Turning up the volume for art venues in Driggs
June 30, 2010
Local art walk inspires patrons to cruise the core.
LEFT: Teri McLaren is flanked by the saxophone sounds of Makina Waatti and her son, Hunter. Surrounded by art and wanting to promote even more, McLaren has organized First Friday Art Walks with the aid of Mayor Dan Powers and others. CITIZEN PHOTO / HOPE STRONG
No one walks down Main Street in Driggs and mistakes it for the Champs-Elysees in gay Paris. You don’t take a right on Ski Hill Road and wonder if you’ve somehow ended up in Milan by mistake. And while you’re not likely to see a mime on the sidewalk in town or stumble across a Renoir while antiquing, the county seat will certainly get a kick out of a new idea to increase traffic downtown while simultaneously exposing more people to art.
First Friday Arts Walks was an idea that developed when Dorothy Galloway was patronizing Teri McLaren’s shop in Driggs, Local Yocals. Originally from Pocatello, Galloway described how business districts there were vitalized by bringing local artists in for show, demonstrations and performances.
“Art walks everywhere are a strong economic and social boost to communities,” McLaren said. “They provide benefits not just to businesses, but also to artists and patrons as well.”
McLaren took the idea of an art walk to Driggs Mayor Dan Powers, and the ball was rolling in the right direction. She put feelers out and quickly found that there was certainly no shortage of artists who wanted to become involved. Local businesses were just as enthusiastic to promote the arts while also increasing foot traffic across town.
“I went door to door and found that everyone was interested in supporting the idea of an art walk,” McLaren said. Powers took off his hat as mayor and donned his carpenter’s cap to build 18 signs for the businesses that wanted to become a part of the First Friday Art Walks, and Jilly Bean of Wild Rose Rags committed to painting the uniform sandwich boards used to identify businesses in downtown Driggs that will be playing host to the Art Walk.
At one time a street artist in the edgy community of Greenwich Village, McLaren holds a degree from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. And it is clear that Driggs may not be the cultural hub of the universe, McLaren is working with others to redress any vacancies in the social network of downtown Driggs by creating venues for art whenever established businesses already operate.
“Our community is so rich in culture already, I think it’s going to be easy," McLaren said with regard to exposing more people to art while promoting businesses in the process.
Starting this Friday, July 2, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m., all 18 Driggs businesses that are involved in the Art Walk will offer refreshments to those pedestrian purveyors who are patronizing the program that will be featured again on Friday, August 6 and again on September 3.
This Friday the following businesses will pair with these artists to enhance the down town core:
Alpine Wine-Art Association Presentation (Wine Tasting), Big Hole Music- Guitar and Vocals by Mathias and Mersadee, Barrels and Bins- Diane Perry with wire jewelery, Cocoa Grove- TBA, Curves- Welding sculpture demonstration by Dan Mercil and live parade float decorating by the ladies of curves, Dark Horse Books- Art Work by renowned nature and wild life artist Guy Loomis, Dreamchasers Outdoor Adventures- H.G. Photography as well as art work by Anabella Batchen, Game On- sidewalk chalk drawing, Guchibirds- Chuck Spray on guitar, Local Yocals Art Emporium- Music by Sweet Thursday 4 to 6 p.m. and Music by the Cadillac’s 6 to 8 p.m., Milk Creek Grill- performance by local singer/song writer/guitarist, Mary Schrom, Pierson Landworks- TBA, Rusty Nail- presentation by Jeff Wilhite with Snake River Rustic Art, Tony’s Pizza and Pasta- live music, Trappers - TBA Wild Rose Rags- Dye Hemp Jewelry demo by Jilly Bean, Wrap and Roll - Mosaic art demonstration and exhibit by Janet Dempsey.
Maps to participating businesses can be obtained at Local Yokals, located across the street from the Driggs Post Office.