Nominations for the 2020 Arts Awards are open now! Recognize the amazing accomplishments of creatives, arts and cultural organizations, and local individuals committed to enriching our community through the arts by submitting your nominations for each of the four awards categories: Leadership, Collaboration, Imagination and Inclusion. Submit your nominations here and save the date the 2020 Spokane Arts Awards on Saturday, September 26!

Grantee: Dr. Shawn Brigman

Project Title: Salishan Sturgeon Nose Canoes
Year awarded: 2017, Round 1

Dr. Shawn Brigman is an enrolled member of the Spokane Tribe of Indians and descendant of regional Salish bands (San Poil, Arrow Lakes, and Shuswap). “As a traditional artisan for 12 plus years, and descendant of regional Salish bands (San Poil, Arrow Lakes, and Shuswap), my creative practice has been one of project based ancestral recovery efforts in Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Southern British Columbia, exploring and transforming the way people read Plateau architectural space by celebrating the physical revival of ancestral Plateau art and architectural heritage.”

Shawn has crafted a full-scale sturgeon nose canoe unique to the interior Plateau Salish peoples in Eastern Washington State, while exploring contemporary construction tools, methods, and techniques. He envisioned that this traditional work could contribute to the recovery of lost arts of the Spokane Indians by expressing a shared heritage in patterns of construction of ancestral canoe heritage in the northern Plateau culture area.


SAGA support helped Dr. Brigman secure materials, space, and other support needed to complete his project. His work took over 200 hours. The completed sturgeon nose canoe was presented, displayed, and paddled on the Spokane River with the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club. The canoe participated in a Richmond Art Collective exhibition, and participated in other opportunities that arise such as youth programming, and college/university educational settings in the summer and fall of 2017. The canoe can be used as a physical marketing tool for future commissions of sturgeon nose canoe construction.

View the Project