New Land: Art Gallery Moves to Monroe Street Space with Eye on Growth and Future
After nearly eight years, Terrain is moving from the Cracker Building to a new home complete with gallery space, room to grow, and an opportunity to share.
Located at 628 N. Monroe St., across from Cedar Coffee, the new space will empower leaders of the nonprofit to realize their dreams of building “a top-down ecosystem of creativity,” executive director and co -founder Ginger Ewing mentioned.
Starting this process, Ewing said, will be essential for future programming and community engagement, but it is also “essential for the preservation of Spokane’s cultural space as a whole.
“We’ve been sounding the alarm for several years now,” she said. “If we don’t get ahead of the curve and put in place policies that keep spaces accessible and affordable for our social and cultural sectors, Spokane is going to face challenges very similar to those of San Francisco, Seattle and Portlands of the world, where the very people who made these cities a desirable place to live in the first place are being pushed out because the cost of living and working is no longer possible.
As housing prices continue to rise, Ewing and his colleagues at Terrain fear a crisis is imminent.
“On the surface, it might not seem like the gallery move is very closely tied together,” she said. But the greater autonomy and visibility the move provides will help Terrain Gallery and the artists it serves weather the storm.
“(It) fits the idea of taking distinctive buildings in the heart of Spokane and filling them with art and other creative endeavors.
“We strongly believe that there are fair, just and thoughtful ways to drive tourism and economic growth – artists and the arts are key.”
Supporting local creatives of all kinds is at the heart of Terrain’s mission.
“In 2021, Terrain’s programs and events generated $949,286 in art sales and artist payments… 83% of which goes directly back into artists’ pockets,” Ewing said. Add to that the fact that Terrain hasn’t been able to hold its flagship event for two years now, that number is still up 78% from 2019, she said.
“I think because we do these large-scale events that have thousands of attendees, people think we’re a much bigger organization than we really are,” she said. “But we’re still a very small nonprofit.”
The organization consists of two full-time employees and “a handful” of staff who work out of their storefront at River Park Square From Here.
“So these numbers really speak to a lot of excitement and deep love for our creative community here in Spokane,” she said.
Originally scheduled to open on April 8, backlogs of permit applications with the city forced the date to move back. The space will now host a soft opening as part of Terrain’s first Friday reception on May 6, followed by a grand reopening shortly after. Land currently leases the building.
But, Ewing said, they are open to proposals from investors. In addition to greater visibility and greater autonomy, the new building offers workshop space, which will allow Terrain greater freedom of programming.
Terrain will share the building with other local nonprofits, including the Center for Children’s Book Arts, Spokast and the Spokane Workers’ Co-op.
“The building will be filled with like-minded businesses, and we will create synergy and camaraderie between us,” Ewing said.
Ewing is especially looking forward to collaborating with Ashley Reese, owner of the Center for Children’s Book Arts, a 2021 graduate of Terrain’s Creative Enterprise program.
Terrain is currently accepting applications for its Creative Enterprise 2022 cohort, a 12-week professional development program for artists, creators and creative businesses. Applications close May 1. For more information, visit terrainspokane.com/creative-enterprise.
“It’s really exciting to be able to partner with her in space and support her efforts as she launches her new non-profit venture,” Ewing said.
Built in 1904, the building retains its original sheet metal ceiling, listed in the historical register.
“We’re really proud to be able to honor the building’s history while breathing new life into its future, which we’ve done for many spaces we’ve occupied in the past,” Ewing said.