This article first appeared in the Lewiston Tribune on April 29, 2021
Moscow newcomer one of several featured in Little Pink House Gallery’s latest show
The aftermath of a fire that leveled most of the Whitman County town of Malden last fall dominates the artwork “Renewal,” by Moscow artist Jill Kyong.
An image of blackened, leafless trees is repeated on three separate, rectangular, wood boxes created by Kyong, one of the artists featured in a show also named “Renewal” opening Saturday at Genesee’s Little Pink House Gallery.
“I like the roof-peak effect that all the tree branches overhead made,” Kyong said.
Kyong cut a house-shaped opening beneath the limbs in each box. She placed one charred ellipsoid of wood, fashioned to look like a stone, in each. One is black, symbolizing the ruin of the fire. Another is white on top of black, representing the snow that covered Malden in late fall. The third is black with a green leaf peeking out from the bottom, showing life after destruction.
Kyong is relatively new to Moscow, and this is the first time her art is being shown in the periodic exhibits painter Ellen Vieth holds in her Genesee gallery. “Renewal” is one of two Kyong pieces that will be on display.
“What distinguishes Jill’s work is her ability to translate things she sees in nature into refined and graceful sculptural pieces,” Vieth said. “She has a keen eye for simplicity.”
Kyong’s work often simultaneously explores hope and loss. She frequently encodes not-so-subtle messages into her wood “rocks.”
In the work “Growth,” she tackled the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was recently convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
In the piece, five small, green shadow boxes line the bottom edge of a large piece of gray wood. A black stone and a white stone sit together in the middle box. In the two boxes to the right are single black stones. In the two to the left are single white stones.
Inspiration for the piece hit when she was on a walk with her husband and spotted green tufts of grass sprouting in a line out of hard pavement.
The work will not be on display at the gallery as it was recently sold to a private buyer. As profound as the backstory is, Kyong didn’t share it with the buyer and only recently posted it on social media because of her view that labels and context can prevent people from experiencing art on their own terms.
It doesn’t matter to her if people purchase what she does because the colors match the paint on their walls or if they discern its deeper messages. Similarly, Kyong seeks out classes to learn new methods.
“If I have an idea, I try to figure out how to do it,” she said. “I’m not just in one lane of how it could be done.”
Kyong, 49, is a Korean-American who came to the United States after being adopted. The direction she is pursuing with her art unfolded over decades.
In college, she earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree focused on iron casting. That perspective still informs what she does in a number of ways, she said. Part of her criteria for her 3D works is that they look good from all angles.
The turn she took toward wood happened during a 20-year hiatus from art while she was raising two children and doing bookkeeping for her sister’s restaurants in Chicago, a job she still performs remotely. She built sturdy, custom furniture for the house she and her husband purchased in Little Rock, Ark.
After their children were grown, she returned to art in 2018, mostly using wood. She had started to establish herself in Arkansas where two galleries carried her work and she taught woodworking at the Arkansas Art Center. Then her husband, Jeff Kyong-McClain, a historian specializing in China, accepted a job as an instructor and administrator at the University of Idaho and the couple relocated.
Kyong’s concepts frequently begin with photographs of nature that she refers to as she sketches ideas on an iPad using the program Procreate.
“I like it because I can move things around,” she said.
Her garage is where she does finish work, and a large share of the cutting and carving happens at a private Moscow woodshop, where she works with artists she met at Artisans at the Dahmen Barn in Uniontown.
“There’s all this work that goes on out there (at the woodshop) that’s nationally and internationally known,” she said.
In addition to saving her the expense of tools, the woodshop is also a place where she can get feedback and help from other artists.
As smoothly as the transition of moving to Idaho went, Kyong is still working through challenges, like finding galleries that are the right fit for her pieces. Her works typically cost more than $1,000 because of the large investment in time and materials. Each of her wooden stones, for example, took about 30 minutes to craft through a process involving multiple rounds of sanding.
The Art Spirit Gallery of Fine Art in Coeur d’Alene represents her and is planning a June exhibit that features Kyong and other Moscow-area wood artists.
“(I want) people to see that art made from wood is more than the hobby their grandfathers used to have,” she said.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: “Renewal,” contemporary art exhibit.
WHEN: 10 am. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and May 8.
WHERE: Little Pink House Gallery, 157 N. Elm St., Genesee.
OF NOTE: Face masks are required at the gallery.
The show includes new work by Ellen Vieth, Kendra Bulgren, Karen Filden, David Herbold, Stacy Isenbarger, Aaron Johnson, Jill Kyong, John Larkin, Lauren McCleary, Jean Arnold and Noah Schuerman. Arnold, a first-time exhibitor at the gallery, will show two works from her Malden series, both reflections on the 2020 Babb Road Fire. A portion of the sale proceeds from the works will be donated to the Whitman County United Way Fire Community Relief Fund.
The following projects, initiatives, and economic developments are making news in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. This release is distributed by the Inland Northwest Economic Alliance on behalf of its regional partners.
COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — StanCraft Boat Co. is expanding from manufacturing watercraft to offering aviation services with the addition of a $15 million StanCraft Jet Center at Coeur d’Alene Airport-Pappy Boyington Field. Construction on the new 85,000-square-foot FBO began in August east of Empire Aerospace, and the project is expected to be completed by May 2020. Coeur d’Alene-based Eric Hedlund Design is the architecture firm that designed the structure, and Hayden-based Young Construction Group of Idaho Inc. is the contractor. The 40,000-square-foot Southfield Aviation building will be used as a maintenance facility after the new jet center is built. In addition to refitting jet interiors, StanCraft Jet Center will offer jet refueling, conference rooms, waiting and pilot areas, and a tenant improvement space for offices. Contact Robb Bloem, StanCraft President, for more information.
Dauntless Air, an aerial firefighting company, relocated its aircraft maintenance operations to the Coeur d’Alene airport this year. Dauntless protects people, land and property from the devastation of wildfires through advanced aerial fire suppression tactics in Minnesota, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, North Carolina, California and Oregon. Learn more about the company at www.Dauntlessair.com or contact Brett L’Esperance, Dauntless CEO.
PULLMAN, WA — Washington State University’s Cosmic Crisp apple will hit the fruit stands on December 1, a project over 20 years in the making. Cosmic Crisp was developed specifically for Washington’s climate and growing conditions. WSU researchers combined the disease-resistant Enterprise with the Honeycrisp, known for its crispness, juicy sweetness, and hint of tartness. There are 12 million trees planted in the state of Washington and this year 450,000 boxes of Cosmic Crisp apples will be available. Washington apple growers will have exclusive rights to the Cosmic Crisp for 10 years. Washington produces 65-75 percent of the nation’s apples, yet this is the first variety that originated from the state. Contact Proprietary Variety Management for more information.
HAYDEN, Idaho — Roller coaster manufacturer, Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC), continues its Six Flags success with the innovative Jersey Devil Coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey. Known as a single-rail coaster, riders in one-passenger cars will straddle a 15.5-inch-wide steel, monorail track and navigate a twisted course that will include multiple inversions, climbing 130 feet and hitting a top speed of 58 mph along 3.000 feet of monorail track. RMC has grown to 115 full-time employees and 5 manufacturing facilities, totaling more than 75,000 square feet. See USA Today’s article for more.
DAVENPORT, WA – Washington Department of Commerce, USDA, and Washington State University Medical School hosted a daylong workshop with 100 community leaders and residents from Eastern Washington to address the broadband law approved this year by Washington state lawmakers. A new statewide broadband office will approve and distribute grant and loan funds to local governments, tribes, public, private and nonprofit entities working together to expand broadband. The program has $21.5 million available, including $14.5 million for loans and $7 million for grants. The state will prioritize funding to public-private partnerships, with a focus on underserved areas in the state. Contact Margie at Lincoln County EDC for more information.
MARIES, Idaho — City officials and housing developers, Troy Lozano, are projecting construction of new homes in Ragan’s Addition to begin in early 2020. Lozano purchased 21 lots in the addition and plans to partner with Julian Construction to build single family homes. Updates can be found at greystonehill.com.
OTHELLO, WA — McCain Foods broke ground on a 170,000-square-foot expansion, a project that will cost $300 million and is scheduled for competition in 2021. The expansion to the frozen potato products line is estimated to bring about 180 new jobs to Othello and is expected to be the biggest manufacturer of frozen potato products in the world. Dale McCarthy, McCain Foods, said Othello’s proximity to West Coast shipping makes it a crucial location for the company. “Othello is very strategic for us.” Adams County officials are working with McCain Foods and the state to develop a recruitment process and support. They plan to conduct a countywide housing needs assessment to confirm housing needs and development solutions. Email Adams County Economic Development Council for more info.
MOSCOW, Idaho — Northwest River Supplies (NRS) began operations from its new facility on South Blaine Street on November 5. The newly constructed 155,000-square-foot building includes a warehouse, customer service center, corporate offices and a 3,500-square-foot NRS flagship retail store. The $13.5 million project received a tax break from Latah County that exempts 75 percent of the increase in the site’s value from property taxes for five years, ending in 2023. Read more here.
PULLMAN and COLFAX, Wash. — Two Inland Northwest businesses were recognized through the Washington Secretary of State’s Corporations for Communities Award Program. Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, of Pullman, was recognized for donating and raising funds for local charities and providing money for employees to donate to the charity of their choice. Bunyard Automotive, of Colfax, was honored for repairing vehicles at little to no cost for families in need. Both businesses were awarded the National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion for their efforts in their communities. The full press release is here.
OSBURN, Idaho — The city dedicated the newly completed Shoshone Fire District #1 facility, which was awarded a $500,000.00 block grant earlier this year. The new 10,000-square-foot facility is a significant fire, training, and emergency services upgrade for the region. Contact Silver Valley EDC for more information.
LEWISTON, Idaho — With a start-up $839,809 grant from the National Science Foundation, the Northwest Intermountain Manufacturing (NIMA) Association has created a pilot project to train high school students in fabrication and machining. In partnership with Lewis-Clark State College, the Clearwater Economic Development Association, the University of Idaho and 16 school districts, the program gives students a solid skill set and educational background in manufacturing so they can be ready to start work right after high school for local companies. The first group of students will complete the program in 2020. See Idaho Department of Labor article here.
LIBERTY LAKE, WA — In response to a gap in the city’s flex office market, Liberty Lake Coworking LLC will open Jan. 2 at 23505 E. Appleway. The 4,600-square-foot space will have 11 private offices, six semi-private spaces, and open table space. The space will also feature booths for private calls, two semi-private meeting booths, a podcast and media room, access to high-speed fiber internet, and free parking. More details can be found here.
POST FALLS, Idaho — Construction on Idaho’s fourth state veterans’ home is expected to start next year. The 82,000 square foot project is to be built in Riverbend Commerce Park in Post Falls and will have 64 beds. The home will be built on 7.3 acres donated by the Jacklin Land Co. in Riverbend Commerce Park on Post Falls’ west side. It is adjacent to BioPol Laboratory and Buck Knives. See the full article here.
SPOKANE, WA — The Toolbox manufacturing incubator expanded to 17,000 square feet in a recent move to Logan Neighborhood. Anchored in the space is Vestis, which manufactures specially designed commercial awnings and canopies. The Toolbox continues to serve as collaborative space where established companies and business mentors share expertise, ideas, tools, and equipment with manufacturing startup and entrepreneurs. The Toolbox is overseen by nonprofit Spokane Create. Read full article here.
On December 4, the Edward Lowe Foundation and Washington Department of Commerce will lead businesses through the basics of Thrive!, a new state program that helps second-stages businesses to increase revenue, streamline operations, and expand into new markets. Contact Susan Joseph Nielsen for more information about Thrive!
POST FALLS, Idaho— Northwest Specialty Hospital completed a $4.5 million addition to include an Endoscopy Center and two additional operating rooms. The 15,000-square-foot addition brings to eight the number of operating rooms for patient surgery. The Endoscopy Center, a 8,650-square-foot addition to the hospital, features two procedure rooms, one exam room and eight preoperative and post-anesthesia care unit bays. See company news release for more information.
Inland Northwest Economic Alliance (INEA) is a consortium of fourteen economic development agencies representing fifteen counties in the North Idaho/Eastern Washington region. The collaborative effort is aimed at building economic growth through enhancing the brand recognition of the Inland Northwest and its communities and showcasing its business value.
This article first appeared in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News on October 26, 2019.
Northwest River Supplies will operate from its newly built facility on South Blaine Street starting Nov. 5, according to an NRS news release distributed Friday.
The roughly 155,000-square-foot building includes a warehouse, customer service center and corporate offices. It will also be home to a 3,500-square-foot NRS flagship retail store, which will open Nov. 18, the release states.
NRS will be closed for business Friday through Nov. 4 as it moves into the building, a portion of which housed the former Tidyman’s supermarket.
The manufacturer of paddlesports equipment and apparel makes the move after occupying its South Main Street location since 1982. NRS has twice expanded its South Main Street building, and in 2006, acquired the South Blaine Street property.
The company has also owned or leased several additional spaces in Moscow. The new facility provides increased space for inventory and personnel while allowing NRS to locate all business functions under one roof.
“A big part of our success at NRS comes from a culture of inclusion and shared responsibility,” NRS Chief Financial Officer Tony Mangini said. “Having everyone working together in one building will encourage communication and collaboration throughout the business while supporting continued growth.”
NRS was founded in 1972 by Bill Parks, a former business professor at the University of Idaho. In 2014, NRS became 100 percent employee-owned and employs approximately 110 people in Moscow.
“Being based on the Palouse has been key to our success over the years,” Mangini said. “With two major universities in the area, we have access to top-tier talent. And the high quality of life makes people want to stay here and build careers.”
Last year, the new NRS headquarters received the first economic development property tax exemption in Latah County.
“We are grateful for the support we’ve been given from Latah County, the city of Moscow and our community on the Palouse,” Mangini said. “We look forward to creating a positive economic impact in our region for many years to come.”
When your company earns its keep by providing location data to site selectors, economic developers and others, it stands to reason that other people are going to pay close attention anytime your firm engages in a site search of its own.
That was exactly the case when Moscow, Idaho–based Emsi announced July 26 that it was expanding its footprint in Northern Idaho with a new headquarters. The campus will house more than 500 Emsi employees and give the firm room to grow.
“One of the first goals for Emsi was to employ 50 people earning over $50,000 because good jobs in our town drive prosperity for everyone,” said Andrew Crapuchettes, CEO of Emsi. “Through striving to bless our customers, employees and shareholders, Emsi has enjoyed market success and is now privileged to be a part of Strada Education Network. With Strada’s backing and the crucial support of many people in Idaho, we are grateful and excited to build this signature building in Moscow.”
Emsi was launched in Moscow — 80 miles (130 km.) south of Spokane and 300 miles (480 km.) north of Boise — in 2000, as Economic Modeling Specialists International. When the firm moved to its current downtown facility in early 2014, it had 92 employees. Today, Emsi employs more than 200 people, with about 160 working in Moscow.
Emsi anticipates a move-in date of late 2020. The expansion will allow the firm to add more software developers, engineers, data scientists, economists, sales executives and other personnel. By remaining in Moscow, Emsi retains access to a talent pipeline coming out of the University of Idaho, Washington State University and New Saint Andrews College. More than 550 students with the skills required for Emsi’s key occupations graduate each year from these schools.
Happiness is Hard to Quantify
Emsi CFO Timothy van den Broek says that talent and quality of life convinced the firm that the best place for the new headquarters was Moscow. “We’ve been very happy with Moscow as a place to operate for 20 years,” he says. “It is our town. Our employees mostly live here, and their families live here. Within 10 miles, we have three colleges that all produce a good number of high-caliber graduates.”
But it’s not just about skills, says van den Broek.
“We hire people of great character,” he adds. “Moscow is largely an immigrant community of transplants from across the nation and around the world. I am a family man. I have a wife and five kids. I could not imagine a better situation.”
Tax reimbursement incentives, mostly employment-related incentives, were helpful in getting this deal done, he says, noting what he calls a “fantastic relationship” with the state, county and city. Quality of life is the icing on the cake, says the CFO, who is originally from England. “We have a vibrant restaurant scene in Moscow. The jazz festival brings a good amount of people to the region,” he notes. “My commute is a 10-minute walk. If I drive, it’s one minute.”
The new space could accommodate a workforce of 1,000 people or more, he says. “If we do our job well and help our customers grow, we’ll continue growing ourselves. We are in this for the long haul.”