Spokane Arts is pleased to announce that Melissa Huggins has accepted the position of Executive Director for the organization. In her new role, Melissa will oversee all aspects of Spokane Arts, including programming, facilitating events, day-to-day operations and more.

“We are so excited to welcome Melissa to the helm of Spokane Arts,” said Brooke Kiener, Spokane Arts Board Chair. “She brings a wealth of experience and wonderful community connections, and we know she’ll help us grow our outreach and impact.”

Huggins has spent the last five years as the director of Eastern Washington University’s Get Lit! Programs, which includes the annual Get Lit! Festival as well as Writers in the Schools programs for K-12 students. As part of the Get Lit! Festival, she helped facilitate many collaborations between writers and other artists, including stage productions, art exhibits, concerts, and more. Prior to joining Get Lit!, she worked and volunteered with nonprofits like Planned Parenthood and the Pierce County AIDS Foundation.

"I'm delighted to join the team at Spokane Arts during such an exciting time, both for the organization and the arts community as a whole," said Huggins. "There are so many individuals and organizations doing incredible work in our community, with lots of room to grow. I'm looking forward to supporting and advocating for a broad range of artists in Spokane."



Save the Date: NOvember 5th.
3rd ANNUAL CREATE SPOKANE Costume Ball & Arts Awards


Community Partners: Spokane Arts is excited to announce our third annual Create Spokane Arts Month for October 2016.  Artists, arts organizations, arts businesses, creatives and instigators of all stripes have submitted their events or community partner listings for the month of October.  All events and/or listings will be included in our promotional materials on the web and through social media, sponsored media and other earned media under the umbrella of Create Spokane. 

Costume Ball and Presentation: Arts Month will culminate in a Costume Ball, a festive way for Inland Northwest innovators to come together and celebrate the creative diversity unique to our region.  At this time we will also celebrate the Spokane Arts Awards, recognizing the people and organizations in our community providing distinctive contributions to the arts. Spokane Arts Awards recognize the accomplishments of artists, arts and cultural organizations and local individuals and groups committed to enriching our community through the arts. Arts Awards will be announced at the 2016 Spokane Arts Awards Costume Ball. The four awards categories reflect the values of Spokane Arts: Leadership, Collaboration, Imagination, and Inclusion.



SPOKANE, Wash.  -  After a regional search, Spokane Arts is pleased to announce that Jennifer Knickerbocker has been hired to take on the role of Grants Administrator for the organization. Knickerbocker will build and implement a citywide grant funding program for arts, culture and heritage organizations. This is a new program of Spokane Arts and one that will be supported through revenue generated by the local admissions tax beginning in January 2017.

Knickerbocker brings a vast background in grants management and was most recently the manager of grants and strategic partnerships for the Spokane Symphony, where she built and shaped a robust granting program. She has served as the former chair of the advisory commission for diversity for the city of Renton, and has worked in Spokane in educational advocacy for the past six years in both a professional and voluntary capacity. As an artist herself, she says that she “understands the complexities of finding funding, and is supportive and compassionate to the issues many artists and community organizations face when working in the arts.” 

Laura Becker, outgoing Executive Director of Spokane Arts, states that “Jennifer was the perfect candidate for this significant position – both because of her demonstrated experience and also because she is deeply connected and committed to what is happening in the Spokane community. She is held in high regard by her colleagues and is a person that the people of Spokane can trust with their shared resources and cultural investments. She will excel in this role and will continue the work that we have all fought so hard to achieve.”

Knickerbocker will be starting with Spokane Arts after September 1st, 2016 while she works to conclude her position with the Spokane Symphony. This is a contract, part-time position and she will be working both remotely and in the Spokane Arts office and will establish regular office hours after her arrival.

Spokane Arts, which was a division of the City of Spokane until 2012, is a 501c3 organization that works to support and promote Spokane as a cultural hub and to strengthen the arts in all disciplines in our community.

Mural by todd benson, waste to energy on Maple street.

Mural by todd benson, waste to energy on Maple street.

Spokane arts is seeking:

Spokane Arts Opens Search for New Executive Director

A national search for a new executive director is underway as Spokane Arts begins the challenging task of replacing the departing Laura Becker.
Becker will continue to lead the organization until Sept. 23, when she leaves to become Cultural Affairs Supervisor to the City of Santa Monica’s public art program.

Under Becker’s leadership, Spokane Arts has put several new programs, community artworks and positive policies into place.  These include the City of Spokane’s amended admissions tax ordinance which, last fall, received a near-unanimous Spokane City Council vote. The program redirects 33% of local admissions tax to support operations of the Spokane Arts Fund, and it creates a new grant funding program for the arts, culture and heritage communities of Spokane.
“I am honored to have led this organization for as long as I have, and with so many accomplishments that we’ve been able to achieve,” said Becker. “I’m confident that Spokane Arts will attract an extremely qualified and passionate leader who can continue the work of our talented and tenacious team in this great community.”

Click here for the Executive Director Job Description PDF.




Video link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/x72S2gCl1po

Spokane Arts, Bernardo Wills Architecture, Eastside Reunion, Gonzaga University and Numerica team up to bring new life to an old building in the East Central Neighborhood!

Fresh Soul is the creation of Michael Brown, Founder and President of Spokane Eastside Reunion Association (SERA) and Sheldon Jackson of Selkirk Realty, the Fresh Soul Project Coordinator.  “Fresh Soul is going to be much more than a restaurant,” Brown explained. “We want to motivate and teach our kids skills that will inspire them to continue their education, and provide a platform for success and to find their passion.”  The building will soon house a food service education facility for young people looking to build skills in the service industry with a fully-functioning café, including outdoor seating. 

In the early spring of 2015, Mike Wallace with Bernardo Will Architects paid a visit to the Spokane Arts offices. He and a fellow colleague were inspired by a presentation given by Laura Guido-Clark, the Executive Director of Project Color Corps  at a conference they had recently attended. They immediately thought there was a need to apply a similar ethos to the Fresh Soul project they were working on back in Spokane. Mike initiated a conversation with Spokane Arts about the potential of the project and the conversation of how to incorporate a mural into the plans. 

Around the same time, Shalon Parker, an art history professor at Gonzaga University, visited Spokane Arts to get some guidance on a course she would be teaching in the fall of 2015 called Art, Race, and Public Space: The Mural in America. Initially she had approached Spokane Arts wanting help enlisting local mural artists to come speak to her class. That conversation was the catalyst for imagining how to realize the project with Bernardo Will Architects. Spokane Arts Executive Director Laura Becker thought, “Hey, you’re teaching a class on murals with students who are wanting to learn about the art of mural making. What better way to learn than to do?” Becker’s vision was to have those students work with a lead artist, commissioned by Spokane Arts. The new Program Manager, Ellen Picken (a muralist) was tasked with creating a design that spoke to the vibrant community and could be painted by volunteers in one weekend. She asked Brown to invite the community members to help paint, never imagining there would be more people than paint brushes. 

Painting the mural brightened a once run-down building, bringing light to the corner of Fifth & Fiske. More importantly, neighbors and students know they created that space together and made new friends in the process.

Dance of the Redband - Ken Spiering sculpture

This summer, the Division triangle underwent a $500,000 improvement, with new trees, more landscaping, sidewalks and a new piece of artwork called “Dance of the Redband” by Ken Spiering, a local artist with many well-known sculptures around town. The beautification project is part of a larger effort to remake Division Street as a more pleasant thoroughfare, beginning with the on- and offramps for Interstate 90. (From the Spokesman Review.)

Link to the Spokesman article: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2015/apr/10/division-traffic-triangle-to-get-500000-makeover/