Support Spokane Arts’ work to foster creativity & culture in our region for years to come by donating today! Your gift of any amount helps us continue impactful programs, public art projects, and direct granting to artists, arts organizations, & creative businesses! Learn more about all the ways to support here!

Grantee: The Smokes

Project Title: Songwriting Workshops
Year awarded: 2022, Round 2

The Smokes are a two-piece afropunk band from Spokane formed by cousins Himes
Alexander and Matt Slater. Himes Alexander holds a degree in Jazz vocal performance
and Matt Slater has over 20 years of teaching experience. As a band, The Smokes have
been active in promoting the arts in various community organizations such as Crosswalk
Homeless Shelter, MLK-East Central Community Center, Spark Central, Spokane Public
Schools, KYRS, and KSPS. Their performances bring diverse artists and people together to
enjoy music, community, and self-expression.

With SAGA support, Alexander and Slater will hold youth songwriting workshops, kicked
off by a performance by The Smokes. After a performance, the band provides an
explanation of their songwriting process and a workshop focused on improvisation and
incorporating personal experiences into art. By creating a safe space, The Smokes will
facilitate an opportunity for participants to create without judgment and to share ideas
organically. Guided by Alexander and Slater, participants will write and record their own

“We look at our shows as less of a performance and more an exchange of energy
between artist and audience. A performance is created by the artist and audience
together. Through this perspective we want to make music itself as accessible and safe
as possible for everyone,” writes Slater.