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Idaho State University art students design mural as part of Pocatello Terry First Project

November 7, 2018

Photo of new murals.

POCATELLO ­– Pocatello’s First Avenue is now home to larger-than-life hummingbirds and honeybees thanks to the work of Idaho State University Department of Art painting students.

The students installed three murals on the side of a building on the corner of First Avenue and Carter Street as part of the Terry First project, a collaboration between ISU and Old Town Pocatello.

“The murals, unlike the rest of the Terry First project, are permanent,” said Hannah Sanger, a member of the Terry First leadership team. “They are a lasting impact of this collaboration between the city, ISU, local landowners and community volunteers.”

Undergraduate and graduate painting students from all levels, art alumni, professors Laura Ahola-Young and Naomi Velasquez, adjunct professor Rebecca Merkley and local artist Lana Gribas worked on the murals. The murals were completed over four days and took over the floor in two studio classrooms. 

Students designed the entire display, composed of plant and animal species native to Idaho. Kianna Spillman researched and designed the flora and Bill Bybee the native bees. Ahola-Young wanted students to have artistic control over the murals.

The installation was intended to be temporary, but once building owner Don Aslett saw the finished product, he requested it become a permanent fixture and helped fund materials. President Kevin Satterlee, Associate Vice President for Facilities Services Cheryl Hanson and Facilities Services Director Jason Adams provided additional university support for the project.

The murals are just one design improvement installed in Old Town as part of the Terry First project, which aims to improve the streetscape of Terry Street and First Avenue and create a lively, traversable corridor between ISU and Old Town.

“The murals are also beautiful—they show us all how beauty can transform an area and are already inspiring ideas for more public art and ISU-city collaborations,” Sanger said. “It was magical to watch the murals plus a few trees, and the illusion of a green space, transform a block and draw in community members to engage with each other one Saturday afternoon.”





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