Spokane’s contemporary art scene is as solid as ever, with events such as the city’s popular First Fridays contributing to the growth and evolution of both galleries and artists. From excellent museum-quality collections to cutting-edge photography, here are the best galleries to visit for lovers of modern and contemporary art in Spokane, Washington.
Owned by photographer Joe Nuess, Brick Wall Photographic Gallery is an art gallery that specialises in photography, from landscapes to abstract, from colour to black and white. With both American and international artists’ work displayed, every month a different photographer is showcased at the gallery’s physical location and online, while its online gallery also displays the works of all previous exhibited photographers. Recent shows included the abstract and surrealist photos of Jen Mitsuko and the hauntingly beautiful black and white photography of Cole Thompson. Other photographers who have exhibited their work include Jason Langer and Moises Levy.
Dale Chihuly, Gonzaga University Red Chandelier, 1995, Glass, 216 x 72 inches, Jundt Art Museum, Gonzaga University; Gift of Jim and Joann Jundt & Duff and Dorothy Kennedy | Courtesy of Gallery
The Saranac Art Projects is a non-profit organisation created to showcase contemporary art and educate the community about creativity and culture. Local and regional artists and curators come together in this artist cooperative to explore new trends and ideas on contemporary art while sharing them with the public through exhibitions, artists’ talks, critiques, and demonstrations. New exhibits, which usually showcase two artists simultaneously, open on the first Friday every month to coincide with Spokane’s arts and culture event, the eponymous First Friday. Current and past artists who were part of this organisation include Katie Creyts, Mariah Boyle, and Garric Simonsen.
The Jundt Art Museum is an academic museum and part of Gonzaga University. The permanent collection covers a wide range of genres and artists, including the impressive Old Master prints by Rembrandt and Piranesi; contemporary artists represented include Andy Warhol and Dale Chihuly whose stunning masterpiece, ‘Gonzaga University Red Chandelier’, hangs proudly in the museum’s Chancellor’s Room. Throughout the year, the museum hosts multiple exhibitions that consist of travelling exhibitions, shows curated from the university’s art collection, and student works. Recent exhibits included works by the legendary American photographer Ansel Adams and a student-curated show featuring the museum’s recent acquisitions.
Pottery Place Plus is an artist cooperative, which was established in 1978 by a group of creatives wanting to find a way to promote and sell their works. Located in the historic Liberty Building, an eclectic mix of arts and crafts is represented, including pottery, glass, and jewellery. Artists who display their work at Pottery Place Plus include Kristy McCoy, a potter strongly influenced by her travels across the world, Colleen Lake, who specialises in stained glass and glass fusion, and Anthony Gallaher, who makes jewellery out of reclaimed metal. Pottery Place Plus also exhibits guest artists every month beginning on the first Friday.
Established in 2003, Avenue West Gallery is another cooperative gallery where local and regional artists promote and sell their art. At any given time there are approximately 20 artists showcasing a diverse mix of art of varying media from pottery to fine art, wire sculpture to photography; with these, and many other art forms, visitors will certainly find something of interest. As with other galleries in Spokane, they also participate in First Friday each month by showcasing an artist part of the organisation, or a guest artist. Past exhibitions included artworks by painter Adam Henawy, a refugee from Darfur, and photographs by Bowen Parker who focuses on landscape and macro photography.
The recently re-opened Bozzi Gallery, previously known as the Bozzi Collection, is located in the Old City Hall building and showcases works by local and regional artists who are emerging or established in their careers. Past exhibited artists include Ildikó Kalapács whose works are influenced by American and Hungarian cultures, and Melissa Cole whose paintings are inspired by the colours she finds while snorkelling. Future shows will include the works of Stephen A. Scroggins who works with a variety of materials. Bozzi Gallery is also a participant in First Fridays.
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The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, also known as the MAC, is an AAM accredited and Smithsonian Affiliate institution that celebrates and showcases the history and art of the region, the culture of American Indians and contemporary creativity. With an expansive permanent collection that includes textiles, paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture to name but a few, the MAC hosts rotating and long-term exhibitions plus travelling exhibits in its five galleries. Eager to expand its contemporary fine art collection, the museum has made several new acquisitions, including works by Doug Safranek and Kristen Capp. There is also an installation by Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz.
The Chase Gallery is located in the Spokane City Hall. Showcasing local and regional artists who specialise in contemporary and traditional works, this space is actually a community exhibition area run by the Spokane Arts Commission. Featuring paintings, photographs, sculpture, and other mediums, they host several group or two-person exhibitions each year. Past shows included Birds in Art, which explored birds in a variety of artistic media and Drawing, which focused on drawing and its lines, strokes, and gestures. Chase Gallery has a permanent collection as well, with select pieces displayed throughout City Hall.
Located in an historic warehouse building, Trackside Studio Ceramic Art Gallery was founded in 2006 and exhibits the work of potters and ceramic artists Chris Kelsey, Mark Moore, and Gina Freuen. As the name suggests, Trackside is both a studio where Kelsey and Moore create their artworks and a beautiful gallery space. They have new exhibits every month, during First Fridays, to showcase their ceramics whether sculptural art objects or functional pottery. Local and regional artists drop by several times a year to exhibit their ceramics here, attesting to the gallery’s open-minded and welcoming approach to art. Such artists include Terry Gieber, Mardis Nenno, and Deborah Schwartzkopf.