Legacy of EXPO '74 in the Chase Gallery - Lower Level of City Hall

The Spokane Arts announces, "LEGACY OF EXPO '74," in the Chase Gallery, July 9 - September 26, 2014

Karen Mobley 509.499.0784

Monday, July 14, 2014 at 10:21 a.m.

This exhibition includes art works by artists whose work was exhibited in Expo 74 along with historical photographs from the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture and Northwest Room, and artifacts from the time. Reception will be held First Friday, August 1, 5 to 8 p.m.

The Chase Gallery is located in City Hall at 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. in Spokane. Gallery Hours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and during evening meetings in City Hall.

Highlights Include

  • Environmental Theme Banners by Louise Kodis from Expo and planning illustrations.
  • Photos of events and activities, performers, and important leaders of the community and nation drawn from the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture and other regional collections.
  • Memorabilia and artifacts of the event from private collections including mud flaps, art exhibition catalogues and postcards.
  • Stamps from participating countries including the Expo 74 postage stamp designed by Peter Max.
  • Model for Garbage Eating Goat by Sister Paula Turnbull.

Background - 40th Anniversary of Expo ‘74 - 2014

Celebrating the event and the creation of Spokane’s Riverfront Park Expo 74 was the World’s Fair held from May to November 1974. Motivated by the city’s centennial, a declining economy, suburbanization, and concerns over pollution of the Spokane River, a broad constituency of business and civic leaders led by the visionary King Cole worked tirelessly to change the site, open the city to the river and create a visitor destination called “Expo 74.”

The Union Pacific, Burlington Northern, and Milwaukee Road railroads deeded real estate to Spokane for the world’s fair and the city’s future. After Cole travelled to Paris 22 times, Spokane became the smallest city at that time to host a world’s fair recognized by the Bureau of International Expositions. Expo was opened by President Richard Nixon and closed by President Gerald Ford. It was attended by more than 5 million visitors from throughout the world.

Theme - “Celebrating Tomorrow’s Fresh New Environment.”

The Festival of Northwest Folk Life was an ever changing demonstration of folk and ethnic cultures. Highlights included an authentic Indian village, quilting, gold panning food and traditional music.

While King Cole is credited as the “father” of Expo 74 and a bridge was named for him at the 20th Anniversary, every sector of Spokane’s civic, business and government contributed to the event that changed the face of Spokane forever.

The Washington State Pavilion was constructed for Expo 74 as the centerpiece of the fair with a 2700 seat “Opera House” and exhibition center. The building was designed by the firm Walker, McGough, Foltz, Lyerla Architects and Engineers (WMFL) which is now Integrus Architecture.

It was funded by the Department of Commerce and Economic Development and the Washington State Commission for Expo 74.  Initially a state building, it was deeded to City of Spokane in 1979 and in 2003 from the City to the Spokane Public Facilities District.

Expo 74 hosted a six month pageant of the world’s entertainers, both in the “Opera House,” on the floating stage, in the International Amphitheater, and the Coliseum. More than sixty headliners performed in the formal concert hall including Michael Redgrave, Jack Benny, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Moiseyev Dancers, Isaac Stern, and Ella Fitzgerald. Don Thulean conducted the Spokane Symphony on many occasions with acclaimed guest artists and on special evenings at the International Amphitheater.

Thank you to Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, Spokane Public Library Northwest Room, Spokesman Review, Spokane Public Facilities District and to the many community members for sharing their memories and their belongings to make this exhibition possible.