IDAHO FALLS — If you’ve been out and about in Idaho Falls, you’ve probably noticed the downtown area is becoming more and more colorful. A number of alleyways are now adorned with murals that spotlight why residents love east Idaho so much.
The murals are part of “Living Walls – Idaho Falls,” a project the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation is realizing through their Public Art Committee.
“Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation (IFDDC) promotes and supports downtown Idaho Falls,” IFDDC Executive director Catherine Smith told EastIdahoNews.com. “With that as the core of the mission for the organization we are always looking for projects and ideas to draw people into downtown. Around the country and even close to home, public art is a big part of downtowns.”
“Living Walls” started in 2018 with the Public Art Committee weighing their options and determining that installing murals would be their focus for the foreseeable future. Since then, the project has installed four murals throughout downtown Idaho Falls.
In the beginning, the IFDDC put out a call for talented local artists who could create designs and artwork for the murals.
“We received over 70 applications collectively between the 4 projects and selected 4 local artists from what was submitted,” Smith said. “It was important for us to work with local artists because the talent here in our area is extraordinary and we want to focus on all things local.”
Along with the murals installed through “Living Walls,” downtown Idaho Falls is also home to Pugsslane Artists Alley, a vividly colorful, constantly changing art project.
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“Pugsslane was created by Gibby Smede as a project for her Senior Project at Compass Academy,” Smith said. “Pugsslane has taken off and evolves almost daily. We are VERY excited about the project, and we support the organizers of that space in every way we can.”
Smith said that public art projects like these are a vital part of developing a vibrant and thriving downtown area.
“Public art creates a ‘place of space’ for our locals and tourists,” she said. “It communicates to downtown visitors and patrons that we have a creative and innovative downtown and that people care. It’s crucial to keeping our downtown unique and inspiring to those who work and visit downtown regularly along with those who stop in on vacation.”
Smith said more art projects are planned for downtown Idaho Falls. These artistic creations will include more than just murals.
“We are working on many more projects to come,” she said. “This will include sculptures and more murals. As soon as we are through this COVID-19 situation, we’ll be launching a project for a mural to commemorate the INL’s 75th Anniversary. The INL provided us with funding to complete this mural and it’s going to be incredible.”
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“Any artist who is interested in getting involved can participate by responding to the Call to Artists we release for each project,” Smith added. “Also, any artist can contact me directly for any questions and I’ll work with our Public Art Committee. We always love to hear of ideas or suggestions as well.”
You can keep tabs in “Living Wall – Downtown Idaho Falls” by following the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation Facebook page. You can contact Catherine Smith directly at the IFDDC at (208) 535-0399.