I walked into the Spokane Transit Authority (STA) Plaza on Friday and could tell exactly where to go; all I had to do was follow the music. I walked upstairs to the event space and saw lovely creations displayed around the room. I could tell that there was a unique story behind each artist and every piece that he or she presents at First Friday. For those who aren’t familiar, First Friday is an event sponsored by Downtown Spokane Partnership that promotes the art, wine and music in downtown Spokane the first Friday of every month. Artistic spaces are hosted by dozens of local businesses in the downtown area. These nights truly support Visit Spokane’s new branding campaign, which describes Spokane as “Creative by Nature”. One of the many things that makes Spokane an amazing place to live is the artistic culture that is only continuing to grow.

STA has been hosting First Friday showcases for several years. At June’s First Friday event, STA had the privilege to host multiple artists and musicians with whom they have a special connection.

Last summer, E. Susan Meyer, STA’s Chief Executive Officer, attended a fundraiser for The Arc of Spokane, an organization that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It was there that she first saw Penny Cannon’s art. She loved Penny’s art so much that she put it on display in STA’s offices, and wanted to create a space for people to come and see it. She created a partnership with The Arc of Spokane and set up an art space at STA’s Boone office location. Throughout the year art displays have been rotated there, and it has been a chance for these incredible artists to display their art.

The partnership between STA and The Arc of Spokane made the showcase at First Friday even more meaningful. Artists Penny Cannon, Brian Gabbard, and Jonathan Finck had the opportunity to present their art and sell it to those who were interested. What made the event even more well-rounded was the addition of music performed by In Transit. Ken Davis, the lead musician of In Transit, has been a bus driver for STA for thirty-five years, adding a personal connection to the event space. This showcase was called “Art is for Everyone”. Both the artists and musicians showed in a unique way that art truly is for everyone. This led me to reflect on the belief that we all are very creative in our own way and have beauty to offer the world. I have noticed that we often set aside our creative nature and choose to leave the creating to those who fit the mold of being artistically gifted.

The talented artists and musicians at this event made me realize that whether or not we have spent time studying different forms of art, and no matter what our ability level or profession may be, we all are creative by nature. Penny, Brian, and Jonathan have created pieces that now decorate homes and offices because they choose to use the skills that they have been given. Ken chooses to create music for his community to enjoy during the time that he is not driving for STA. If we all choose to follow their example, the world will be a much more beautiful place, filled with art that might not ever have been created otherwise.

Lauren Schubring is a Michigan native who has made Spokane her chosen home. She enjoys all of the natural beauty and community events Spokane has to offer with her husband and their puppy, affectionately named Spokane. She works for The Arc of Spokane as a Community Access Specialist. Her job allows her to be involved with a variety of organizations and events in the community. Lauren studied at Moody Bible Institute and is now working toward her Masters Degree in Public Administration.