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Expericing ART: Inland Empire Style

As the ever-increasing number of regional artists, galleries, museums, festivals and juried art shows attest, the Inland Empire is rapidly becoming a destination for art lovers. You can view art, buy artworks workshops even create art. Regardless of your choice, you can readily find, enjoy and experience art in this special part of the world. 

Out and About

Art Fest (Spokane)
This colorful, annual event, staged by the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture (MAC), is Spokane’s premier outdoor juried-art festival. Now in its 28th year, the festival takes place the first weekend in June in Coeur d’Alene Park, in Browne’s Addition, just west of downtown Spokane. At Artfest, artists from all over the Northwest converge to exhibit and sell their works. The event has a reputation not only for art, but also for a great lineup of bands and musicians, delicious food, beer and wine tastings and memorable workshops for children. For many, attending family-friendly Artfest has become a tradition. Admission is free. www.

First Night (Spokane)
Ring in the year on a creative high note! First Night Spokane is a community celebration of the new year through the arts. The purpose is to foster public appreciation of visual and performance arts through an innovative, family-friendly New Year’s celebration. From fireworks, ice carving and magicians to musicians, dancers and thespians, there’s entertainment galore. Events for children include arts and crafts and a parade to showcase their artistic creations. Pre-sale buttons are $12 each. Children age ten and under are admitted free with the purchase of an adult ticket. www.

Art on the Green (Coeur d’Alene)
This is Northern Idaho’s summer celebration of art
and creativity. It takes place the first weekend in August
at the old Fort Sherman Grounds on the North Idaho College campus, just a short walk from downtown. Attendees can enjoy a variety of performances in the park’s band shell, view the works of more than 135 artists and indulge in the cuisine that’s sold in booths by the lake. Art on the Green offers an ideal opportunity to buy handcrafted works in various media directly from the artists. This festival, now in its 45th year, is large: during the three-day celebration, attendance can reach 50,000. Art on the Green is sponsored by the non-profit Citizens Council for the Arts (CCA) and is staffed by more than 500 CCA volunteers. Admission is free. 

Walla Walla Quilt Festival (Walla Walla)
This three-day annual event takes place in late September and attracts quilters from all across the Pacific Northwest. Highlights include a show of new creations, as well as a display of the best quilts of years past. Enjoy special workshops, demonstrations, and the auction. Quilters convene at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds on Orchard Street. Attendance is expected to exceed 20,000. Cost of attendance for all three days is $5. Additional information is available at www. 
Museums, Galleries & Cultural Centers

Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture (MAC)
 The MAC is the largest cultural organization in the
Inland Northwest, and it is a true treasure. It features
five exhibition galleries that highlight regional history,
arts and American Indian culture. Tours are available
at the historic Campbell House (1898) and at its
Carriage House Activity Center. The complex has an archive library, museum store, café, and an art rental and sales program. The museum is located just west of downtown Spokane, in the beautiful Browne’s Addition neighborhood. For more information and for current exhibit schedule, visit 

Jacklin Art and Cultural Center (JACC)
Located in Post Falls, Idaho, the Jacklin Art and Cultural Center works to ignite and enrich a passion for the  arts. It hosts a variety of arts and cultural programming that range from education outreach and concerts and theater presentations to cooking classes and gallery shows. The most popular classes are their cooking classes, which are taught by standout regional chefs. The JACC is a non-profit organization that opened its doors in 2005. The building, which is on the historic register, is a popular place for weddings and parties. For more information and a current schedule of events, see
Kolva-Sullivan Gallery
Sometimes beauty is tucked in the most unexpected places, and this is true of the Kolva-Sullivan Gallery. It is housed in a warehouse on the edge of downtown Spokane. The industrial space provides a unique backdrop for revolving monthly shows of regional artists’ works. The gallery, which often features pottery and ceramics, is located at 115 South Adams Street in Spokane. For additional information, call 509.458.5517.
Jundt Art Museum
The Jundt Art Museum offers visitors the chance to experience “higher education” without the hefty price tag. part of Gonzaga university’s extensive campus, the Jundt boasts 2,800 square feet of gallery space. The museum houses traveling exhibitions, and it also contains Gonzaga’s art collection and print collection. These are available to the public for viewing and study. For more information and a list of current exhibits, go to 
Spokane Art School
Held at various locations, including galleries and artists’ homes, the Spokane ART School is run by Kay O’Rourke and Ken Spiering. These artists and workshop leaders are just two of the talented artists committed to teaching. For more four than decades, O’Rourke has been charming viewers with her paintings, drawings and mixed-media constructions. Spiering’s outstanding art is expressed in a variety of mediums. Some of his most prominent creations are his works of public art, which include the giant Radio Flyer wagon in downtown Spokane’s Riverfront Park. For information about upcoming classes, see For artist information, visit and www.

Corbin Art Center
The Corbin Art Center, situated on lower South Hill of Spokane, has a rich history. This beautiful home was built in 1898 for Daniel Chase Corbin by his former son-in-law, architect Kirtland Cutter. For more than 50 years, the Center has been providing affordable, quality fine arts and crafts programs for children and adults. The programs are designed to foster cognitive, creative and personal growth. Because classes are kept small, participants receive maximum attention from the instructors. Celebrated local artist Tom Quinn frequently teaches drawing and painting classes. Quinn sketches, paints and draws characters, but is best known for his murals. Some of them can be seen at the Spokane International Airport; others in the historic Browne’s Addition. Year-round classes are scheduled through the City of Spokane Parks & Recreation. Additional youth classes are offered when schools are on break. Visit for upcoming classes. For artist information, visit

The Art Coop
The more than 30 classes at this private-home studio in Northwest Spokane are not about painting and drawing. They are, in artist and instructor Lou Carver’s words, “classes for chicks” that are about “goofy stuff.” (Long ago, the now comfortable Art Coop studio was in fact a chicken coop.) Popular classes include fused glass jewelry, silk painting, and mosaic tile and microscope slide jewelry. Most classes are not prescheduled: instead, you round up your friends, pick the craft, date and time, and make a party of it! Carver has an extensive experience in graphic design, and she loves sharing “the knowledge of how to make anything into something and have fun doing it.” For more information, see

Artisans at the Dahmen Barn
This unique artistic gathering place has been cultivating art on the palouse in uniontown since 2006. It’s a non-profit organization that provides studios for 24 resident artists, space for local artists and craftspeople to sell their work and a venue for performances and exhibitions. It also offers classes and workshops for children and adults. Classes in various mediums are taught year round by artists. Go to for information about upcoming classes and events.
The Trellis Marketplace
This collaborative store in the Spokane Valley offers painting workshops for the Annie Sloan Chalk PaintTM product. These evening classes teach the basics of painting furniture, cabinets or frames with chalk paint. For upcoming classes and additional information, see
Tipsy Muse
For those who don’t have the time for a series of classes, consider a one-night stand—an evening of standing in front of an easel. Tipsy Muse events take place onsite, whether they be at your home or  a local business. You gather a group of friends and devote one night to creating art. Each participant begins with a blank canvas. An artist leads students step-by-step through the process of painting the day’s selected picture. Although everyone paints the same picture, every finished work will be different. As the name “Tipsy Muse” suggests, wine is served while you paint. (It can’t hurt, can it?) An evening at Tipsy Muse is a great way to spend time with friends while creating art. For more information or to sign up for a class, visit
A class of your own
Keiko Von Holt is a watercolorist and sumi-e painter who is widely recognized for her fine Japanese art. Sumi-e, or Japanese ink painting, is an art form in which black ink is applied to rice paper or watercolor paper with a brush. Olivia Waterman is a master in a variety of mediums—watercolor, gouache, acrylics, oils and ink on silk fabric. Both artists’ work can be viewed at Avenue West Gallery, on the second floor of the Crescent Building in downtown Spokane. The gallery is artist owned and operated. At any given time, the works of more than 20 artists are on display. www.avenuewestgallery. org contact Holt at, and waterman at Terry lee is a distinguished wildlife artist who specializes in painting and sculpture. With his dynamic style, he is able to capture the animals’ vibrancy and energy. Lee hosts weekly open sessions at his studio in Coeur d’Alene. For upcoming classes, see www. Rhea Giffin is a Coeur d’Alene artist whose medium is paper mâché sculpture. Her creations range in size from six inches to six feet and are often enhanced with her own poetic story writing. Occasionally she teaches workshops, but more often does demonstrations. For upcoming events, see Leslie Cain, pastel landscape artist, conducts workshops in Walla Walla and the Tri-Cities periodically throughout the year. She also provides individual instruction and  conducts workshops outside the area upon request: or 509-525-5391.

art @ work
art @ work is a program of the northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC). A selection of original work by outstanding regional artists is delivered to the homes and workplaces of renters and prospective buyers. Potential buyers are enthusiastic about this try-it-before-you-buy-it approach. The program provides artists with exposure and financial support. 
To participate:
1. Visit the Helen South Gallery in the Cheney Cowles Center at the MAC.                                                                               2. Select pieces of interest to you. Complimentary consultations are available.                                                       3. Art works are rented for a three-month period. They are transported and installed free of charge. 4. At the end of a rental period, selections can be renewed, rotated out, purchased or picked up. If you decide to purchase the art, a portion of the rental fee is applied toward the purchase. For more information on this innovative program, visit

Local Artist Spotlight: Neicy Frey
Neicy Frey has a loyal clientele for her paintings of larger-than-life flowers and her oceanscapes. She draws inspiration from a childhood spent in South India and Malaysia. Frey’s palette typically consists of vibrant colors. Her works contain bold patterns, but also soft silhouettes. Her paintings are inviting, with a dreamlike quality and a modern sensibility. Frey also paints folk-like characters with whimsical expressions. Her talent caught the eye of the managers at her local Trader Joe’s grocery store. She has become their “resident artist”: her murals now adorn the walls, and her witty, colorful signage decorates the aisles and shelves. For more information, visit her Facebook page at www.  Photo credit: Christopher Anderson
By Laurie L. Ross, as published in the 2013 Esstential Guide


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