Artfest Moving?

SPOKANE, Wash. - ArtFest has been held in Browne's Addition for 26 years, but there's a good chance the MAC could be moving the event to Riverfront Park.

ArtFest draws thousands from around Spokane every June. Local artists (150 and counting) depend on it to show off their talents.

News of the possible move is not sitting well with the Browne's Addition neighborhood.

?As a resident of Browne's Addition I'm kind of frustrated, I like that here, I like it in my back yard and I think it kind of brings a lot of people in to see Browne's Addition who wouldn't normally stop by,? Michael Swatzell said.

?In the past, Browne's Addition hasn't always had the best reputation, I think it's nice to have something nice out here to show people that it's really beautiful out here and there's little businesses that benefit from it,? Molly Gwinn said.

Browne's Addition Neighborhood Councilmember Mark Simonds is trying to preserve what makes the neighborhood unique and called for residents to join a Wednesday night meeting with the MAC to voice their opinions on the possible move.

?We want people to come and voice their opinions and let us know they want to keep the event in the neighborhood, I think most, the majority of people would want to keep the event in the neighborhood,? Simonds said.

ArtFest might vacate Browne's Addition and move to Riverfront Park, but Rebecca Bishop with the MAC wants everyone to know it's not personal, it's business.

?We used to be here on campus, we outgrew that here at the MAC and then we went to wonderful Coeur d'Alene Park in Browne's Addition, and it's a great community neighborhood, but we want it to be bigger,? Bishop said.

In light of last year's budget cuts, and the MAC almost having to close down, she looks at the chance to expand ArtFest as a way to bring in more revenue for the museum.

Plus, Bishop says, there's a safety issue with Art Fest. Because ArtFest happens in the same weekend ElkFest happens, the neighborhood is jam-packed and an ambulance could never make it through the crowd.

?And parking is such an issue that we have to be responsible to the neighborhood and the safety issue,? Bishop said.

There's no time line on a final decision about ArtFest, but the pot has been stirred.

?I think people will be upset if Browne's Addition lost ArtFest, it's a great event that whole weekend, there's lots going on in the neighborhood,? Simonds said.