Deer Park Artists Eligible for Spokane Arts Grant Awards

Deer Park artists and arts organizations are eligible for the 3rd round of the Spokane Arts Grant Awards (SAGA), which has a due date of October 1st. Melissa Huggins, the Executive Director of Spokane Arts, a nonprofit that manages the annual grant program, said any artist or arts organization located within 40 miles of Spokane is eligible to apply. 

Grant Seminars Available Online

“Our grants administrator has previously held at least one grant seminar for SAGA in Deer Park,” Huggins said, “but now because of covid, she’s doing them online. Anyone who wants to schedule a seminar to understand more about how to apply for a SAGA grant can email her at [email protected] to set one up!”

Spokane Arts just awarded $67,200 in grant funding to 12 arts organizations and individual artists through the Spokane Arts Grant Awards, which is offered 3 times per year. These grantees were competitively chosen out of a pool of 32 applicants from Spokane and surrounding areas for art projects in glass, music, professional development, murals, writing, publishing, and culture.

“SAGA is friendly to first-time grant writers,” said Shelly Wynecoop, the Grants Administrator for Spokane Arts. “I work with applicants at whatever level benefits their development most. Applicants can request information about how their proposal did in panel and get specific and contextualized information about how their work placed and what issues may have kept them from receiving funding.”

Pandemic Challenging Deer Park Arts

With an award of up to $10,000, a grant from Spokane Arts may offer the arts in Deer Park a breath of life. 

Like many other arts organizations in the region, the pandemic has been especially hard on the Renner Education and Art Development (READ) Center, a Deer Park nonprofit led by volunteers who offer art classes to students after school, and tutoring for adults trying to get their GED.

Susan Peterson, the Executive Director of the READ Center, started the nonprofit in 2018 with plans to build a program modeled after Create, an art center in Pend Oreille County, where she lived before coming to Deer Park. Like Create, the READ Center aims to foster creativity and an appreciation for the arts.

STEAM Camps in Deer Park

Peterson and Bob Renner, who teaches the GED classes, were planning a summer camp for kids in Deer Park this year. Over the course of several days, they would take each student through the five parts of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics), a project-based approach to learning.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, they have had to continually postpone the camp, which is now scheduled for October. “We’re going to get things in place for a waiver and do a one-on-one thing,” Peterson said. “We are going to do some water coloring classes and jewelry classes, but they’re all going to have to be one-on-one.” 

Peterson used to teach weaving at Spokane Falls Community College. While she still teaches most of the art classes at the READ Center, such as weaving and watercolor, she also pays artists to teach classes.

“I teach a lot of weaving, braiding, spinning, and all that,” she said. “We’ve also taught pottery, sculpture, visual arts, and we’d really like to have a drama club.”

Adjusting to the Pandemic

One of the biggest challenges they face right now is shifting from a 12-person class to one-on-one. “It costs a lot more to run classes one-on-one than [if] it is a group,” Peterson said. “Take pottery classes, for example. You have to hire the artist more hours, you have to run the kiln more hours, and you have to keep the center open more hours.” 

With more funding, she could do more one-on-one classes. “A grant would give us the ability to buy more supplies and bring in more artists for classes,” Peterson said. “For the watercolor classes, I like to send kids home with the brushes.”

Advocating for the Creative Economy

Individual artists and arts organizations in Deer Park may also be eligible for funding from Spokane County through the CARES Act.

“We are hopeful that Spokane County will allocate some of their CARES Act dollars toward arts businesses/nonprofits and individual artists who’ve lost work due to the pandemic,” Melissa Huggins said. “If there are artists in Deer Park who are in need of relief, I’d encourage them to write an email to their Spokane County Commissioners, requesting they allocate CARES Act dollars toward supporting the creative economy, which has been devastated by pandemic shutdowns.”

You can find more information about Spokane Arts:

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