I know 1513 N. 13th Street well-or so I thought. I walked right past the formerly vacant space in the heart of Hyde Park while looking for Boise's newest gallery, aptly named the Gallery at Hyde Park. Then I noticed the ethereal lighting, the white wood floors, the "Early Prototype of the Patented Lillian Gish Time Machine" (courtesy of Mike McDougall). What once housed several restaurants was gutted and built into a spare, inviting space in which to view fine art created almost entirely by artists living within a one-mile radius.
The grand opening collection includes steelwork by Zella Bardsley, abstract paintings by Tarmo Watia, etchings by Megan Jensen, sculpture by August Johnson and landscape photographs by Michael Falvey. There are also "functional" items like ceramics, woven baskets, blown glass, handmade purses, jewelry and a line of original clothing by the gallery's co-owner, Art Widmar (also aptly named).
Art (21) and his brother Joe (24) are aspiring artists whose enterprising mother was kind enough to buy and renovate the gallery space as well as an adjacent piece of property that may one day house an eclectic boutique featuring her younger son's wearable creations.
The Widmars looked downtown for a good spot to promote local talent, but the area seemed as saturated as it was cramped and expensive. When they realized how many of Boise's recognized artists reside in the North End, they realized Hyde Park has always needed an art gallery to spice up its cultural stew. So after 10 months of planning and construction, the Gallery at Hyde Park opened its doors in May. They have yet to hold a grand opening (or "hoo-dee-doo," as Widmar calls it), but word of mouth and foot traffic have brought plenty of people off the hot summer streets into the cool, clean Mecca of local art.
"There's a need for more galleries like this everywhere in Boise. We're going for diversity, trying to bring in a little bit of everything, so Joe and I are open to the full spectrum of styles and mediums," Widmar said. Anyone can submit, but such a welcoming spirit by no means invites a lower quality product. "We can tell if the work required talent," Art chuckled.
In addition to showing works that will shift on a monthly basis, the Widmar brothers have the equipment and expertise to make giclee reproductions on request.
"Having the operation done in-house is a matter of quality. We work hands on with each artist to maintain the integrity of the original work," Joe Widmar stated in a recent press release. He and his brother hope to bring Hyde Park's neighborhood feel into sharing their appreciation with anyone who walks through their gallery door.
"We want it to have a neighborhood feel, a down to earth feel," Art said. "And there's definitely enough talent to keep us going for a long time."