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ISU Department of Art receives grant to help with community art projects

October 2, 2017

POCATELLO – Idaho State University’s Department of Art has announced two new community art projects to take place in Pocatello, both incorporating generations and inclusion.

Photo of large rocks with art pieces on them.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 Zoo Idaho in Pocatello. 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. Handprint molds from one fourth-grade boy and girl in each of Pocatello’s elementary schools will be placed on the rock, as well as the footprints of animals like those featured at Zoo Idaho.

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

The second project will take place in conjunction with the All Under One Roof LGBT Gather Center. 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 have been lost due to anti-LGBTQ bullying, discrimination and suicide,” Merkley said. “We want to bring issues to light and inspire people to be involved and communicate with one another.”

The project collaborators want public involvement in creating the structure, including the incorporation of arm molds taken from survivors, their friends and families, public officials and other members of the community.

A calming, mellow soundscape will accompany the art to create an inviting place, as well as written poetry. The group also hopes 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 Warnock at warndoug@isu.edu or (208) 244-1261.