Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – Every vibrant arts community needs an energetic hub and since Steve Gibbs founded The Art Spirit Gallery (415 Sherman Avenue) in 1997, the contemporary gallery has been a natural dynamo for arts here.
The 4,000 square foot gallery features high-quality contemporary art and supports local artists with its many shows and exhibits.
Now Art Spirit is taking on yet another role: it’s become home to Drawn Together Arts, a small theater arts company.
“Our mission is to produce small shows and devised cabaret that thematically intersect with fine arts in an interactive, theatrical experience,” said Duncan Menzies, the executive director of Drawn Together Arts.
The inaugural show was Steve Martin’s, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, a fictional piece that has Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein meeting at a Paris bar in 1904.
“That was fun to do and the intersection with art is obviously Picasso,” Menzies said.
The next show is a devised cabaret in time for Valentine’s Day.
Drawn Together Arts has also hosted Spokane Playwrights and partnered with other arts organizations in the area.
Menzies returned to Coeur d’Alene from Seattle about a year and half ago and took a job working for Art Spirit Gallery owner Blair Williams. Menzies is an actor and Williams continued to encourage him to use the gallery for intimate theater.
“I was just a displaced actor working the best way I knew how,” Menzies said. “Drawn Together is really a collaboration between me and Blair.”
Menzies said seven actors were involved in the inaugural show and the gallery comfortably seats between 50 and 80 people.
“It’s the perfect size for this type of theater,” Menzies said. “It feels so good to be back in Coeur d’Alene.”
Working in the art gallery reconnected Menzies with the Coeur d’Alene community and he said he feels like Drawn Together got a natural audience through the well-established gallery.
The plan is to pursue partnerships with other organizations like the Human Rights Institute. A grant from the Avista Foundation will help Drawn Together continue to produce shows and create community partnerships.
“Starting something like this up in a large city like Seattle would be a lot harder to do,” Menzies said.
At Avista, we recognize our unique position gives us the chance to contribute in an impactful way and make a real difference in people's lives. Since its establishment in 2002, the Avista Foundation has made grants totaling over $12 million. The foundation focuses its giving in the areas of vulnerable and limited income populations, education, and economic and cultural vitality.
Grants are provided to non-profit organizations served by Avista Utilities in eastern Washington, northern Idaho, portions of southern Oregon, and Sanders County, Montana. The Avista Foundation also serves communities and citizens served by Alaska Electric Light and Power Co. in the City and Borough of Juneau.