A Little Background (or How I Met Sam White)…

By Marmot Art Space Owner Marshall Peterson

As a creator/producer of events here in Spokane (PorchFest West Central, Kendall Yards Night Market, First Fridays at Marmot, MarmotBoy Alley Block Party, Rock The Nest), I love it when people show up to my events! So I do my best to show up to other community events as well. It’s just fair.

That’s how I found myself down at Art On The Ave. I’m a big fan of neighborhood revitalization, too! This seemed like an event that I shouldn’t miss for a variety of reasons. I also wanted to put myself in the shoes of an average attendee and see how I could use this experience to do a better job at producing my own events. It was with all these ideas in mind that I headed down to East Sprague last September. I was casually strolling down the sidewalk, taking it all in, and out of nowhere appeared these massive, bright, colorful abstract portraits displayed on the sidewalk.

Yes, on the sidewalk! I thought, “Wow! That’s super cool! What kind of person would exhibit on the sidewalk? I’ve got to meet this guy”. I said, “Hi” to Sam and we began to converse. He seemed like a nice guy – someone that I could work with. That’s always a big relief. When I introduce myself to an artist whose work I like it’s with a mixture of excitement and apprehension.

Excitement because it’s so great to find someone with whom you have something in commom (love of art, in this case), and apprehension because I only want to feature people at Marmot who are not just talented artists, but good people. The best shows at Marmot have happened because they were collaborations between myself and the artist and I know that life is short and I have no time to deal with egos and demands and negative energy.

Luckily I’m a good judge of character and can read people quickly because a friend of Sam’s soon interrupted our conversation. He seemed like a long lost friend of Sam’s, so I continued on my way. A few days later we met up and have talked almost every day since then. Sam has been totally inspired, often finishing 2 or 3 huge paintings each day.

Because he was painting so quickly, I decided to show him the new building here at Kendall Yards that has 25 empty windows and suggest we do a huge show down here. He readily agreed and has been painting like a man on a mission ever since.

A couple of weeks ago, we got a call from KSPS’s “Northwest Profiles” and a few days later, they were down at Marmot shooting an episode featuring Sam. Needless to say, Sam was even more inpsired. He’s been painting for decades and had never had this kind of special focus on him. Sam was excited and that excitement didn’t just show in his paintings, but also in promotion – he’s passed out several hundred posters and flyers all over town!

It has been a joy working with Sam. I appreciate his enthusiasm and positive attitude!

© Marshall E. Peterson Jr.

© Marshall E. Peterson Jr.