A newcomer’s guide to Moscow Artwalk

click to enlarge The community helped Spokane artist Melissa Cole make this mosaic for the Moscow Public Library. A reception during artwalk will mark its creation. - PHOTO/GEOFF CRIMMINS
Photo/Geoff Crimmins
The community helped Spokane artist Melissa Cole make this mosaic for the Moscow Public Library. A reception during artwalk will mark its creation.

By Tara Roberts

For Inland 360

If you love any of the things that people tend to love about Moscow, you’ll love Artwalk. It’s got the bustling energy of the Moscow Farmers Market, with less watercress and more watercolors. It’s a showcase of local artistic talent, like you’ll find on the Renaissance Fair stage or at a reading at BookPeople. It pulls together multiple corners of the community, like lunchtime at the co-op or a sunny afternoon in Friendship Square.

But it’s also a lot of activity crammed into a few short blocks and hours. If this is your first time navigating the colorful chaos, here’s a quick guide to a successful visit to Artwalk 2018 on Friday, June 15:

Strategize before the big day. Many artwalk exhibits will be up for weeks, so you don’t need to see them all on the big day. Use the handy artwalk guide available online and at the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and participating businesses to identify exhibits and special features, as well as artists or media that pique your interest. (There’s also no shame in targeting places that might have extra good snacks.) It’s fun to just wander and enjoy, but you’re on a tight timeline or have other constraints -- like kiddos in tow -- map out a plan for the evening so you don’t miss anything.

Go early. Much of the fun begins at 3 p.m. If you’ve got a flexible schedule, head downtown before the after-work crowds come out in force. If you must come with those crowds, consider it an opportunity to cultivate the art of patience and meet new friends while waiting in line.

Park and walk. If you’re able to, walk from home or park on the outskirts of downtown. You’ll get a little exercise, avoid traffic and save the primo parking spaces for folks who need them most.

Don’t miss out-of-the-way stops. Artwalk doesn’t just happen downtown. Whether on event day or later, be sure to check out exhibits scattered across town at places like Aspen Park nursing facility, the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute and Alpine Vision Center in the Palouse Mall.

Talk to the artists. Many artists hang out at their exhibit locations during the event, so be sure to say hi and give a quick word of appreciation, or ask them about their work if time allows. Remember that artwalk is the first public exhibit for some artists, so they’ll be exhilarated to hear how their art surprised or moved you. More experienced artists are full of good stories, too.

Take note of work you love. See a photo that fills you with joy? Can’t stop examining a fascinating painting? Love the groove of a musical act? Write down the artist’s name, snag a business card or web address, and consider purchasing a print or CD. Supporting local artists keeps the spirit of artwalk alive all year round.

Tara Roberts is a writer and mom who lives in Moscow. Her favorite Artwalk exhibitor is her grandpa, watercolor and scratchboard artist Robert Karr.

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