May 4, 2023

April RSJ Spotlight | Tracy Poindexter-Canton

Racial & Social Justice Spotlight Series

Each month, our Equity Coordinator, Lara, sits down with an organization or individual in our community to spotlight the work they do to create real and lasting change for a more equitable Spokane.


2 min. read


April Spotlight

Tracy Poindexter-Canton

Way back during the lockdown in March of 2020, artist Tracy Poindexter-Canton challenged herself to create everyday for 30 days. While others baked sourdough bread or mastered puzzles (I did neither), Tracy gave herself 15 minutes to collect all her supplies and just one hour to create a mixed-media collage of the day.

From that challenge came a beautiful collection of art pieces made from magazine clippings, various paints, shards of glass, feathers, and other bits and baubles. Tracy’s colleagues at Northeast Washington Educational Service District also contribute to her found materials gifting beaded jewelry and other knicknacks, adding an even more meaningful layer to her work.

We were so honored to display some of Tracy’s art pieces at April’s 2023 Equity For All event. Attendees at the in-person venue were able to walk around and view her mixed media pieces and we also shared photographs of the pieces with our virtual audience. You can read the recap here.

One of Tracy’s more acclaimed mixed media series, “To Shalimar,” celebrates Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison and her famous novels, The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved and Home, while exploring identity, trauma, self-love, sisterhood, and beauty through a Black American lens. Three pieces in this series were also recently acquired by the Washington Arts Commission and Spokane Public Library for their permanent public art collections.

Another of her works can be found on a signal box wrap located at N. Hamilton Street & E. Indiana Avenue in Northeast Spokane, which was sponsored by Spokane Arts and Spokane Teachers Credit Union.

Her largest and most recent work, a telephone booth-sized pop-up community library, has been purchased via donation by the Avista Foundation as part of a fundraiser for Spark Central. It will be installed inside the Carl Maxey Center in the East Central neighborhood of Spokane.

Little Free Libraries are community book exchanges with 24/7 access and encourage anyone to “take a book, share a book.” These libraries are usually built and maintained by private individuals in neighborhoods, but can also found in public spaces.

Unlike a typical Little Library (most are made of an enclosed wooden box mounted on top of a fence post), Tracy’s library was designed to be displayed indoors, in part to protect the artist’s work. The construction and art creation was funded by a Spokane Arts Grant Award.

Tracy’s creative background includes an undergraduate degree in English/Creative Writing from Seattle University and a master’s degree in Communications and Leadership studies from Gonzaga University. She has exhibited her work in Spokane, Pullman, Olympia, and through Onyx Fine Arts Collective exhibits in Richland and Seattle.

Donate books to Tracy’s Little Free Library via her wish list at Auntie’s Books.


Learn more:

Art by Tracy Poindexter-Canton website 

Follow Tracy on Facebook & Instagram!


YWCA Spokane’s Racial & Social Justice Committee

Our vision is to strive to be a consistently accurate resource for information on racial, ethnic, and cultural awareness to promote diversity, equity, and inclusivity in employment, in business practices, and in the care and services provided throughout the communities we serve. For 2023, the RSJ Committee is focusing on:

  • Community Partnerships
    • Enhance outreach efforts to community partners and liaisons to share ideas, support each other with action, and solidify connections. View the list of our RSJ Partners.
  • Events
  • Education & Training
    • Provide training to YWCA staff, board of directors, mission partners and the community to allow awareness of subconscious thoughts or attitudes that affect our perceptions about people, the decisions we make, and the impact on our community.

Join the conversation with our Facebook Group and learn more about our RSJ Committee at ywcaspokane.org/racialjustice.

CHECK OUT OUR OTHER SPOTLIGHTS

Find past RSJ Spotlights here.

If you or someone you know should have their advocacy work highlighted through our RSJ Spotlight series, please email equity coordinator, larae@ywcaspokane.org.

By: Lara Estaris

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