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Exceptional Art at the WAC

Idaho Falls Arts Council unveils its 15th annual juried exhibition

Published in the May 2023 Issue Published online: May 10, 2023 Arts & Culture
Viewed 1357 time(s)



By Steve Smede

Art is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, but the task of finding it can be easy as pie thanks to established showcases like the The Idaho Falls National Exhibition.

On March 16, the Idaho Falls Arts Council launched its 15th annual professionally juried showcase at the Willard Arts Center, where it will run through May 28.

According to WAC curator Georgina Goodlander, the contest continues to grow in participation and its geographic footprint. “This year we received 386 entries from 143 artists in 26 states,” she said. “This is the second highest number of entries that we have ever received, and the highest number of states represented ever.”

Goodlander added that an estimated audience of 5,000-plus visitors attend the exhibition every year, and artists working in all mediums throughout the United States are invited to submit. Artworks are featured in a full color catalog and on the IFAC’s website (idahofallsarts.org), and the People’s Choice award winner is featured on all promotional materials for the next year.

For 2023, juror Anne Voillequé selected 52 artworks by 47 artists in 14 states to be in the exhibition.

“There was such an abundance of strong works in every media, that choosing just 52 became a daunting task,” Voillequé noted in her 2023 Juror’s Statement. “My first draft had 95 pieces, the second some 72 works. I created guidelines for myself, in that I also sought to create a balance in materials, media and process. I found the experimentation of materials simply breathtaking.”

Four cash prizes went out for first place ($750), second place ($500), third place ($250), and Curator’s Choice ($125). Recognition also included four Honorable Mentions and a People’s Choice award.

Voillequé had plenty of kudos for the strongest entries in the 2023 exhibition:

  • “The works End of the Trail by Candy Raffaele, Landscape of Difference III by Rachelle Cooper, All it’s Cracked Up to Be by Brian Brown, Proper Adrift by Stacy Isenbarger, Grand Prismatic 2 by Russel R Lewis, Barn Owl by Corinne McAuley, and A Bird in Hand is Worth… by Dan G. all share imagination and untold beauty.”
  • “The photograph The Race by Angela R Roach, exudes the sweat, dust and power of the event. A wondrous beautiful image.”
  • “The swirling apparitions of Untitled by Sydney Pierce and the calm of Sunday Morning by Jeriann Sabin reminded me of a serene mysterious life of the spirit.
  • Immigrant Women Series: Xiao Bei by Yidan Guo, At the End of the Day by Bonnie Peacher, and Maude by Eileen Nistler could easily be interchanged for award places. They are simply stunning works in very difficult and unforgiving media. I was deeply moved by the expert rendering of these works.”

Want to check out the exhibition in person? The Willard Art Center and its galleries are located at 498 A Street in Historic Downtown Idaho Falls. The juried exhibition in the Hall and Carr galleries is open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Mon-Thurs, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Fri and 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sat.

“Ultimately, as artists, we would like our work to be memorable. It is an act of trust to experience the world through someone else’s eyes,” Voillequé added. “Some say art is visual poetry, and good work should reveal something new, challenge preconceptions, and enhance our lives.”

On the heels of the juried exhibition the WAC’s Carr and Hall galleries will feature Elemental: Avianne, Beth Trott, Gary Peer and Michael Norsk, which will run June 2-Aug. 28.

For more information, visit idahofallsarts.org or call 208-522-0471.

Top Entries: 2023 Idaho Falls National Exhibition

  • First Place ($750): Immigrant Women Series – Xiao Bei by Yidan Guo
  • Second Place ($500): At the End of the Day by Bonnie Peacher
  • Third Place ($250): Maude by Eileen Nistler
  • Secret Admirer Award ($250): O Kriolú (Cape Verdean Fisherman) by Rett Longmore
  • Curator's Choice ($125): Impala with Pink Swirl by Melissa Thompson
  • Honorable Mentions: All It’s Cracked Up to Be by Brian Brown, Endangered Natural State by Abigail Henthorne, Defiance – Portrait of Tigre from Life by Arena Shawn, The Race by Angela R Roach, and The Secret Admirer Award by Rett Longmore

About IFAC

Since its founding in 1990, the Idaho Falls Arts Council has committed to hosting an array of events, arts, performances, and venues to feature local and international talent within Idaho Falls and its surrounding areas. Now consisting of the Willard Arts Center, the historic Colonial Theater, the ARTitorium, and the Civic Center, these settings provide the means to have an annual impact of $2.7 million on the local community in the form of art galleries, 10-16 mainstage shows, eight visual arts exhibitions, and community events all year long. The continued support of its staff members and volunteers accommodate the thousands of individuals who partake in the local arts community.

Source: idahofallsarts.org

Want to throw your artistic hat in the ring for 2024? Applications for the Idaho Falls National Exhibition typically open in October and close in mid January, and artists will be notified of selections by mid February. Visit idahofallsarts.org for more information.

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