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Our mission is "to provoke and stimulate the imagination while opening hearts and minds through excellence in diverse arts programming."
We do this by offering exhibitions, lectures, classes and performing arts events that touch on issues relevant to our times and by bringing some of the world's most interesting artists, writers and thinkers to our small community in central Idaho.
We care about arts education and are committed to partnering with local schools to bring artists and authors into the schools. The Center's outreach programs supplement the school curriculum with in school classes and workshops, many of which are offered free of charge to area students and teachers.
We also sponsor a robust scholarship program that, since 1999, has given more than $341,000 to over 200 local students and educators. Funds for scholarships come from The Center's annual Wine Auction and private donors.
Over the course of a typical year The Center's activities include:
- Unique, nationally recognized multidisciplinary programming that explores themes and topics of relevance to our times and of interest to our community through the visual arts, performing arts and education and humanities.
- Original visual arts exhibitions (in addition to those developed in connection with multidisciplinary projects) curated by staff or guest curators. Exhibitions range widely in scope, structure and subject and include works by nationally and internationally recognized contemporary artists. Some of these shows have traveled to other institutions in the West. Many well known artists have been shown at The Center including: Morris Graves, Kiki Smith, Walton Ford, Margarita Cabrera, Andy Goldsworthy, Shazia Sikander, Emmet Gowin, Jane Hammond, Xiaoze Xie, Paul Kos, Enrique Chagoya, Anslem Keifer, Kim Abeles and more.
- Performing arts events ranging from intimate jazz and chamber music concerts to modern dance and multimedia performances to large outdoor concerts with top entertainers that attract up to 3,000 people per event. Past performers include Bonnie Raitt, Lyle Lovett, Arlo Guthrie, Vienna Choir Boys, Neal Conan and Ensemble Galilei, Ailey II, Meredith Monk, Ethos Percussion Group, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars.
- Public lectures and visits by artists, authors, and world renowned scholars, many of whom also visit local schools or teach classes. Recent visitors include Scott Simon, Terry Tempest Williams, Louise Erdrich, E. O. Wilson, Stephen Lewis, Henry Louis Gates, Jr, Michael Pollen, Mary Oliver, Dan Cameron, William Kittredge and Barbara Ehrenreich.
- Classes for families and children, including free after school classes in English and Spanish and free family workshops that relate to The Center's current exhibitions. In addition, many of the valley's students regularly visit The Center on field trips.
- Classes for adults that run from one-night classes on mosaics and beading to week-long writing workshops with well-known authors like Danielle Trussoni and Anthony Doerr. Most classes are held at The Center's classroom in Hailey, which has a printing press, ample space for easels and 10 iMacs which are used for photography classes.
- More than $340,000 in scholarships over nine years to local students and teachers to further develop their artistic talents through specialized studies.
- Free professional development workshops for area teachers.
- One of the country's top-ranked Arts & Crafts Festivals, which features 130 artists and attracts more than 7,000 visitors.
- An annual Wine Auction that raises more than half The Center's budget and is consistently ranked among the nation's Top 10 Charity Wine Auctions by Wine Spectator magazine.
Close to 60 % of all Center programs-and 80% of children's programs-are free of charge.