For the unfamiliar, Idaho Falls is home to The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho, The Willard Arts Center, a handful of commercial galleries, such as The Willow Tree Gallery and Elegance in Art and a number of alternative exhibition spaces and artist studios. Many of these spaces are near one another and within walking distance of Historic Downtown Idaho Falls. With a growing number of spaces participating in the Idaho Falls Gallery Walk, there is certain to be something for everyone. And aside from a little curiosity and a desire to experience something new, there are no prerequisites to participate in the gallery walk. Alone, with a friend, or in a group, T-shirts or dress suit, everyone is welcome.
For the east side resident, the evening might begin with a car full of good friends grabbing a convenient parking spot just off Yellowstone or in Historic Downtown Idaho Falls and heading over to Beverly Art Studio & Handmade Gallery at 365 B Street. New to the gallery walk this year, Beverly’s offers an eclectic mix of very affordable handmade items including paintings and jewelry.
At the Willard Arts Center, grab a few complimentary refreshments and a drink while experiencing works of art from artists around the country. The work might range from beautiful, large scale abstraction to interactive installation pieces. The crowd will be of modest size and probably eager to meet new friends or reconnect with old acquaintances.
Up the stairs is the Blake G Hall Gallery which typically features intimate solo exhibitions or group shows of local talent. Down the corridor are nine working artist studios. The WAC Artist Studios might be a bit lively, so a stop here will ruin a solemn mood! After seeing anything and everything in the studios, and while walking down A Street or Shoup towards Elegance in Art, the topic of discussion may quickly turn to which restaurant looks the most appetizing.
There are many great choices for post-gallery tour delights. And don’t forget to stop in at Marcellar’s Vintage Wine & Brews or Villa Coffeehouse where there will be great art, great people and great drinks. Other seasoned gallery tour-goers will have a suggestion or two, so an inquiry does not hurt and might turn up an additional dining companion.
The Eastern Idaho Photographic Society’s exhibition is up next. Stop in at The Bookstore on Broadway where their work will be rotating regularly throughout the summer. Photogs might want to consider joining this longstanding local artists association.
Next door, in the Catmull building, is Elegance in Art. Owner operator Karen Berggren often has large scale paintings and sculpture on display. Just down the street is the Willowtree Gallery, a pillar of Idaho Fall’s developing commercial gallery scene.
The art viewing portion of the evening might just peak with a visit to The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho, one of the city’s cultural gems. Inside is a diverse offering of visual art from local and national artists. The museum space, with its great location on the banks of the Snake River and its ambient light providing windows, is up to the task of showing some of eastern Idaho’s most significant exhibitions.
At last, the walking and touring portion of the evening is done, but the experience supplies great material for an evening ending dinner at one of the restaurants discovered earlier that night. But if there is still room for a little more art on the way home, stop over at Gallery 12 in Snake River Landing, where some of Idaho Fall’s most recognized artists display their paintings on a regular basis. Chances are, some of those artists will literally be out that night painting the town during the gallery walk.
The Idaho Falls Gallery Walk is for the adventurous spirit. Historic buildings, new friends, art that is sometimes beautiful and sometimes challenging along with a little exercise for the more intrepid will likely exhaust the body, but almost assuredly feed the soul.
Tour hours are from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information and a map of participating exhibition spaces, visit the Idaho Falls Arts Council’s website at www.idahofallsarts.org or look for the Idaho Falls Gallery Walk page on Facebook.