As coronavirus restrictions continue, more and more organizations are getting used to moving events online. This Friday, July 31st, Terrain, the nonprofit arts organization in Spokane, is hosting a virtual gallery show titled, “Express Yourself.” The live event is the culmination of a month-long project to showcase the work of artists of color in the Inland Northwest.
Carl Richardson is a Terrain board member and one of several artists taking part in the event.
“Within the mission for Terrain is to advocate for artists. So we were brainstorming an idea of how to do that a while back. And then with the murder of George Floyd, it shifited and became, how do we advocate for artists of color in Spokane and give them an outlet to say whatever it is they want to say in this moment?”
During the month of July, Terrain opened up its gallery space in the Washington Cracker Company building in downtown Spokane to one artist at a time. Artists could use the space as their personal studio, creating whatever piece of art they chose.
“We as an organization thought it was important for us to give them that platform, and people responded really well. The artists were all on board with saying yes, I want to come into the space. I want to speak my peace, or create my piece, to show people how I’m feeling in this moment.”
Terrain has been hosting regular live-stream videos via its Instagram page, allowing artists to showcase their works in progress as the Express Yourself project unfolded. This Friday, from 6 - 9 p.m. will be a final virtual gallery exhibition, featuring all the participating artists and performers. Artists will be in separate rooms, or spaced apart for social distancing, but the idea will be to give viewers the experience of a traditional live event during the video broadcast..
“So it’s almost like if you were in the space and you were walking from one thing to the other You might check out a set from Jango and then go in and see what the poet is doing and then check out the live art. So all of those things will be happening throughout the course of the night.”
Even though hosting live events in the midst of a pandemic and continuing social upheaval over racism and police brutality brings unique challenges, Richardson says events like Express Yourself are more important now than ever.
“Art is a way of dealing and processing emotions and feelings. I know a lot of visual artists tend to work better with their hands than with their words. So getting their thoughts out on paper or through dance or through songwriting or through poetry is a way of letting people know how they’re feeling. And I think it’s important for artists to have that outlet.”
Artists and performers will include: Kung Fu Vinyl, Carl Richardson, Darrin Mack, Hallie Heil, Shantell Jackson, Tom Tarpley, and Jango