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A night of art and chili at ISU

Art a la carte
Works on display at ISU's Art a la carte fundraiser Thursday.

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - An evening of Art a la carte welcomed the community into Idaho State University’s art department Thursday.

The annual fundraiser highlights the work of those in the department and then auctions it off. On average, the event brings in between $3,000-5,000. Last year, the meant scholarships for 25 students. 

"And we’re not giving out like giants ones," Naomi Velasquez, the department chair, said, "because we’re trying to help a bunch of students and buy art supplies and materials and other things that are really expensive for art students." 

According to Velasquez, the event was started seven years ago by the department's previous chair.

"Tony Martin started it because we have four endowed scholarships for our department that are available every year, and they’re wonderful, but that’s not enough to serve a lot of students," Velasquez said. "It’s only four students every year that were getting scholarships. And we have about 70 majors." 

In addition to the returns from the silent auction, sales of homemade chili - a part of the fundraiser since year one - also go towards the students. 

"Everybody here makes some chili. So this year I made a vegetarian chili and a beer beef chili," Velasquez said.  

While very popular, the art is always a bigger draw than the food. 

"The chili is really about community building, but it’s the art that people are so generous and outbidding each other, so then we get into some bidding wars and that money just goes right to students."

The event tries a new theme each year to bring people in. This year, it’s a unique display of magnets and birdhouses.

"We love to engage with people about art, it’s what we do, it’s what we live and breathe, so it’s really nice to have people come and see what we do and what our students are doing, cause they’re very talented and we love to show them off." 

The department awards the students in April during the exhibition and scholarship competition.

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