November 22, 2009


Spokane is tumbling. It seems as if all at once things got shook up and jarred loose...and how perfect is it that the snow has followed?What do artists James Pants and Kaylee Cole, the Lorinda Knight Gallery, and the Empyrean Coffee House have in common? A fork (in their path).

Have you ever been underwater while someone is shouting at you? The racket is unmistakable yet the message fails to be comprehended. With all the buzz around town I managed to miss both the James Pants and Kaylee Cole farewell shows. Spokane has lost two noteworthy young performers.

Spokane knows the Lorinda Knight Gallery as the most prestigious (hoity-toity) gallery around. Our only "Big City" (not that Spokane isn't) gallery. As an artist when you signed on with Lorinda Knight that meant that all other Spokane galleries were out, you were in contract and could only show there. This is where all of our "Professional Artists" from this area showed. It was also the place to go and see the amazing talent brought in from outside our area. One problem...Lorinda is retiring and there is a bit of an upset with the art community.
The Empyrean, this might be the best of my Spokane Snow Globe news. The Empyrean will be relocating. After a horrible landlord, sprinkler laws threatening their demise, and countless other obstacles the beloved Empyrean will be moving seven blocks East on Washington and Second in the newly coined SoDo district. The former Big Dipper will now become the Empyrean concert Venue.

I have lived in Spokane for 7 years now. In this past year I have met more people than the other 6 that I have been here. Spokane arts and music are organizing and starting to come together. The Empyrean and Neato/Baby Bar are the downtown concert spots for emerging artists. Not only do they have monthly art shows, but have local artists do their concert posters. Riverspeak is a brand new arts collective that has been started. It's an outlet for artists, musicians, and writers to work together (there is a meeting on Tues if anyone is interested). Here is an example from a couple weeks ago of a perfectly executed idea....Mariah of the Spovangelist writes a post about street fashion and the need for its documentation to fight the stereotype of an unfashionable Spokane. Tyson Habein of SPOKE(a)n(e) Magazine and Yellow House Photography reads and immediately posts a link to it on Facebook. Then Riverspeak takes it one step further making it into a call for submissions to photographers for an online art show. The deadline is Wednesday if you would still like to participate.

Where does this leave us? Is it half empty or full? I say the second. With The Pants and Kaylee moving away it will be nice to have them out there spreading love for Spokane and defending us from the bigger cities. I'm not sure what James is up to, but Kaylee Cole is off recording in Cali with her favorite producer (of all times!) and doing wonderfully new and exciting things. There is no doubt that when they return to play here we will be patiently waiting to accept them with open arms. Speaking of which Kaylee will be back in town next week and I had the honor of making the poster: (notice the states)As for Lorinda Knight it was a wonderful gallery and an asset to our community. I wish her the best in retirement. I am hoping that this may force our more conservative professional artists into less traditional settings. This situation seems to add to the void of serious venues, but hope is not lost. Hell, this is inspiring and creative in your solutions...(enjoy it)! Good news is, there are dreams out there. A certain active member of our community has lofty, yet completely attainable, goals for a new type of gallery/venue in Spokane. That sounds like a cryptic message, but I guess we just need to remember that with this slot opening it is our turn as artists to support those who usually provide shelter for our works. Again cryptic - sorry. It would be a shame not to mention that there has also been some talk of a Phantom Gallery project for next year. I don't have nearly enough information on this to do it justice - so that is an entirely different post to come.

The Empyrean, as a concert venue, will be in a fun new space with a full kitchen and pizza ovens...I don't even need to say more (but I will). Help us support Chrissy and Michelle as they undertake this enormous task of relocating. I am excited to say I will get to be the first artist to show in their new space!...IN JANUARY - eek- I have a lot of work to do.

Things in Spokane have been shaken, but we in no means are lacking. If you still don't believe me hop over to Riverspeaks blog and read Brook's post (I just found) - a sister to mine (but maybe a little more inspirational!!!) lol - take that Spokane.

p.s. Brook included the Phantom Gallery info that I was lacking...go check it out.


Sara said...

That'll probably be a great use of the Big Dipper space. Glad to know that the Empyrean is able to come up with a solution to the annoying sprinkler law problem.

Sara said...

(And thanks for the magazine shout-out!:)

Tiffany said...

I agree!

And, no guys are doing great things!

darallison said...

Glad to hear the Empyrean is relocating. It is a bummer about Lorinda Knight and yes there does seem like a big black hole in the city of Spokane. Hopefully someone will take Lorinda's space, because it's such a beautiful space and it would be almost disgusting if another bar sprung up in there. There's always the snooty Sarnac.

Anonymous said...

The wonderful thing about black holes is their famous density. I support a more artistically dense Spokane.

We'll all come through this with a clearer view.