Strolling or driving by the public library the other day, people might have seen folding chairs aligned on the sidewalk. However, these weren’t ordinary folding chairs.
On June 12-13, members in the Rexburg community viewed the drive-by art show, “Take a Seat!” on First North First West Street, hosted by the Rexburg Cultural Arts Center.
People could find a chair decorated with gaming boards and wires dangling from the sides, a chair covered in bright pink flowers from top to bottom or a pair of chairs disguised to look like a weekend fishing trip.
80 participants followed the theme of “community” by decorating chairs with flowers, glitter, fabric and much more. Some painted inspiring messages while others took funnier approaches. Many of the artists simply tried to showcase what they love or what community means to them.
Jed Platt, the Cultural Arts director of Rexburg, created the idea for the drive-by art show. During the remodeling of the Romance Theater, over 100 folding chairs became available. Instead of throwing them out, Platt had the idea to host the art show.
On June 5, members of the community selected folding chairs from the pick-up area near Broulim’s. The artists had about a week to come up with a concept and decorate their chairs.
“Art is important to our community because it helps tell our story,” Platt said. “There is so much creativity in our community, and I’m just looking for ways to engage with it.”
Madalyn Hussa, a participant in the art show, spent the whole week working on her chair. Her entry was titled “Rexburg: America’s Family Community.” To get inspiration for her chair she reached out to members of the community over Facebook.
“I asked, ‘What’s your favorite thing about Rexburg?’ That’s where I got a lot of the ideas for my chair,” Hussa said. “I was riding bikes with my husband around town and we noticed how Porter Park always seems to be popping and I definitely wanted to incorporate it in my chair. After all, a lot of meaningful things happen at Beehive Pavilion, so it had to be on there.”
Jed Rhien, a BYU-Idaho graphic design professor, participated in the art show as well. His entry was titled “Patterns of the Creative Spirit.”
“I was impressed by this community art show because there were so many meaningful entries that helped me see our community and our shared human experiences,” Rhien said. “We live in a time where our country and the world is experiencing extreme emotions and experiences with the pandemic, protests and politics every day. To see the unity and love that community members shared through their art in this exhibit, I felt none of the divisive spirit that we often see in media and social media.”
As people drove or walked by the art show, they were asked to vote for their favorites. All of the entries were uploaded to the Rexburg Arts Instagram account, where people could vote by liking and commenting on their favorites until 9 p.m. on June 13.
The winners were announced on June 16 on Instagram.
To see more of the entries, visit the Rexburg Arts Instagram page.
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Thank you to the many makers and viewers who participated in our community Art of Gathering event. Congratulations to our top vote getters—you are the chair-est one of all! Come to City Hall to claim your prize. 1. Love Blooms, Rachel Jones 2. Patterns of the Creative Spirit, Jed Rhien 3. Fresh Flowers, Remi Burton 4. Ink Meadow, Kaylynn Gomez #rexburgarts #takeaseat
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The next exhibit will feature art made by community members during the stay-at-home order. Entries will be accepted June 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tabernacle on 25 N. Center St. The show will run from July 2-3.