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New Spokane Library Building Will Feature Artist Studios

Spokane Public Library

Artists are often inspired by their surroundings. Some are lucky enough to work in places that feed their imaginations. Others, though, struggle to find ample space to create their art.

Spokane's public libraries and schools are developing a new building with studios they'll offer for artists to work.


When artists don't have a dedicated studio space, they'll create art anywhere, says Eva Silverstone, arts education specialist at the Spokane Public Library.

“Artists are making their artwork on their dining room tables, their kitchen tables, the floor of their bedroom. And it doesn’t allow them to grow as much as they can.”


To help address that need, the library is partnering with Spokane Public Schools to construct The Hive, a new building located on East Sprague Avenue. When it opens in August, it will have classrooms for teacher training, meeting rooms available to the public, and four dedicated artist studios. Those spaces will be available for free use to a rotating group of Artists-in-Residence.


And while studio space might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a library, Silverstone says it’s an idea that’s gaining traction.


“A lot of libraries have started Artist-in-Residence programs, and part of my research for this was to talk to other libraries around the country. And they’ve usually turned a back office or a meeting room into an Artist-in-Residence space. But that means that the artist can’t use any smelly paints or things like that because it’s not really a room that’s supposed to be an art studio.”

That won’t be the case at The Hive. Each studio will be separately vented to the outside and include amenities like a sink and plywood walls which are made get messy.

The new residency program is open to artists of any discipline or experience level. Teams of artists interested in working collaboratively are also welcome to apply. Silverstone says there’s really only one criteria.

“Basically you just need to be able to be there. We don’t want someone to have someone apply and then not be there. But we just want to hear that people are excited about the space and committed to what they’re going to do in that space.”

In return for the free studio space, artists will also be expected to teach a workshop, give a lecture, or present some other public program related to their work. Applications for artist residencies are open now through June 4th. You can find that application and more information about The Hive at

Chris Maccini previously worked at SPR as Morning Edition host and producing arts and special programming such as The Bookshelf, Poetry Moment, Northwest Arts Review, special features and more.