Pocatello, Reason to Smile” is the theme of a new outdoor art gallery in Old Town. Many people would consider graffiti as vandalism, but one Pocatello building owner sees it as artistic expression.
“Painting on a wall, it does feel a little naughty,” local artist, Paige Webber said.
She is one of 30 who painted a mural on the back of the Cottonwood Junction building located parallel to Main Street.
She won’t be getting fined or going to jail for vandalism or graffiti. Instead, she is praised. It was a city-sponsored event that showcases local talent through an outdoor art gallery.
“I think it’s just inspiring to get art out there and to see everyone honing their craft,” Weber said.
“It’s the first time they’ve had something like this. That’s a great feeling for us to be involved at the ground level,” project coordinator, Heidi Yerbich said.
Graffiti is a criminal offense and is punishable by up to thousands of dollars in fines and can even result in jail time. However, old town Pocatello building owner and entrepreneur Michael Snyder sees graffiti as an opportunity.
“I always enjoyed outdoor art. I thought, Hey wouldn’t it be cool to have some outdoor art here?'”
The inspiration came from Boise’s iconic “Freak Alley.” There, art is appreciated and showcased in the middle of downtown.
“Hopefully it’ll build every year. We’ll get more people, we’ll get more buildings. We’ll see how it rolls,” Snyder said.
For now, art is limited to just one alleyway. However, local artists have already named it “Old Town Alley.”