“I don’t like being told my city isn’t good enough. If my city isn’t good enough, I’m going to do something to change it.” For Ginger, changing her hometown of Spokane means a unique combination of advocacy for the arts and economic development.
During her childhood, Ginger recalls being told many times that if she was going to be successful, or enjoy her twenties, she’d have to do it some place other than Spokane. As a result, “Spokane has been hemorrhaging its creative young people for decades” Ginger says. Something had to be done.
With a BA in history from Whitworth University and over five years of experience with the Northwest Museum of Art and Culture, in 2008 Ginger co-founded Terrain, a non-profit dedicated to creating a stronger and more vibrant emerging arts community in the Inland Northwest. Created to bridge the gap between Spokane’s young artists and the more formal art establishment, Terrain has been invaluable to the growth of art sales and awareness in the region.
With the steady growth of Terrain, Ginger has poured more effort into Window Dressing, a program that fills vacant buildings and unused spaces with various short-term art installations and creative enterprise. Having only been in existence since the end of 2014, the organization expanded this summer, taking on 14 local creative entrepreneurs and providing them intensive business training and one-on-one coaching. Ginger is now working with property owners to provide spaces that are currently sitting empty to nascent creative businesses for several months of low or no rent. “The idea is to give creative entrepreneurs the opportunity to test their ideas with little risk” says Ginger. Similar programs have led to long term success for both business and property owners in other cities, including Tacoma. “These projects have had a huge impact on transforming the downtown core in those cities” Ginger says.
Though most may not immediately see the correlation between a vibrant economy and a robust arts culture, it’s clear to Ginger. “When cities invest in art, jobs increase, economic growth is sparked and the quality of life goes up” she says. For the success of her endeavors, Ginger thanks the local trailblazers who have been advocating for an appreciation of the arts for decades, as well as the collaborative energy and spirit that already exists in the community. When asked what the end goal is, Ginger smiles and says “I probably ask myself that every day. We just love our city, and we really, really want it to succeed, and we’re not very good at saying no.”
Support Ginger and Window Dressing by attending the Grand Opening of a new Pop-up Shop location on Friday, April 7th! More information here