Moscow Artwalk returns next Thursday

Ongoing artwalks connects local businesses, artists, community members



Moscow artist Polly Walker creates “Stained Glass on Canvas” paintings in her studio that she will display at the artwalk from 4-8 p.m. at Allegra in Downtown Moscow. Walker poses with “Window View” and “Desert Bloom.”

FRANKIE BEER, Evergreen news editor

As the self-proclaimed “Heart of the Arts” on the Palouse, the Moscow community is devoted to supporting local artists.

The City of Moscow and Moscow Arts Commission will host its next artwalk event from 4-8 p.m. on Feb. 17. Since 2004, the Artwalk events have featured a variety of visual, literary and performance artists on the third Thursday of each month from October to June.

A comprehensive list of artists and locations for February’s artwalk will be available Feb. 11 on the City of Moscow’s website

Sandra Stoops, artwalk attendee and member of the Moscow Arts Commission, said looking at art is almost a meditative experience. Throughout her seven years working as a docent for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Stoops found that art initiates a “dialouge” between community members and local artists. 

“That’s where I began to see what art was capable of – providing a community in a really important way,” Stoops said. “Art heightens our understanding of our human condition and gives us voices for expressing what’s going on, especially during this time.”

Polly Walker, artist behind the “Stained Glass on Canvas” pieces, said painting is her form of self expression and improves her mood whenever she feels disheartened. 

Walker will be displaying 12 of her prints as well as six original paintings at Allegra, a Moscow marketing and print shop on South Main Street. Walker said she will also sell her “frameable” greeting cards. 

Within each of her paintings, Walker said she uses a “void” technique by applying acrylic paints to a black canvas, intentionally leaving lines without paint, allowing the black canvas to peek through. This effect achieves the bright, stained-glass look that now dominates Walker’s style. 

Walker said it is much more meaningful for community members to purchase pieces from local artists than to order it, because it forges a personal connection between them. She said her favorite aspect of creating art is sharing it with the Moscow community. 

“If somebody has a talent and they only do it for themselves, it’s really not worth much,” Walker said. “When I’m doing it, other people are able to appreciate it, and it makes their lives better because they enjoy looking at it. I feel like I’ve shared something with other people.”

Megan Cherry, artwalk organizer and arts program manager for the city of Moscow, said the artwalk began as a way to help form partnerships between community members, local businesses and artists.

Cherry said she loves seeing artists, businesses and audiences connect because those relationships are essential to development of the region’s cultural system. 

Local businesses and artists can connect through the Moscow Chamber of Commerce’s business directory and can register for the artwalk online through the City of Moscow website.

Artists and businesses can register for the upcoming artwalk in March starting on Feb. 22 and the deadline to submit is March 3. Currently, Moscow is amidst a nine-month-long Artwalk season that started last October, leading up to a season finale on June 16. 

During her three years organizing the artwalks alongside Moscow’s culture and recreation team, Cherry said she has enjoyed witnessing the momentum behind the events build over time. The Moscow Artwalks increase foot traffic through local businesses, leaving a positive impact on downtown Moscow long after the artwalk itself. 

Although Cherry said planning a series of artwalks during the pandemic presented challenges regarding indoor gatherings, her team adjusted to the new social landscape. 

“It requires creativity and sensitivity to the moment. Luckily, we have really strong leadership here in the city of Moscow,” Cherry said. 

When Stoops attended an artwalk on Jan. 20, she said it was encouraging to see other attendees wearing masks and hopes it will encourage more community members to get involved with February’s event.

After she attended the artwalk, Stoops said she recognized the importance of patronizing local businesses and artists and bringing the Moscow community together.

“It’s just good to be in a community and realize that we can share values,” Stoops said. “Despite some of our differences of opinion, we can still gather together and enjoy the values that we do share.”