Creativity Drives True North 

New Community Arts Facility Opens in Eagle

In the heart of downtown Eagle's arts scene sits the new True North Creative Learning Center, the product of founder Anna Eaton-Merkle's long-time ambition to provide a convenient place for adaptive tutoring, artistic instruction, and creative interaction. This is a space where artists and writers can teach, learn and practice in an inviting, relaxed environment.

Eaton-Merkle believes True North fills a much-needed niche that complements the other established players in an already-thriving arts and cultural community, catering to a need for adult education, tutoring, studio facilities, and generally a "comfortable place to hang out." She says, "Eagle is my community," and she wants to be an active citizen. "I'm ready for the challenge."

A teacher in the Meridian Joint School District, Eaton-Merkle thinks of herself as a "life-long learner" who sees unlimited possibilities for making learning stimulating and accessible to more people in the western end of Ada County. She envisions many caretakers for True North, people "who have a gift they want to share," and sees it evolving into an institution managed jointly with the learning center's instructors.

True North's creator comes by her talents naturally. Her mother is a retired English teacher, and her father is a true-to-life cowboy poet. She calls her father, who herded cattle on West Mountain, "the real deal."

A native of Emmett, Idaho, she completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Idaho, and was granted an MA in Creative Writing from Boise Statue University. She remembers ten years ago wishing there was a place like True North in her community, and believed that there was more than one way to be a teacher. Currently on a one-year leave of absence to volunteer in her children's school classrooms, Eaton-Merkle decided this was also the right time to open the center's doors.

Besides readying the facilities and planning classes of her own, Eaton-Merkle, a mother of three, is conducting open interviews with teachers and creative thinkers who would like to reserve space in the facility for classes and other activities. She says the curriculum is not limited--"anything is possible."

The calendar has filled quickly with photography, poetry, fiction, calligraphy, watercolor, study skills and college prep writing classes. Visit the Web site for a list of other creative workshops coming in the near future.

A poetry reading will take place February 8 at 7 p.m. Admission is free.True North Creative Learning Center is located at 150 E. Aikens Rd., Suite B, in Eagle. Eaton-Merkle can be reached for information concerning classes or teaching vacancies at 208-939-0385 or via e-mail at

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