Butch's Bunch • We've Got Spirit • Raising the Bar • A Castle in the Sky 

Butch's Bunch

On July 30, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter announced his picks for the 2008 Governor's Awards in the Arts. These prestigious awards are doled out biennially by the governor after a careful review of his commissioners' recommendations. The awards were established in 1970 by the Idaho Commission on the Arts to recognize stand-out creative minds in Idaho.

This year's recipients for the Excellence in the Arts category are painter John Collias, dance instructor Becky Gili, painter Cynthia Guild Stoetzer and the Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre.

Awards for Excellence in Folk and Traditional Arts went to silversmith/saddlemaker Gary Keithley and blacksmith Nahum Hersom. Support for the Arts awards went to the Idaho Community Foundation and Susan Jacklin while the award for Excellence in Arts Administration went to the former director of Opera Idaho, Julie Kilgrow. The Lifetime Achievement honor was given to Nez Perce elder, Horace Percy Axtell.

The governor and first lady will preside over the ceremony in Idaho Falls where recipients will be honored on Monday, Oct. 6.

7 p.m., Willard Arts Center, 498 A St., Idaho Falls. For additional information, call Maria Estrada at 208-334-2119.

We've Got Spirit

In more governor gossip, Otter recently reappointed Art Spirit Gallery owner Steve Gibbs to another term as a state arts commissioner. Gibbs has served as a commissioner since 2006 and his second term will run until June 2012. Gibbs is currently the chair of Coeur d'Alene's Arts and Culture Alliance and received the Governor's Support For the Arts award.

Raising the Bar

The Books and Brushes Program at the Garden City Library hosts a reception for "Legally Admissible Art," a new group show with work from locally practicing "art-torneys."

Retired Idaho Supreme Court Justice and photographer Wayne L. Kidwell will be present along with lawyers Judy Holcombe and Molly O'Leary to take the stand and speak on what appeals to them about artistic expression. Holcombe paints colorful oil and watercolor landscape portraits that have twice appeared on the cover of The Advocate.

Each month, the Books and Brushes Program brings in community artists to display their works in this free series. Twenty percent of the profit from art sold is donated to the library.

Opening reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 13. 6015 Glenwood, Garden City. For more information, contact Bud Katich at 208-378-4417.

A Castle in the Sky

This year's True West film festival, which kicks off Thursday, Aug. 7, with a documentary about Hunter S. Thompson entitled Gonzo, will premiere another documentary on Saturday about famed Idaho outsider artist James Castle. Castle was born in 1899 in Garden Valley and was deaf, mute and mentally challenged. To communicate, Castle used sharpened twigs to scratch drawings on found cardboard with inks made from his own spit. At the time, little was understood about outsider art, or Art Brut, and many in the art world denied Castle's talent. Castle, who died in 1977, was incredibly prolific, producing a mind-blowing 20,000 pieces of art. His collection is now world-renowned and represented by Boise's J Crist Gallery.

The documentary, James Castle: Portrait of an Artist utilizes testimony from family members, collectors, art historians and members of the deaf community to tell Castle's unique story. The film, which premieres on Saturday, Aug. 9, at 5 p.m., will be followed by a panel discussion on Sunday, Aug. 10, at 3:30 p.m. with director Jeffrey Wolf and Sandy Harthorn, curator for the Boise Art Museum.

For more information on the True West Film Festival, visit truewestcinema.org. To buy tickets to the screening, visit ticketweb.com or purchase them at the Flicks box office.

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