Founded in 1971, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts is the oldest arts organization in central Idaho's Wood River Valley. The Center has grown from a few people presenting classes and events to an organization that serves more than 40,000 attendees a year (in a valley with a population of 22,000).Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Ketchum using our trip planner.
The original campus of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities was established on land deeded by the owner of Sun Valley Company, Bill Janss. The property consisted of six acres along Trail Creek that had formerly housed dog kennels for Sun Valley Resort. (The dogs were used for dog sledding for guests of the Union Pacific's Sun Valley Resort. The property is now home to The Community School.) The Center flourished as a facility for an exceedingly high level of fine arts residencies for several years and many of the participating artists and faculty have gone on to achieve celebrated careers.
During the early years, the highly regarded faculty taught photography, printmaking and ceramics, and established the first art gallery in the Wood River Valley. Dance and theater workshops offered a broader arts experience than was previously available. Conferences held by the Institute of the American West attracted prominent historians and an audience hungry for knowledge of the Western experience. Because of the Janss Corporation's commitment to developing a year round resort and attracting second homeowners, an expanded community began to demand and support what the Sun Valley Center for the Arts offered.
In the early 80s a decrease in federal funding for the arts found The Center examining its programmatic and financial responsibilities. After careful consideration, the Board of Directors chose to restructure The Center's activities to more appropriately fit its financial capabilities and the needs of its community. At that time, The Center's philosophy was redefined and it was then that programming for the local community became The Center's first priority. Art workshops were redesigned into various new formats to accommodate a broader community constituency. A commitment was made to present the talents of nationally and internationally known artists in both the visual and performing arts as well as in the humanities that would otherwise not be available to our area.
The Center is now recognized nationally for its unique multidisciplinary programming. The Center's visual arts, performing arts and education and humanities directors work in tandem with the artistic director to develop three or four multidisciplinary projects a year that explore timely themes and topics from multiple perspectives. Recent topics include biodiversity, Tibetan art and culture, corporate America and philanthropy, and Mexican immigration and labor.
In 2006 The Center received accreditation status from the American Association of Museums in recognition of its adherence to the highest standards of operation and programming. Only five percent of America's arts and cultural institutions share this distinction.
The Center's main gallery and offices are in Ketchum, and in addition, The Center operates a location in Hailey to better serve the needs of the growing population of southern Blaine County. The Hailey location consists of a historic house that was the birthplace of Ezra Pound and a newly built, state of the art freestanding classroom. The Center is in the process of raising money for a new building in Ketchum that will include flexible spaces for exhibitions and performances and will be a gathering place for the community.
Sun Valley Center for the Arts Reviews
We were lucky enough to attend 3 different concerts, 2 at the Center for Arts and 1 at a local church. All were outstanding. Sun Valley - Ketchum is one of those places that you can easily see why peo... more »
This is a wonderful organization. They offer great concerts, classes, speakers and a gallery. Whether you are an artist yourself or someone who appreciates artistic expression be it music, painting, c... more »
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