Director of Development

Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, ArtFest 2017 

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


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

Kathryn Smith, Poet

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

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

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


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

Brittany Decker & Remelisa Cullitan: GlitterCouch

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


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

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