Art is empowering. At least, that’s what the volunteers, members, and staff at The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho believe. Art is a piece of history. It shows emotion, represents cultures, and tells unbelievable stories. Whether you are creating a work of art yourself or you are admiring the work of others, it’s likely that you have felt a spark of the empowerment that art creates.
The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho in Idaho Falls has been temporarily closed since March 17, 2020, due to COVID-19. They will be closed until further notice. However, despite COVID-19, the volunteers and staff of The Art Museum (TAM) feel that it is important that visitors and members are still able to enjoy art.
Even though the museum is closed, they remain active on their social media accounts, encouraging people to make their own art while they are in quarantine or while social distancing. They have been highlighting their staff, some of the art in their collection, and have organized a virtual tour of their newest exhibit.
To honor and celebrate the United State’s 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage, TAM is highlighting all works of art in their permanent collection that are done by female artists. The mediums range from paintings, sculptures, and clothing design. The exhibition is available for virtual guests to tour online and features works of art from more than 50 female artists.
When guests take a virtual tour of the exhibition from a desktop, a 3D screen appears which allows them to “move” around the museum just by clicking. You can move closer to the works of art and even read the description of the piece and artist. There are three alcoves with art, along with the main lobby featuring a few pieces.
Some of the artwork in the collection was gifted to TAM, like the “Toulouse-Lautrec” in Watercolor by Suzanne Fonnesbeck. Suzanne Fonnesbeck was one of the Eagle Rock Art Guild’s original founding members and first president. She passed away in 2004. Her piece is wonderfully colorful and radiant, with dark strokes amidst the swirling watercolor. It was gifted by the Edward Schroeder Estate.
Another gift to the collection is the “Woman and Child” sculpture done in concrete by Marilyn Hoff Hansen. Marilyn is a native Idahoan and set up her studio in a former dairy barn on her husband’s farm. The barn is now a local art center and home to many pieces of her artwork. The sculpture provides a sense of awe and peace as you admire the leaning woman with the child in her lap. It’s truly incredible that the piece was made with concrete. The piece was gifted to TAM’s permanent collection by Jerry Brady. While on the virtual tour, you’ll find another sculpture by Marilyn Hoff called “Woman Contemplating her Tour,” done in bronze.
For parents staying at home with their children while schools are closed, this virtual exhibition may be an exciting opportunity to learn more about art. If you aren’t homeschooling or being homeschooled, you might still enjoy this opportunity to view marvelous works of art and to feel like you are really visiting TAM.
Despite all the disappointment and panic of COVID-19, TAM has managed to bring a smile to faces as they’ve shared highlights of the 2020 Young at Art exhibit on their Facebook and Instagram pages. The Young at Art exhibit showcases young artists from schools in the east Idaho area. Since the Young at ART showcase was cut short, TAM chose to spotlight a piece of artwork from each school that participated in the exhibit. Some of the many schools involved were the Dora Erickson Elementary School in Idaho Falls, Swan Valley Elementary School, and Eagle Rock Middle School. These young artists showed true artistic talent with their bright, bold, and fun works of art. Sharing these works on their social media platforms empowers other artists to create even in times of distress.
TAM works hard to support artists and teachers in learning and trying new things. They’ve cultivated resources for teachers on how to paint a self-portrait, sculpt with nature, create a clay tile, paint a cityscape, create a foil relief, make mobile, or to create a landscape or collage. These resources are available as PDF documents for teachers, or anyone to use and enjoy. Since parents have recently become teachers, try incorporating one of these in your child’s school lessons. This can help to spark creativity and a love of art in your children. Each PDF lists what supplies you’ll need and how to complete the project. Share your finished projects online and tag TAM in your post!
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, classes and events at TAM have been canceled for the time being. Usually, there are classes for kids, teens, adults, families, artists, teachers, and seniors, as well as events throughout the year at TAM.
There are two studio classes that are very exciting for adults. They include an open studio for un-instructed drawing and painting. This studio class features a live model. The other studio class for adults (or for anyone older than 16) is a clay option. In the clay studio, people learn to throw pots on a pottery wheel along with the hand-building and glazing techniques for creating unique and functional pottery pieces.
The youth classes teach color theory, line, texture, and form through drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculptural processes. Typically in the summer, there are two, four-day ARTreck camps for kids ages 6 to 13. During these camps, young artists will explore new methods of creating art.
Each of these classes includes a studio fee and seats are typically limited. If you are interested in any future classes for your child or yourself, plan ahead and contact TAM early when they reopen.
From April 23 to May 7, TAM has been highlighting Idaho Gives. Idaho Gives is a fundraiser for Idaho’s nonprofit groups, including TAM. As of May 7, the group had raised $2,770 from 28 donors. This money helps TAM continue after school and summer art camp for kids, offer scholarships for youth classes, and send museum educators to classrooms in eastern Idaho to teach hands-on art lessons to students. Charitable funds also subsidize school field trips for low-income and rural schools, provide workshops for artists, and it helps them rotate exhibits they show in the museum.
TAM relies on charitable funds in order to give back to the community. If you missed the opportunity to donate money during the two-week celebration of Idaho Gives, you can still donate to the 2020 TAM fund. Donations for the 2020 fund “plays a significant role in your art museum’s sustainability now and into the future.”
Those looking to offer their support can also help by sponsoring an exhibit or event at TAM. TAM also accepts donations of art to sell at future fundraising events or to show as part of its permanent collection. They also accept donations to the Gabrielle fund to provide educational art opportunities for teens and children in eastern Idaho.
The best way you can support The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho is by visiting the museum, following them on their social channels, and sharing the museum with others. Empower your inner artist by admiring the work The Art Museum has on display!