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Idaho State University

ISU Art Department Receives Grant to Help with Community Art Projects

ISU Art Department Receives Grant to Help with Community Art Projects

The Department of Art has announced two new community art projects to take place in Pocatello, both incorporating generations and inclusion.

The projects are being led by ISU art professor Doug Warnock and students Kristol Coker and Rebecca Merkley.

The first project is titled “Voice of Pocatello: Past and Future,” and will feature handprints of current Pocatello elementary students and animals at the Pocatello zoo. The project is being partially funded by the F.M., Anne G., and Beverly B. Bistline Foundation.

The sculptural design will consist of five large boulders from the historic Bonneville Flood. The molds of one fourth-grade boy and girl’s handprints from each of Pocatello’s elementary schools will be placed on the rock, as well as the footprints of animals like those featured at the Pocatello zoo.

“Our goal is for people to come back in 50 years and say ‘these are my hands from when I was younger,’” said Coker. “Generations come and go, and this project will help share the knowledge when they leave.”

The second project will take place in conjunction with Main Steam Coffee in Old Town Pocatello. The goal for the project is to create a structure constructed of molds made one-by-one of participant's arms and hands emulating an embrace for the community to be enveloped in.

“The project will memorialize members of our community who we have lost because of anti-LGBTQ suicide,” said Merkley. “We want to bring issues to light, and inspire people to be involved and communicate with one another.”

The project collaborators want community involvement when creating the molds for the structure, including incorporating the handprints of friends and families of people who have lost loved ones, and the mayor and police chief.

A calming, mellow soundscape will accompany the art to create an inviting place, as well as written poetry. Organizers also hope to create a moderated Facebook group to help address further issues.

“We want to signal that there is a safe place here,” Warnock said. “This is particularly for people who don’t receive as much support as they need. We want to do our part.”

Both projects are on the ground floor, as they are looking to secure more funding. For more information about the community art projects, contact Doug Warnock at or (208) 244-1261.