The ISU Department of Art recently announced plans for two community art projects. The projects are each being led by art professor Doug Warnock and students Kristol Coker and Rebecca Merkley.
Coker will be the principal artist on the project entitled “Voice of Pocatello: Past and Future,” with help from Warnock, Merkley, and graduate student Joe Pehrson.
The project, which will be installed in Caldwell Park, will consist of five boulders arranged in a circle to resemble a campfire. With assistance from the Pocatello Zoo, the artists will secure bronze castings of native animal tracks to the boulders. Additionally, handprints from one male and one female fourth grade student from each elementary school in Pocatello will be cast and intermingled with the animal tracks on the boulders.
A bronze plaque on one of the rocks would dedicate the sculpture in addition to containing a quick response bar code, which viewers can scan on their smartphone to pull up information about the animal species as well as a numerical map of the handprints.
According to the proposal for the project, it will be “designed to enhance the park’s beauty, contribute to the enjoyment of the public and create a sense of place in the community.”
Warnock and Coker initially submitted a grant proposal of $26,196 for this project to the Bistline Foundation in late 2016, it was rejected. However, last spring they resubmitted the proposal for $5,00 and were approved. They plan on submitting other grant applications to secure the remainder of the funding necessary for the project.
Coker added that local businesses have offered to donate time and money to ensure the project’s fulfillment and Pehrson and she have started a campaign to publicize the project.
“Publicity of [this] project will highlight ISU’s facilities and capabilities,” Coker said. “And we will create an interesting, discovery-oriented large scale public art installation that will benefit our community. Educational capabilities are enhanced through the use of a QR code and a website detailing the animals whose prints are both visibly and tactically accessed on the piece. The District 25 summer lunch program occurs at Caldwell Park, so this piece can touch kids that might not be able to visit a zoo or museum.”
The second project, an LGBTQ memorial sculpture, will feature Merkley as the principal artist.
The sculpture will be located outside the All Under One Roof LGBT Center on Main Street. According to the project description, it will be dedicated to the memory of a local woman who killed herself after being victim to anti-LGBTQ bullying.
The sculpture will be constructed from molds of community members’ arms and hands. The silicon bronze arms will be welded together to create a spiral form around 8 to 9 feet tall. Viewers will be able to stand within the sculpture, where poetry and messages of hope will be engraved on the arms. Additionally, there will be audio of the making of the sculpture as well as music from local musicians playing within the interior. This sculpture will also feature a quick response barcode, which, when scanned, will enable viewers to access a video the artistic team hopes to make concerning the creation of the sculpture as well as research and interviews with locals concerning the local attitude towards members of the LGBTQ community.
In conjunction with the sculpture, a Facebook community page will be developed by the artist team as a “safe place to discuss issues, link to resources and plan supportive events,” according to the project description.
Neither of these projects has an anticipated completion date, as they are both still awaiting further funding.