Spokane Arts Department replaced by "Arts Fund"

SPOKANE, Wash. - The city of Spokane is getting out of the arts business, replacing the Arts Department with the "Spokane Art Fund".

Mayor David Condon made the announcement on Monday.  Five organizations will now share in the funding and organization of arts events in the city.

Organizations include the Downtown Spokane Partnership, The Public Facilities District, and Visit Spokane. 

The city will still partially fund arts, though the amount will be drastically reduced.

In 2012, the city put $155,000 into the Arts Department.  Next year, that contribution will drop to $100,000.  At the end of the three-year agreement with the Arts Fund, the city will have decreased its funding to just 60-thousand dollars.

spokane arts fund vid

The elimination of the Arts Department also meant longtime Art Director, Karen Mobley, was laid off. 

"I'm a little bittersweet about leaving the city after being here for fifteen-and-a-half years," Mobley said.

Though Mobley is losing her job with the city, she supports the new Arts Fund.   She'll act as the Interim Executive Director on a contract basis.

"I feel very appreciated by the city staff and I'm going to miss having them as my daily companions and colleagues in this building because we're moving the office," Mobley said.

The mayor says the new fund will be able to secure the money they're losing from the city from other sources.  The Arts Fund group will be responsible for applying for grants and finding in-kind donations. 

Everyone involved is hopeful the Arts Fund group can bring in more money without the city than the Arts Department did when it was city-run.