Iconic Spokane artist Turnbull passes away at 97 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Iconic Spokane artist Turnbull passes away at 97

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Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review
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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