Spokane’s annual Get Lit! literary festival can be seen in a whole new way this year. Skilled artists have adapted two novels into multi-dimensional installations downtown. Walking up to one of the displays, you'll hear the sound of Sharma Sheild’s book ‘The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac’. Or, at least, how artists Kate Vita and Richard Vander Wende interpreted the sound of the novel.
This year Get Lit! collaborated with a program called Window Dressings, which takes over empty storefronts and fills them with short term exhibits. Ginger Ewing runs that program.
Ewing: “I think the festival tries to think outside the box quite often in terms of community partnerships, and we really wanted to be able to find a way to honor novelists, authors and also, at the same time, honor artists.”
Ewing organized two literary-inspired art displays in downtown Spokane. One is by artist Chelsea Hendrickson, based on Benjamin Percy’s book ‘The Dead Lands’. The second, which you’re hearing now, is by married artists Vita and Vander Wende.
Richard Vander Wende: “What we really wanted to do was bring an actual forest into the window. That was not exactly practical, so we then thought well maybe we could abstract that forest and still have this sort of dimentionality to it.”
The instillation has an antique chair and table in the middle, surrounded by a maze of dead, grey wood on the floor and walls. Vita says they didn’t want to make too literal a reference to the book.
Vita: “We wanted something that worked on a lot of levels. It should evoke destruction, power of nature, without being super specific.”
They reference the forest, destruction, and also Mount Saint Helens which is an element in ‘The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac’. Ewing pointed out the colors to me.
Ewing: “They actually got a vile of Mt Saint Helens ash and had it color matched to the paint they use, which is just incredible to me, I love that…”
You can see the instillation now at the corner of Main and Wall Street. Chelsea Hendrickson’s work is at a shop inside River Park Square. On April 20th Sharma Shields will read from her book sitting in the store window, following a reading at the Benjamin Percy display.
Copyright 2015 Spokane Public Radio