Spokane art gallery hosts event to help artist who lost everything in Elmer City fire

SPOKANE, Wash. - For a Washington artist, the fire that tore through homes in Elmer City Tuesday left behind much more than ash. 

After the smoke cleared, the community was left to grieve. Among them was artist Ric Gendron. His home and art studio both were destroyed by the fire that moved quickly through Grandview Village Mobile Home Park. 

Now, a Spokane art gallery wants to help. 

Marmot Art Space owner Marshall Peterson said he knew he had to do something to help Gendron.

"His work is particularly deep," Peterson said. "You may see beauty. I see the hard work over time and I see the constant obstacles in getting around them or getting over them."

Gendron's list of hardships now includes the Elmer City fire. It's something he still doesn't feel comfortable talking to media about, but Peterson passed on a message from Gendron. 

"He's seen a lot of trouble and he's gotten through it, so this is yet another thing that he'll get through. He wanted people to know that," Peterson said. 

And Peterson wants his friend to know something, too. 

He's not alone. 

Peterson filled his gallery with the Native American artist's work, just in time for a First Friday event. More than a dozen pieces adorn the walls, but one is especially captivating. 

It's called Coyote. 

"Ric Painted it from his house, down in the Columbia River. The house that has now had a fire," Peterson said. "Yeah, gosh, I guess it's pretty emotional, right? That's the view from his house."

The colorful creation now a reminder that even from darkness, something good can come. 

"He was really surprised how many people have supported him. He didn't know that he was this loved or this cared about or that his career was this important," Peterson said. 

Gendron has been featured in galleries across the nation, including in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Missoula, Montana. 

Doors open to the gallery at 1202 W. Summit Pkwy at 5:00 p.m. You can also set up an appointment outside regular gallery hours if you are interested in seeing and purchasing Gendron's work.