From Here: Grand Opening Party June 12, 4-8:30 | Local goods from Spokane artists & makers!
From the mall corridor, I slip behind a drop cloth and into the cavernous construction site that is soon to be From Here. Jackie Caro is in a back corner, expertly scraping a grooved trowel through tile adhesive on a wall, then popping square white tiles in place. Ginger Ewing walks over from another corner, where she is envisioning massive pedestals of merchandise. It’s just weeks until the From Here Grand Opening on June 12, 2019, and these two, who make up the staff of Spokane arts organizing nonprofit Terrain, are deep in the remodeling weeds.
“It is totally exhilarating, entirely overwhelming, and exhausting at the same time,” Ewing says. “In all honesty, this is a massive undertaking for an organization our size, so that brings about a roller coaster of emotions. But when you realize the impact for the artists who will be represented here, for the community, and for Terrain, all those emotions really just lead to excitement.”
From Here is not exactly brand new; it’s The Pop Up Shop expanded (sevenfold!), rebranded, and relocated, finding its home in Spokane’s major downtown shopping destination: River Park Square. Now, Terrain’s collective of some of the city’s most loved artists and makers will be selling their handmade goods next door to national retailers, and showcasing their work in a space with massively enhanced foot traffic… to the tune of 3.4 million walk-bys per year.
This larger, more prominent space, on the 2nd floor next to Urban Outfitters, will level up the city’s awareness of local creatives who make uncommon, cool stuff — from fine art to jewelry to wall hangings to leather goods to terrariums to clothing… the list goes on.
Terrain has always been slightly underground and countercultural, drawing together eclectic creative communities in Spokane, so Ewing and Caro were a bit apprehensive when the opportunity came up to have a place in a “mall."
“But it’s funny, we were actually the only ones who had that worry,” Caro remembers. “When we presented it to all the Pop Up Shop makers [and the expanded roster], they were all fully on board, because of the growth opportunity. We all want to make a living, and exposure leads to connecting with more people in our city. Plus — River Park Square is at the center of our city, so it feels different and plays a different role than a typical mall.”
Ewing adds, “There’s this narrative we need to get rid of, that if you’re a local artist, you have to be small, and fledgling, and struggling. Being in this space allows our already successful artists and makers to make an even better living, and often it’s by their choice that they participate. Many of them are already absolutely slaying it online with their sales. They don’t have to be here. But being here is participating in the ecosystem of this local, creative economy we are building.”
One way they participate is by working shifts in the store. Like at the Pop Up Shop, there’s a chance your purchase will be rung up by the person who made it, offering a unique interaction between artist and patron.
A major change will be the ability to use more space for displaying and selling original artwork of all sizes and price points. Of course, From Here will continue Terrain’s mission of offering ways for everyone to feel that they can buy local art (prints, small items, etc.). But expanded space means that a massive gallery wall is ready to display and sell originals, and even giant three-dimensional pieces can be part of the mix because there is room to store them.
Other uses of the space will include makers sharing their craft in the form of classes and workshops, and a rotating rentable area for outside creative entrepreneurs to try selling their goods at From Here for a short term.
Walking through the space with Caro and Ewing and hearing them dream and envision (as they are covered in construction adhesive), it’s clear that this place is far more than a new brand moving into an old Eddie Bauer to give it a go. Whether you’re from Spokane or not, when you enter From Here, you’re entering into an unfolding story of how a city continues to connect to its arts community. It’s a story worth joining.
Get yourself down to the From Here Grand Opening Party June 12: “DJ • DRINKS • DREAMY LOCALLY MADE GOODS • YOU” Learn more
Black & White Photography by Rajah Bose