Idaho Arts Quarterly » East Idaho

Fall 2006 Report

East Idaho

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New Book Released About Photographer of Pocatello Indians

Back in 1894, photographer Benedicte Wrensted and her mother left their home in Denmark--and Wrensted's successful photography business--to settle with Wrensted's brothers in the United States. They ended up in Pocatello, where Wrensted opened up shop once again, taking professional portraits of locals.

In a new release that's part art book, part history book and part anthropology text, A Danish Photographer of Idaho Indians: Benedicte Wrensted, on University of Oklahoma Press, author and anthropologist Joanna Cohan Scherer collects 176 of Wrensted's photographs of Pocatello-area Native Americans, taken at the turn of the 20th century (Wrensted retired from photography in 1912).

This is not Scherer's first Wrensted project. While she was researching photographs for the Smithsonian's Handbook of North American Indians in 1984, she came across some anonymous photo plates of Idaho Native Americans. Scherer later recognized some of these same photographs in the Bannock County Historical Society's collection. This was the impetus that led Scherer to embark on a 10-year project to learn about the life of Wrensted and many of her subjects. She went on to curate an exhibit of Wrensted's photographs in an exhibit called "Benedicte Wrensted: An Idaho Photographer in Focus" and sponsored by the Idaho Humanities Council, the Idaho Museum of Natural History, the Bannock County Historical Society and Museum, the CHC Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution.

Founder of Pocatello's Cre-Act School Takes Leave

As we reported in the last issue of Idaho Arts Quarterly (June 7, "Cre-Act School in Pocatello Lives to See Another Year"), this has been a rough year for the Cre-Act School, a private, arts-based Franciscan school for kids K through 6 in Pocatello. The school almost shut for the 2006-2007 school year, but a Hail Mary from the Franciscan Council, due in large part to donations from the community and attention from local media, kept the school open.

Even though the school will open this fall as usual, they'll do so with a key figure missing. One of the school's founders, educator Sister Dorothy Prokes, will take a leave of absence while she spends a year traveling and writing a book on her teaching methods, which she has shaped at Cre-Act since 1975. There is no word on whether Prokes will return after the leave of absence. She is 86 years old.

Art in Action With Plein Air Painters

The Plein Air Painters of Idaho formed to promoting the practice of plein-air painting--that's French for "full air" and refers to outdoor, on-location painting--among Idaho's artists at scenic locations statewide. Fresh off a successful event at Redfish Lake from August 29 through September 1, their next "paint out" will be at in Driggs, September 16 through 18. Maps of set sites where people can find the artists working will be available from the Teton Arts Council at 8 Rodeo Road in Driggs--call (208) 354-4278 or e-mail info@tetonartscouncil.com for more detail.

The group paints during the daylight hours, typically about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the public is invited to drop by and see what plein air painting is all about.

To find out more about PAPI, visit www.pleinairpaintersofidaho.org.

Arts Instructors Can Get Help from TAC

Artsy-types in the Driggs area who want to teach what they know can get an assist from the Teton Arts Council. According to their Web site at www.tetonartscouncil.com, "If you are providing art classes or would like to teach a class, TAC will help you promote your class offering on our Web site and any print promotions we are doing." All they want is a short written description, the pricing and contact information for those interested.

TAC's Community Art Center, located at 8 Rodeo Road in Driggs, will also provide "very low cost" rental space for arts classes and presentations. TAC would have potential instructors note particular demand for classes in digital photography, acting, marketing for artists, performance in dance and singing, and music lessons. They are working to raise money for a darkroom and pottery space. For more information, call (208) 354-4278 or e-mail info@tetonartscouncil.com.

Idaho Falls Arts Council Seeking Volunteers

The TAC giveth, and so the Idaho Falls Arts Council taketh away. Or at least, they're asking for community volunteers to step up. (We've mentioned this before, but they're still looking, so here's a reminder, arts patrons of eastern Idaho.)

The IFAC is seeking, as always, civic- and arts-minded folks to volunteer their time at the Willard Arts Center and the Colonial Theater. People are needed in such capacities as ushers in the Colonial Theater, gallery docents at the Carr Gallery and even to perform clerical tasks for the IFAC, like stuffing envelopes or sorting mailings.

Volunteer gallery docents greet and educate visitors in two-hour weekly or monthly shifts. For more information about the position, contact Grey Gardner at (208) 522-0471, ext. 102, or e-mail ggardner@idahofallsarts.org.

Theater ushers greet and assist patrons. To find out more, contact Erik Stevens at (208) 522-0471, ext. 108 or e-mail: estevens@idahofallsarts.org.

More about the Idaho Falls Art Council and the Colonial Theater and Willard Arts Center Carr Gallery is available on the Web at www.idahofallsarts.org.