Shrinking Violet Blooming 

What's up in eastern Idaho's art galleries

When speaking with Blackfoot artist Richard Bingham about the visual arts scene in eastern Idaho, he invoked the image of a "shrinking violet" to describe the lower profile of the arts in that end of the state, a syndrome that perhaps needs overcoming. As with the rest of Idaho--especially those areas with thriving university hubs--eastern Idaho does indeed have a lot going on in the arts. The rest of the state just doesn't know about it.

"The rest of the state" certainly includes Boise and Boise Weekly, but we're aiming to shed a little light on that violet, both for the sake of the arts there and for our edification here. Much of the visual arts are highlighted due to the community presence of Idaho State University and its gallery system, but that's not all. The following is just a sampling of some of the places around that far right border where you can go to get your art on. There really is something for everyone, if you just look.

Cordillera Gallery

Owner Will Peterson, a local poet and writer, opened the gallery in November of 2004, with the idea of having a gallery not beholden to academic politics. Sharing a space with Peterson's book store, the Walrus and Carpenter (which has been in operation for 18 years), Cordillera Gallery specializes in no specialities--the exhibits run the gamut in tastes and media. The December-January exhibition is a photography exhibit of Craters of the Moon from central Idaho to the Snake River, with pictures by Tim Frazier (a professor of photography at Idaho State), Roger Bow, M.D., and Scott Hughes (a professor of geology at Idaho State). Then in February and March, the gallery will feature "The Idaho Nude" in all media.

Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat., closed Sunday. 251 N. Main St., Pocatello. 233-0821.

John B. Davis Gallery

Located on the lower level, northeast corner of the Fine Arts Building and part of the Idaho State University fine arts department, the gallery puts on both outside and student shows in the space. Outside exhibits focus on artists who can show and deliver lectures that connect to the arts program and arts education, says Gallery Director Amy Jo Johnson. Each ISU student must do a show in order to graduate from the arts program. Besides local and student shows, the gallery sometimes holds juried exhibitions, such as the yearly spring undergrad show, which is juried by an outside judge. Winners are awarded prizes, cash and scholarships. The gallery also functions as a contribution to the local arts culture and is free and open to the public.

Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri. from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed weekends. Idaho State University, Fine Arts Building No. 11, lower level (P.O. Box 8004), Pocatello. 208-282-3341. www.isu.edu/art/galleries.shtml.

Eagle Rock Art Museum

Ten years in the planning, this city art museum opened in October of 2002 as a cooperative effort between the city of Idaho Falls and the Eagle Rock Art Guild. First conceived by members of the guild, they created a building committee, began fundraising and building the facility, with the time, effort and money of many local artists, foundations, corporations and citizens. The guild gifted the completed building to the city. The museum's focus is to serve the region as an art museum and to house the Eagle Rock Art Guild and its community programs.

300 S. Capital Ave., Idaho Falls. 208-524-7777. www.eaglerockartmuseum.org.

Elegance In Art

This gallery features limited edition and numbered canvases, giclees, serigraphs and lithographs, as well as open edition prints. They also feature collectible reproductions of original oil paintings by nationally-known artists. Original works by local artists also available, including visual art but also original pottery, jewelry and sculpture. Custom framing is available.

Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri., 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Sundays. 343 A St., Idaho Falls. 208-523-7765. www.eleganceinartgallery.com.

Idaho State University: The Minds Eye Gallery and The Transition Gallery

Both the Minds Eye and the Transition galleries are included in Idaho State University's Student Union Building and overseen by the ASISU Program Board. Both galleries host touring art exhibitions as well as Idaho State student art shows.

The Minds Eye Gallery generally plays host to smaller more intimate shows usually composed of photographs and drawings.

The Transition Gallery is known more for its spacious arena, which provides a display for a wide range of mediums. Featuring a hanging display system and plenty of space--roughly 140 linear feet for display space and an area of approximately 1,855 square feet--for both 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional artwork.

Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Mon.-Thur., 7-9 p.m. lower level of the Earl R. Pond Student Union at Idaho State University, Pocatello. 208-282-3451. www.isu.edu/stunion/gallery/index.shtml.

Pocatello Art Center

The Pocatello Art Center features monthly displays of original art works, including traveling exhibitions, invitationals and juried shows. One purpose of the PACE is to allow art students to hang their work alongside professional artists, to encourage new artists. Each month's exhibit has a theme. The PAC also offers various classes throughout the year to people of all skill levels. In addition, PAC features a Second Thursday program with arts lectures or demonstrations by local artists (open to the public and beginning at 7 p.m.). Winter classes begin in January. Call PAC for more information.

Gallery hours: Tue.-Fri. from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Sat. from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Closed on Sun., Mon. and holidays. 444 N. Main St., Pocatello, ID. 208-232-0970.

Shoshone-Bannock TriBal Museum

This museum is a step into the past, with its collection of photographs dating back to 1895, artifacts from the site of the old Fort Hall and other tribal exhibits. Many of the items on display come from community members' donated and loaned photos and heirlooms. Built in 1985, after a several year closure, the museum opened again in 1993 with the help of many volunteers in the community. Through old photographs, displays and exhibits visitors learn about the Shoshone-Bannock people who lived and settled the area around eastern Idaho. The museum also sells authentic arts and crafts made by tribal members, as well as books about the Shoshone-Bannock and other North American Indian Tribes.

Museum hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is $2 for adults, 50 cents for children and Native American Indians with Tribal ID card get in free. 793 Simplot Rd., Fort Hall. 208-237-9791. www.sho-ban.com/trade.htm.

Willowtree Gallery

This gallery features a variety of original art and sculptures by local and regional artists. They also offer a large selection of limited edition prints, posters, and unique books and gifts. Custom framing is available.

Gallery hours: Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Sundays. 210 Cliff St., Idaho Falls. 208-524-4464. www.thewillowtreegallery.com.

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