Multimedia show to feature work of young local artists

An empty building houses scattered pieces of artwork waiting to be hung, as Whitworth alumna and Co-founder of Terrain Ginger Ewing gives a tour of what will become an art show this weekend. Large spaces remain empty, awaiting installation pieces. Other spaces have undergone the beginning phases of preparation for performance pieces, such as poetry readings and theatrical performances. The sixth annual Terrain event, an art show aimed at giving exposure to emerging artists and musicians, will take place Oct. 4. Terrain will include 210 works, 103 artists, 10 films and 10 bands.

“For two generations, there’s been this idea that you had to leave Spokane to find success, and we wanted to change that,” Ewing said. “The easiest thing to do is to complain about the place you live in or leave it, and we want to do something about it instead. We are not Seattle, and we aren’t Portland. We want to celebrate the fact that we are Spokane, and there’s something unique and wonderful in that.”

The one-night event showcases emerging artists and musicians who, for the most part, have never shown in a gallery before. It has a broad base because the event does not discriminate between high and low art, such as classical paintings and graffiti, Co-founder Luke Baumgarten said. They accept a wide range of art, from performance pieces and short films to interactive art, sculptures and live music.

Slam signatures — interactive art pieces that create visual vocal fingerprints — are one of the key features of the show this year, Baumgarten said. They are the subjects of much anticipation. Slam signatures visually represent what happens vocally, appearing like sheet music, wrapping around the room. Mirrors that project spinning lasers onto three of the four surrounding walls create each individual slam signature. Most slam signatures will be created live, but a few have been preserved on display boards, Baumgarten said.

An empty corner of the third floor will be transformed into Literature Park. All of the poetry readings and a few of the theater pieces take place in Literature Park, now in its third year as a part of Terrain. Real sod will cover the wood floor, and live trees will be brought in to add to the park-like atmosphere. Two swings hang from the ceiling at what will be the edge of Literature Park and also contribute to the outdoor park setting.

Jacquelyn Wheeler, a 2012 Whitworth graduate, will be showing some of her pieces at Terrain. Having only shown  previously at The Roberts Mansion and Canon Coffee and Cone, Wheeler is exactly the type of artist that Terrain promotes.

“I went to it a couple years ago, and then kind of forgot about it,” Wheeler said. “I was hanging art at Cannon Coffee and Cone and the guy working said that I should submit to Terrain.”

She painted two of her pieces in a Whitworth art class. Terrain accepted three of her paintings.

“They’re called ‘Breakthrough’, ‘Act Like You Love Me’, and ‘The Next Chapter,’” Wheeler said. “There are two portraits and one of a hand that is a bit more impressionistic.”

Last year, 5,000 people attended Terrain, leaving standing room only on three levels. The co-founders each said they hope for an equal or better turn out this year. Terrain opens at the Music City Building at 1011 First Ave. from 5 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. A section of First Ave. will be closed for mobile food and vintage clothing vendors to set up shop.

More than just an event, Terrain also functions as a nonprofit. Even as they pull together the annual event, the co-founders have plans for the future of the nonprofit of Terrain.

“We’re starting a new event in the spring of 2014,” Baumgarten said.

The new project will focus on giving the arts community at large more structure and greater sustainability, Ewing said.

If Terrain were in another city, it would be a different story, but Spokane has enough of an arts culture established that it supports the arts while still being moldable, she said.

Alyssa Brooks Staff Writer

Contact Alyssa Brooks at