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New Community-wide Partnership Announced to Promote the Arts in Spokane

Release Date: 10/22/2012 12:10:00 PM

CONTACT: Brooke Kiener, Spokane Arts Commission,, or 509.777.4657

Recognizing the importance of the arts throughout our community, a new partnership was launched today that will sustain and grow promotion and support for arts throughout Spokane County.

Under the new structure, which will replace the City of Spokane’s Arts Department, the City will join Downtown Spokane Partnership, the Public Facilities District and Visit Spokane to pool resources for promotion, leadership and planning for the arts in the community.

The Spokane Arts Fund, a current non-profit organization, will be the governance body of the new partnership, with representatives on its board from all five funding agencies. The Arts Fund will determine if staff is hired, what other grants and funding sources are leveraged, and what programs they will offer. Additionally, the Spokane Arts Commission will serve as a public advisor on the arts.

Brooke Kiener, of the Spokane Arts Fund Board, says, “We are very excited to see this new partnership come together with so many different organizations taking a leadership role in the arts. We believe we can sustain our arts efforts and grow them over time.”

The new partnership is set for three years and will be supported through contracts ratified by the various partners.

The preliminary verbal agreement with the current partners will bring funding and in-kind support for Arts to more than $160,000 for 2013. The City will contribute $100,000 in the first year with decrease in funding over the next two years, bringing the annual contribution down to $60,000 in the third year. The City of Spokane budgeted nearly $155,000 for its Arts Department in 2012.

The structure is designed to allow the Spokane Arts Fund to stabilize and expand funding options over the next several years. Karen Mobley, the City Arts Director, will work with the Arts Fund through the transition as interim executive director, on a contract basis.

Spokane Mayor David Condon and Council President Stuckart thank Ms. Mobley for her leadership and dedication to the arts in Spokane over the last 15 years. “Karen has made an impact on Spokane and her contribution will not be forgotten,” the Mayor says. Ms. Mobley’s last day with the City was Oct. 17.

What the partners are saying about the new plan and importance of the arts in Spokane?

City of Spokane
“Today, we have built a broader base of support for the arts for the future of our community. The City of Spokane has long been a major supporter of the arts and will continue to do so, just not in City Hall.”
--Spokane Mayor David Condon

“I am excited to find a way to support this critical part of the fabric of Spokane. We know how important it is to visitors and residents as well. I thank the partners for their willingness to step up and invest, along with the city.”
--Spokane Council President Ben Stuckart, author and leader of the partnership solution

Downtown Spokane Partnership
“The arts – both performing and visual – are an important economic catalyst for our region and its urban core. This partnership ensures they remain a priority in our community and an important element as the pulse of our city. According to the City-adopted Downtown Plan Update, "Downtowns are traditionally the cultural centers of cities, bringing people together for a 'night on the town.'” The Downtown Spokane Business Improvement District partners with the arts and retailers on a monthly basis to provide the First Friday art walk promotion. We are excited to not only continue this popular event in collaboration with this new partnership, but also expand our promotional ability of the arts for the entire community.”
--Marla Nunberg, Acting President

Spokane Arts Commission
“Spokane has a strong and vibrant arts community, and the Spokane Arts Commission has been proud to support and help build the infrastructure, programs, businesses, and partnerships, that provide high quality and accessible arts experiences for our citizens. And we will continue to do so as long as the citizens of Spokane continue to voice their support for the arts. We know that the arts make Spokane a premium place to live and to visit. “
--Brooke Kiener, Chair

Spokane Public Facilities District
“The Spokane Public Facilities District Board supports the arts and in particular the growing art collection in the Spokane Convention Center. The District has committed to 4 major pieces, with two already installed, and plans to add more to the facility during the current expansion project. The District relies on the Spokane Arts Fund staff for their expertise and experience with commissioning art for the Convention Center and recognizes the value of this expertise. “
--Kevin Twohig, Executive Director

“Art gives definition to the personality of our community and help us demonstrate that Spokane is a special place that welcomes visitors. This new partnership will enable us to expand arts programming and attract more visitors to our region. We are excited to be part of this exciting endeavor.”
--Cheryl Kilday, President

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