By Cameron Rasmusson
ArtWalk is back, and this year, it’s bigger than ever.
The good folks at Pend Oreille Arts Council have been hard at work organizing artists, venues and art lovers for the annual ArtWalk, which debuts Friday, June 17, with a host of receptions. According to POAC arts administrator Hannah Combs, this is likely the biggest ArtWalk the organization has undertaken, with 30 local venues hosting work from veteran and newcomer artists alike.
Every year, ArtWalk unifies the local art and business communities by turning banks, coffee shops, restaurants, retail stores and more into art galleries. For the next couple months, art lovers can drop by the businesses to appreciate or purchase the pieces on display. Since not every business is ideally suited to displaying art, POAC staff work with owners to make the most of their space.
“We spend a lot of time making sure venues and artists have everything they need,” Combs said. “We provide sales sheets and gallery tags and everything they need. Since most of our venues are not galleries, we offer training. Venue participants learn how to run a gallery, basically.”
Just as big a process is finding artists with work to fill out those venues. POAC staff put out a call each year for work submissions and reliably get returns from local mainstays in the art community. They also make an effort to highlight work from less-known artists, requesting that people encourage their artistic friends and family to submit work.
This year saw an expansion in the number of participating venues, with businesses like Snow River, Infini Gallery, Whiskey Jack Pottery, 7B Boardshop, U.S. Bank and Azalea Handpicked Style coming on board. Likewise, the interest among artists grew, with more first-time exhibitors applying this year.
“I’m very excited about all the young artists we’ve had apply,” Combs said.
Next Friday, June 17, kicks off this year’s ArtWalk with a bang. The venues (including this here newspaper office) host receptions and welcome visitors to drop by, moving from location to location for a regular local art tour. Check out next week’s Reader for a full list of locations and plan yourself the perfect ArtWalk!