Iconic Spokane artist Turnbull passes away at 97


SPOKANE, Wash. -Sister Paula Turnbull, the creative force behind many of Spokane’s best-known and best-loved art installations – including the iconic Garbage Goat of Riverfront Park – has died. She was 97.

According to our partners at the Spokesman-Review, a longtime family friend Tom Keefe confirmed that Turnbull passed away around midnight this morning.

A member of the Sisters of Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Turnbull became a break-out Spokane arts star around 45 years ago when the city hosted Expo ’74, when she created the Garbage Goat . Over the following decade she completed dozens of public commissions and art installations around the city.

Some of her most popular work in the area included:

The Garbage Goat at Riverfront Park

The statue of Anna Stratton Browne and her daughter in Browne's Addition

The Sasquatch statue at Spokane Community College

The Central Valley High School Bear

The "Cosmos - In the Beginning" in the Chapel at the Convent of the Holy Names

Sculpted panels of swimmers, baseball players and skateboarders at Hillyard Aquatic Center

The Mike Cmos Memorial outside Spokane Wastewater Treatment

“She really believed in the role of art in making life better for people. She was a great ambassador for that intersection of art and life," said Keefe.

Turnbull had closed her studio this past spring after more than 80 years of making art.

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