July 25, 2022

RSJ Spotlight: Ginger Ewing & Terrain

Racial & Social Justice Partner Spotlight Series

Each month we will be spotlighting an organization or individual in our community who is putting in the work to create real and lasting change for a more equitable Spokane.

Our Racial & Social Justice Partner Spotlight this July is Ginger Ewing and Terrain.


5 minute read


What is your role and title?

Ginger is a co-founder and the Executive Director of Terrain, a nationally recognized nonprofit that celebrates Spokane, creates a sense of belonging, and amplifies voices within our community. 

What mission or vision guides your work?

Terrain seeks to push back on the status quo while investing in the arts community in Spokane. Through their work they make the arts more accessible for community members and artists alike. 

Ginger always asks: Who hasn’t been invited to the table, and how can we create a space where they feel welcome? While it wasn’t always explicitly stated, Terrain has been empowering artists of color and those who previously haven’t felt embraced by the arts community in Spokane since their inception. As Ginger points out, many artists feel the need to leave Spokane to find support for their creative work, but it does not have to be this way. 

Ginger believes that art and creativity have the power to create change within and throughout the community. During the pandemic, the world has taken notice of the need for art and creative outlets as they save lives. This has brought us together around a mutual understanding that art is “a necessity, not a nicety.” Art is a great equalizer that allows us to “experience the world through another’s eyes” and see ourselves reflected. Through the power of art we can create a more equitable Spokane. 

How do you live out this mission?

Terrain actively invests in burgeoning creatives to help bridge the gap that exists between established artists and those who are new to the art community in Spokane. Sick of watching Spokane’s young and creative people leave Spokane for larger cities with more established networks, Terrain was founded in 2008 as a one-night event to showcase emerging artists. Their initial vision was simple: Create a platform to celebrate Spokane’s vibrancy that emphasizes the contributions of community members who have been overlooked, marginalized, devalued, or silenced, and interrupt this out-migration by offering new artistic hope. Their first flagship event — also called Terrain — showcased 30 artists to 1,500 attendees. In 2019, the event showcased 274 artists and 13,000 people came through in a single evening.

In the years since, Terrain has successfully created and implemented numerous programs and events highlighting hundreds of artists and attracting 10s of thousands of attendees annually. This includes a retail storefront (From Here) showcasing the work of 110 local artists; a gallery space (Terrain Gallery), one of the most sought after galleries in the region, an art-driven beautification program (Window Dressing); a professional development program for artists (Creative Enterprise), and special projects like Spokane’s Black Lives Matter mural. In 2021, still in the middle of a pandemic, their programs generated $949,286 dollars in art sales and artist payments, 83% of which goes directly back into the pockets of Spokane creatives. 

Terrain supports artists who haven’t felt comfortable or welcome in traditional art markets or gallery spaces by giving them a space to share their vision and make connections.

In order to eliminate barriers that exist in traditional art markets, in 2014 Terrain started Bazaar with the intention to create longer term relationships between artists and patrons, meeting everyone where they are at. By requiring 50% of the items artists sell to be $100 or less they are creating more inroads for potential art lovers who don’t have as much financial access. They also keep the price of booths low. By allowing a smaller investment for patrons, community members can begin a long and fruitful relationship with artists they love so that when they gain more access to resources, they can invest more.

In recent years, Terrain has been utilizing the voice they have to get people activated and raise awareness about needed changes in our community. Ginger points to the gentrification that has occurred in other cities and wonders what we can do to build supportive infrastructure allowing people to live and remain here. Supporting the community remains at the core of what Terrain does and stays active on the issues that impact the spirit, art, and creativity of Spokane. 

What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most?

Ginger’s favorite part of her work is the interaction and experience she gets with a variety of people. Not only is she educated by a variety of different experiences and lenses, but she gets to help amplify the voices of so many. Supporting access, collaboration, and investing in artists is part of the core of her mission and one of the things she most enjoys about the work.

The second greatest joy she gets is seeing the impact of her work on local artists and community members. Hearing the positive impact Terrain has had on people is incredible, encouraging artists to stay in the area due to opportunities and connections they’ve gained through the organization. 

Terrain gives Ginger a way to be connected to Spokane on a spiritual level, giving her a sense of community, helping raise others’ voices, affecting change, and giving community members an opportunity to be exposed to the spirit, beauty, and energy of art and creativity. 

How long have you been doing this work, and what drew you in?

Ginger, her spouse, Luke Baumgarten, Patrick Kendrick, Sara Hornor, and Mariah McKay founded Terrain together almost 14 years ago. It was not their intention to create the arts organization that they have today, but somehow it all came together over time. Ginger had been a curator at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture; her spouse and other friends found themselves working in the art and creativity industry as well. Together, they saw the same gaps in support for artists and noticed a trend of young creatives moving to bigger cities to seek opportunities elsewhere. 

In the years since their very first event, Terrain’s core strategies have grown to include: building community through art and creativity, supporting artists and the arts, advocating for the arts, and catalyzing creative businesses.

But they’ll never forget their roots, and after a 2-year hiatus due to the pandemic, they’re hoping to bring back their original flagship event even stronger than ever.

What are 3 words to describe yourself or your work?

3 words to describe Terrain are visionary, collaborative, and disruptive. Ginger describes Terrain as visionary because they are creating the roadmap as they go, backed by the needs and demands of the community and creative folks. They did not plan to create the organization that they have, but the community needed it. Who knows what they will do next, but that is all a part of the excitement that is Terrain. 

Terrain is collaborative, allowing artists, curators, and art appreciators to come together in new ways. The organization helps give folks a platform to connect. Because their vision is guided by those they serve and work with, creators become collaborators in the organization. 

Ginger describes Terrain as disruptive, because they seek to disrupt the status quo. Art can be a form of activism, and the work Terrain does helps transform the community. Whether by opening folks’ eyes to new realities, reflections, and perspectives or by using the platform they’ve built to share about necessary change, Terrain is shaking things up in the community. 

How can folks get involved or support you?

Terrain started as an event and grew into a full blown nonprofit, and they do so with few paid staff members; the organization mostly runs on the power of volunteers. As the organization is growing and gaining momentum, sharing Terrain’s work and events with your spheres of influence on social media can help them reach the community and widen their impact. 

Terrain takes a stand on issues involving the community as well to inspire action. If you want to stay updated on the issues that matter and hear about upcoming events from Terrain visit their website to subscribe to their email updates. 

If you want to get involved by volunteering with Terrain or would like to sponsor an event or donate to the organization, visit their website to find details. 


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 2022, 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
    • Develop and host or co-host events to connect various groups of community members to share and understand each other’s stories. Events include movie nights, Stand Against Racism, equity & growth Challenge, and Transformations Camp for youth.
  • 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 here.

CHECK OUT OUR PREVIOUS SPOTLIGHTS

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

By: Rachel Dannen

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