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Art Where?

IPTV beautifies conference room while exposing local artists

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At my college graduation, Ted Koppel assured my class that in a few years, we'd forget who spoke at our graduation. Sorry, Ted, it's been more than a few years, and I remember your mortarboard falling off, too. And I was hung over.

I disagree with Koppel. The big events of life are easy to recollect; it's the details of everyday things that I have trouble remembering. For instance, without looking under my desk, I have no idea what sneakers I'm wearing. And I do not remember what's hanging on the walls of the office conference room, in which I had a meeting just yesterday and was certainly not drunk.

I'm sure that if my sneakers were not designed by Nike (I think) but rather, say, Claude Monet, I'd likely pay more attention. Mundane by definition is mundane because it's the practical details, not the riveting ones. So it's a thoughtful idea to try and make the unexciting more special, which is what Idaho Public Television is doing.

Right now, nine large, framed and beautiful works by Boise fine art landscape photographer Tim Buckley grace the walls of the Idaho Public Television's windowless conference room. It's all a part of a new program-a revolving gallery that the agency implemented to give local artists exposure, as well as to rectify the problems of nasty tedium in a blah boardroom.

"In terminally long meetings, it's nice to look around and get a sense there's a world out there," says Bruce Reichert, executive producer of local productions for IPTV and the brains behind this new gesture.

"We have this room that gets used a lot," Reichert says. "And I was tired of looking at old awards on the walls."

The exhibition idea was born when Reichert met Buckley at ArtSource Gallery, a local artists-owned gallery. "I'm a big fan of First Thursdays-and it's not just because you can get free wine and food. I like to walk around and look at the art."

You can't get wine or food at IPTV (though they have coffee), but the non-stop use of the conference room is a plus for interested artists. "Sometimes there is so much traffic (in the conference room) that even we can't use it," Reichert says, laughing ironically.

It's true. At that moment, a handful of pros from the Department of Environmental Quality descended on the room for a meeting. Besides the DEQ, the building on Orchard and Fairview sits amid a block of state and federal agencies that all use the IPTV conference room, including Water Resources, Idaho Bar Association, Idaho CPA Association, Idaho Press Club Board and a number of other community groups.

Buckley and ArtSource are the conduit in providing works. "Through ArtSource, we have a rotating, evolving group of art and artists who, if they want to, can put their work up on the walls for a month," says Molly Hill, a production department clerical assistant at IPTV and also a local painter involved in the project.

Buckley's display is only the second installment, and they aren't sure who will be up next. The program is in its elementary stages. "The first work we had were three artists, two watercolorists and Tim's photographs," Hill says. "How the work is selected and whose work is chosen is still kind of evolving. We're deciding as we go."

The agency will see how the idea will play out publicly, but in the meantime, IPTV is now working on a documentary on Idaho photographers that will air Sunday, December 4. Maybe it'll get picked up by Nightline.