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Art in Old Town Pocatello gets funding for outdoor gallery

Old Town Pocatello is brightening up its alleyways with some local art.

Thanks to a $1,000 grant from the Pocatello Arts Council, community artists are turning the alleyway behind Cottonwood Junction, 141 N. Main St., into an outdoor gallery.

“We’re pretty excited because it’s public art in our little town of Pocatello,” said Paige Weber, a local artist and member of the Pocatello Arts Council.

Old Town Alley: a Pocatello Urban Art Exhibit” is one of the first of its kind in Pocatello.

“I’m working on a hummingbird and a lotus flower. Hummingbirds bring hope and joy, and we have a lot of hummingbirds in this area, actually,” Weber said.

Weber is one of about a dozen local artists who are painting murals for the alley, following the theme of “Pocatello, a Reason to Smile.”

“We have a lot of interesting local artists participating in this first year,” said Heidi Yerbich, lead artist and project coordinator. “It will be fascinating to see how they interpret the theme. It is also beautiful to see the Pocatello art scene expand, making art more accessible in the community.”

“I chose mine because there is a ranch outside of town where they band hummingbirds, and so I thought, ‘Hey, that’s pretty appropriate for Pocatello, and it’s a beautiful bird,'” Weber said. “Also, I have the lotus down there because the lotus grows out of the mud and seeks the beauty, so there’s hope there.”

The street exhibit is modeled after Boise’s Freak Alley Outdoor Gallery, which is said to be the largest outdoor gallery in the Northwest, according to its website.

The founder of the Freak Alley Gallery, Colby Akers, will be in Pocatello all week to encourage the artists and even paint a panel of his own.

“It really is promoting public art in Pocatello, and I think that’s so important. We have so many diverse arts here, but we need a little more visual art, and this gives us an opportunity to meet a lot of other artists and have them share their work and their voice, as well,” Weber said.

On Aug. 12 at 10 a.m., there will be a Break Out the Paints event where the public is invited to check out the artists’ work.

Following the kickoff event, artists will continue to paint their individual mural panels until Sunday, Aug. 18. The finished works will make their official debut Monday, Aug. 19 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. At the event, attendees can meet the artists and light refreshments will be served.

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