[SPOKANE, Wash.] Former and current members of Spokane Falls Community College’s Fine Arts Building (#6) gathered at an opening reception for an art gallery exhibition, Poetics of Space, last month. Many of them created original art pieces to celebrate the building, which will be demolished within the next year. Renowned Spokane architect Ron Tan – who helped design Spokane’s City Hall – designed Building 6 in 1967. He was also in attendance at the opening reception to support the exhibition’s artists.
Paintings, sculptures, cascading books and even a braid of hair are currently showcased in the gallery, forming a building legacy. The entryway is festooned with kites that Tan had previously designed.
The exhibition runs from April 25 – May 18 with a closing reception on May 18 from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at the Fine Arts Gallery, located in SFCC’s Building 6. The artwork honors the history of the Fine Arts Building through Tan’s legacy, the artists’ experiences at SFCC or memories of the building.
“How many places can an orange chair move in Building 6,” said Heather Bellarud, who showcases her work, “Corridors,” in the exhibition. “For this piece, I played with the abstraction of the corridors, how we occupy the informal spaces of the building; spaces that are home to plants, wood display cases and lockers and everyone’s favorite orange chairs. Observing how the hallways change to reflect the evolving occupants, they become almost liminal. These transitional spaces are full of tangible reflections of past and present.”
While Bellarud – SFCC’s current visual, performing and applied arts pathway specialist – focused on the building’s corridors, Bradd Skubinna concentrated on the gallery’s corners for his piece, “Corner Drawings,” in order to give the overlooked areas some use.
“For the Poetics of Space installation, I wanted to very directly address the gallery space by working on the wall. In memory of my many years teaching at SFCC and spending time in the gallery,” said Skubinna, an instructor and interim gallery director. “I have been in this gallery so often these past 21 years and thought that the vertical, curved corner spaces needed to be used.”
Some of the artists’ works directly focused on the upcoming demolition of the building and the creation of the new Fine and Applied Arts Building (#32). Instructor Rob McKirdie’s piece, “Residue of Erasure,” uses a drafting table and motorized eraser to erase a chalk drawing of Building 6.
“As in art, the act of erasing leaves a distinctive residue on the ground where the building has rested, and on the institution that it is a part of,” he said. “We will carry some of what was with us to our new building, and with that essence we will celebrate and grow.”
Building 6 is currently one of the last two original SFCC buildings. Construction is currently underway for the new Fine and Applied Arts Building, named Ska-hét (sƛ̓x̣etkw), meaning “fast waters” or “Spokane Falls” in Salish. It’s expected to be open by the start of Fall quarter. The larger, two-story building will house fine arts classes, the art gallery and a photography gallery.
But the Poetics of Space is not just for celebrating the building and people within its walls, it’s also about letting go.
In her write-up for her exhibition piece, “TAPE, a collective,” Gallery Director and Instructor Cozette Phillips – who curated the exhibition – wrote: “Tape is the: what/when/where/why/who of Fine Art Building 6. Like the building and the people within it; recording, repairing, holding on, letting go, leaving traces.”
For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Strategic Communications Manager Rachel Román at Rachel.Roman@ccs.spokane.edu.
CCS provides education and services in a six-county region of Eastern Washington, operates Spokane Falls Community College and Spokane Community College and is the largest provider of Head Start and Early Childhood Education in the region. Each year, nearly 30,000 people – from infants to senior citizens – are provided educational services by CCS.