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Sidewalk Art Festival brings artist and art lovers together

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saf 2021

Dozens of artists gathered on the Idaho Falls Greenbelt this past weekend for the annual Sidewalk Art Festival.

The festival, staged by the Eagle Rock Art Guild, gave artists from across the region a venue to sell their work, check out the work of their peers and draw inspiration from one another. It also demonstrated the wide range of creative people working in the arts locally and provided a chance for art lovers and artists to interface, all while allowing the community to show their appreciation for the artists and their creations.

“I was supposed to show in two shows last year which both got canceled because of COVID,” Idaho Falls-based mixed media artist Callie Klinger told EastIdahoNews.com. “So we were excited to be able to come and meet people and display what I’ve done and see everybody else’s work. It’s really fun to come and be able to share creativity with so many talented people.”

Callie Klingler

The show featured the work of painters, photographers, sculptures and everything in between. Artists participating in the show came not only from the Idaho Falls area but from other parts of the West. These artists were drawn to this event for a multitude of reasons.

“(Sidewalk Art Festival) has a really nice venue, here by the river,” said watercolor artist Renae Hill of Emmett. “People are so positive here. It’s my hometown, I grew up here. It’s just the venue is really the best. Nice venue and nice people. And I do well at this show.”

“I’ve been coming (to the Sidewalk Art Festival) for probably twenty years,” said Montana-based photographer Scott Wheeler. “It’s a pleasant setting here on the river. It’s not too far from where I live. I try to do shows within about a 200 or mile-radius of my house. This fits that bill so I’ve been coming back for quite a while.”

While many of the artists at this year’s show have been coming for some time, there were also some who were having their first experience at the Sidewalk Art Festival.

Renae Hill

“This is my very first art show ever, so this is completely new to me,” said pastel artist Elena Johnson of Idaho Falls. “I wanted a new challenge. I primarily do commissions and a lot of online sales and I wanted something new, something different to work towards. So I set myself a goal, saw this show and decided to go for it.”

“So far, it’s been great feedback,” she added. “I love interacting with people. I’m surrounded by talent so it’s been amazing to see everybody else’s work. So far, it’s been very positive.”

Whether newcomer or veteran of Sidewalk Art Festival, artists remarked on the benefits of talking face-to-face with potential customers and how doing so helps enrich the lives of all involved.

“I love to talk about my art,” Hill said. “It’s really gratifying to have people enjoy it and feed their souls. That’s kind of the goal. People like to see the artist. They like to see me work on my art and it’s just better to meet in person.”

“I do like the interaction with people,” said Wheeler. “I don’t know that I think of it as part of the creative process too much but it’s part of the thing (being an artist). So, I enjoy it when someone likes what I do.”

The interaction between artists and art aficionados also helps people to understand one another, strengthening bonds to our culture and other people.

“If you just look around and see how many people are here, it just shows that people enjoy this kind of thing,” said Klingler. “It’s something that they can bring their families to pick up a piece of art or a little something to take home and create a memory for their family.”

“Having the support of a local community is really important because it tells you that what you do matters,” Johnson added. “That’s why we do art in the first place: to get the emotion flowing out of people. When you get that reassurance, that ‘Yes, you’re doing a great job,’ and everybody’s supporting everybody, it brings people closer together. And especially in today’s world, we really need that.”

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