Spokane Arts is thrilled to welcome four new advisory board members, who were recently appointed to the City of Spokane Arts Commission. Each volunteer arts commissioner will serve a three-year term on the board, advising both the city of Spokane and Spokane Arts on arts, culture, and creativity. They serve in a variety of ways, volunteering hundreds of hours each year. We are so lucky to work alongside them, and delighted to welcome them aboard! Without further ado, we’re glad to introduce, in alphabetical order:
Kelly Baker is a Spokane native who got her undergraduate degree in California and has worked in NYC, Washington DC, and CA in commercial photography and publishing, art museum licensing rights, portrait photography, prop styling and production. Now back in the Pacific Northwest with her own family, she was lucky enough to help Spokane’s Terrain organization start and open the Pop Up Shop (now From Here), getting to know the creative community and the exciting growth happening in Spokane. She’s now brand manager for a local e-commerce company and is watching her two boys begin to leave the nest.
Michael Bethely: A Spokane native, Michael is passionate about serving and creating opportunities to inspire, encourage, and motivate people to BE. Along with running his company, Bethely Entertainment, he is also the Co-Chair of the Inland Northwest Juneteenth Coalition; Board Member of Operation Healthy Family and SkyTree Recording Studios; Owner of the Lilac City Legends; and a producer for Community-Minded TV. He’s a Public Speaker, Lyricist, Poet, Entrepreneur, Businessman, Youth Mentor, Catalyst, Community Builder and Community Advocate.
Dylan Le: “I’m a local Spokane documentary photographer who covers artists as one of my many topics, and would love to make a difference in recognizing and advancing the growth of our art community through all possible means.”
Audrey Overstreet is a freelance writer, poet, and playwright who has contributed stories about the local arts scene for The Spokesman-Review for the past 5 years, earning her a Spokane Arts Inclusion Award nomination in 2020. Prior to that, she served as Marketing Director for the Spokane Symphony and Fox Theater, with an emphasis on elevating our local musicians within the community and instilling the love of classical music among young people. As an arts lover and activist, Audrey has volunteered at her three children’s public schools and for several area nonprofits. She currently serves as Board VP of Stage Left, Spokane’s premier progressive nonprofit theater. She has also taught girls to swing guitars at Girls’ Rock Lab, poured wine for poetry readings at Spark Central, and entertained on stage at Civic Theater.
She believes whole-heartedly in the power of the arts to lift communities and to transform lives. “Creativity sows the seeds we need to grow a vibrant future. The arts are essential and necessary to keep our city an attractive place to live, our schools a fun place to learn, and our creative people inspired to innovate.”
What is the arts commission?
The arts commission is an official city advisory board, meaning volunteers apply directly to the City of Spokane, and their appointments must be confirmed by both the mayor and the city council. They navigate an intense application process that involves interviews with current arts commissioners, an interview with the mayor, and an interview with city council. Once appointed, commissioners serve a three-year term, after which they can request to be reappointed. Commissioners are limited to two terms of service.
The arts commission is unique in that it serves as an advisory board to both the City of Spokane and Spokane Arts (a nonprofit organization that is the designated Local Arts Agency [LAA] for the city.) The arts commission meetings are public, and agendas/meeting information is posted on the city’s website along with all other city boards/commissions.
Members of the arts commission volunteer hundreds of hours every year to bolster arts and culture in our city and region, and they serve in many different ways. Arts commissioners advocate for the importance of arts and culture, communicating the importance of the arts for education, health, social connection, community vibrancy, economic development, and more. They help host booths at community events like Juneteenth, Tacos y Tequila, FallFest and farmers’ markets around the city, offering free arts & crafts activities for kids and sharing information about Spokane Arts’ offerings. Members of the arts commission are involved in the selection and development of new public art around the city, such as sculptures in public places, and they also serve alongside community members to commission new public murals and utility box art wraps featuring local artists. Arts commissioners play a role in the curation of the Chase Gallery at City Hall, which features 4-6 shows per year of local and regional artists, and they also support various poetry & literature programs run by Spokane Arts, such as Poetry Out Loud (for high school students); Poetry at the Podium (community members reading poetry at City Council meetings); the city poet laureate program; and much more.
Arts commissioners also volunteer to support unique annual events offered by Spokane Arts, such as Music Video Jams, TheaterFest, the annual Arts Awards, and much more. Spokane Arts also produces a short film documentary series highlighting local creatives, called “Meet the Makers,” led by an arts commissioner who serves as the producer for multiple short films by different local filmmakers.
Throughout the year, arts commissioners volunteer at events, serve the community, and bolster the importance of arts, culture, and creativity. We are so grateful for their service and dedication to this community! If you are interested in becoming a Spokane Arts commissioner, new seats open every year! Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn when the next application cycle will open.