La Resistance making its mark in thriving Spokane Art and Music Scene

In 2012, Laura Lee White had a car accident that changed everything. Not just for her, but for independent artists in Spokane.

I realized that life is short,” she says,  “Art has long been a great outlet for me through dark times, so I needed to start getting serious about my art because I might as well do something I love to do and makes me happy.

That’s when she and Ron Holiday, who left the project after six months, came up with the idea of La Resistance, a 200 plus artist collective dedicated to “Changing the world through art and music.”

Laura Lee White with a recent creation in her studio

 Since then La Resistance has staged nine events, and grown steadily to the point that they are representing artists outside Spokane.

“My philosophy is to promote and encourage artists. I do an invitation format vs. the typical jury format process. I trust that the artists want to show their best work. I tell artists to show up on installation day with five to seven pieces and we will hang without seeing the pieces beforehand so it’s a surprise and frankly more challenging. I like to ride the waves of chaos. But I also know that they’ll put their best foot forward and deliver high-quality art to consumers.”

Because White was heavily active in the art and music culture in the late eighties and early nineties she built on her experiences to create art and music events. Each artist is given space to show their work, usually between five and six of them. Bands are booked to play and people come, see the art, buy it and support the scene.

“Although the politics of the artist community in Spokane can be a bit difficult to navigate, I think that there is room for lots of artists and their art. I want to fill a gap between consumers and talented artists in Spokane often overlooked.”

Poster from an event in October 2015 at Garageland in Spokane

La Resistance recently put on an event through the inaugural Tinnabulation Festival held at Riverfront Park in Downtown Spokane, hosting a collaborative painting exercise involving seven artists all painting for 20 minutes on each canvas and then switching to the next easel to pick up where the last painter left off. The result was a dozen collaborative pieces that will be up for sale. She also directed a breezeway exhibit of La Resistance artists and commissioned artists to do chalk, painted glass murals, a 20-foot robot and live art creations donated to the Spokane Art mobile mural project.

“I have this all-encompassing view of a project. My study of design helps my overall 3D vision for shows. My industry experience helps me coordinate the events. So for me, it’s a good fit.”

Centred on underground artists, White’s ethos is heavily informed by the Do-It-Yourself ethos.

Each artist approached by White is invited to display their art. Each event 22-24 artists plus three musical acts, depending on the space and the opening, usually held on first Friday of the month, though not part of the city-wide event that holds first Friday events.

“I try to pick artists that are edgy, mixing street art with fine art. With varying demographics -a little something for everyone, and have a high visual impact,” she says.

She presents exhibits and promotes their work and uses her experience in project management, sales, and marketing to make it work for everyone involved.

“It’s about doing this kind of work with ethics and integrity. Politicians aren’t gonna do it. The status quo isn’t working. I just think the innovators are from the underground. The artists are the dream makers. They change the world. It’s not people that are making money off it.”

You can see Laura’s work at this year’s Terrain festival

If you are going: 


About Phil Saunders (17 Articles)
I have been a professional writer since 1988 when I began my career as a music journalist. In 1998 I began working at CBC, after returning to work with a Master's in journalism from the University of Western Ontario. In 2000 I co-produced a feature film that was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival among other North American film festivals. In 2016 I published a book on the Toronto underground music scene called No Flash Please: Underground Music in Toronto 1987-1992. I am also a photographer and documentary filmmaker.