Idaho Art Lab Happenings

By Desirée Chesebro-Moeller, artist and volunteer at the Idaho Art Lab (a not for profit organization)

     Change is in the air, school days have come to a close, families are beginning to plan for vacations, and family reunions. Parents are gearing up for the inevitable “mom, I’m bored”.
Living in a rural area parents are sometimes hard pressed to find activities that are not only fun, but educational and cost effective, especially if they have several children of various ages.
When I was a child, we didn’t have the technological gadgets that children have nowadays. Our days were spent outside playing cowboy’s and Indians, kick the can, and playing in the sand box, creating our own entertainment.
I remember a highlight of my summer was searching for treasure, my mom would give me small bucket and I would collect rocks, certain that I had found priceless jewels.
We are so fortunate to have a jewel in our area called the Idaho Art Lab, children and adults alike can schedule a workshop, or drop in and choose from a variety of fun and educational activities, for a reasonable price.
A favorite of adults and children alike is paint your own pottery. This is ready to glaze or paint ceramic bisque. The lab has thousands of molds and we pour on a regular basis. You can choose from hundreds that have been poured and are ready to buy, or ask one of our volunteers to search through our database of molds for a specific one. I really enjoy helping families discover the joy of creating.
The Art Lab has weekly art classes for kids six through seventeen, and workshops for adults upon request. A very popular workshop is Lapidary. Cutting and polishing a rock to a smooth finish, bringing out all the hidden colors. There is such a wondrous feeling taking a raw slab of rock and bringing out the true beauty of the stone.
There is always something fun happening at the lab, beginning July 1 is our new Art Show, Dunes and Cartoons. Opening nights are great. A chance to meet the artists, find out the stories behind their artwork, mingle with friends and enjoy light refreshments. This is a free event and family friendly.
On July 23 & 24 is the Nature Art Expo at the Flat Ranch Preserve in Island Park. This is a great opportunity to see and purchase original works of art from many acclaimed artists in the region.
So while you’re scheduling your summer of activities, think about all that the Idaho Art Lab has to offer. We have talented, trained teachers ready to assist you. Volunteers eager to help you get the most out of your summer.
Check out our complete list of workshops and classes online, or give us a call at 208-932-0893. We look forward to hearing from you.
See you at the lab!

Summer Safety

Summer Safety
by Desiree Chesebro-Moeller artist and volunteer at the Idaho Art Lab (a not for profit organization)

    The media has been flooded with stories of people getting too close to the wild animals that abound in our national parks and along roadways. Both tourists and locals alike have tried to get too close, taking selfies with their smart phones, and even placing their children on the back of a wild buffalo!
I have lived in the shadow of Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and the famous Island Park. At an early age I learned to be respectful of the wildlife. This is their home!
We are very fortunate to live in an area that offers such an amazing abundance of wild animals. Living in Idaho we think nothing of seeing deer, elk and moose on the side of the road and even in our backyard.
We need to be mindful that the wildlife is just that, wild. These are not trained or domesticated animals. My dad used to tell me and my siblings the following when we were getting ready for a Yellowstone trip. ” A fed wild animal is a dead wild animal. Bears and buffalo don’t eat potato chips and Oreos.”
Of course I thought I was smarter than my dad and one fine summer day our family headed out for Yellowstone Park. My dad had a 1965 red Studebaker pickup with a canvas canopy on the back. My younger brother and I were in the back of the pickup enjoying the scenery. We had stopped in Island Park and enjoyed a picnic lunch. The remaining chips and cookies were sitting in the picnic basket. As we drove through the park I was excited to see a couple of black bears along side the road. Wanting to see them better and closer, I began to throw potato chips and cookies to the larger of the two bears. Of course they came closer, eating the offerings I was providing. Soon however I was out of treats, but the bears kept coming.
I realized quickly that we were in deep trouble, as the largest bear climbed into the back of the pickup! The bears huge paws were shredding the bags that had held the chips and cookies.
My dad grabbed my brother and I and put us in the front of the pickup with our mom. There was no room for my dad and I was terrified that he would be hurt. About this time a ranger came on the scene and managed to get the bear out of the truck. Between several rangers the bears were finally captured.
One of the rangers stepped up to talk to me. My dad said I needed to own up to what I had done.  Nothing in my eight years of life had prepared me for that day. The ranger spoke of endangering everyone around me, and endangering the bears as well. His words still ring through my head. “Because you have fed the bears human food, they will approach each car anticipating to be fed. They will have to be removed and possibly destroyed.”
It was a very quiet, subdued eight year old on the drive home. I felt very responsible for my actions, and I resolved that I would never do such a thing again.
I never found out what happened to the bears, I hoped they were just relocated. The park officials warn tourists and locals alike each year. Reminding us that we need to respect these magnificent animals. The warnings are well founded and we should heed them and be an example for the thousands of visitors that travel through our beautiful country.
So as I travel through our picturesque countryside, looking for places to photograph or paint, in the back of my mind is the wise words of my dad. There are many fun activities that we can engage in while camping or visiting our national parks, we just need to remember that we are the visitors. We can enjoy the outdoors if we practice common sense and remember to be safe.
As you travel I hope to see many of you at the lab throughout the summer, we have a lot of events coming up. June 18 is the Big Art Expo and Big Deal Small Works art auction starting at 2:00pm until 6:00pm. This is a fun family event. Over 20 artists demonstrating their art medium. The event is free. Dunes and Cartoons art show begins in July. We have fun workshops, from Zendoodles to wire wrapping. Art classes in oil, acrylic, and watercolor. Whatever artistic item is on your bucket list come see us. You can find us online at or call us at 208-932-0893.
Stay safe as you camp, fish and vacation, and enjoy your summer.
See you at the lab!

Contentment: Why People are Never Content

Contentment: Why People are Never Content

by Desiree Chesebro-Moeller artist and volunteer at the Idaho Art Lab (a not-for-profit organization)
     Contentment, fulfillment are words that are as illusive to people as capturing the wind.  It doesn’t matter how well off we are, or what we may have achieved in our lives. The question remains; why? Why do we never attain that happy, contented life?
     Rarely do we come across a person who is truly happy and content with their life, and what they have, with no desire for more or to better themselves. Longing for more than we currently have and wanting more than what others have is human nature.
    If you were to give a person a magnificent home, the job of a lifetime, a life you could only dream of, you would find that their hopes and desires would not be met or filled, soon they would be wanting more.
    There are a lot of reasons why we are not achieving contentment. I believe that craving and desiring things incessantly is in our human makeup. We are growing and evolving, changing constantly, thus changing our surroundings. We are never fully satisfied with our lot in life, we are always striving for something better or bigger.
     One reason is comparison, we compare ourselves with others. Financially, emotionally, even socially. that keeps us at odds with finding happiness, which in turn leads to low self-esteem. We forget to focus on our abilities and our own unique talents. When we compare ourselves with others it takes away the positive aspects in our lives. We become discouraged, thinking about all that others have that we do not.
    Our natural curiosity plays a part. it was curiosity that pulled us as a species out of the caves and led us to the technological and intellectual advancements that we enjoy today.  Curiosity will always attract us to things that are unfamiliar .Satisfying that curiosity, finding that it is something we want, but may be financially impossible causes curiosity to be a double edged sword.  Because we are curious about what could be we strive harder to improve our lives, and to having more and better things. This is simple ambition, and ambition has no bounds. Because of future ambitions we are never truly happy with our present condition.
    I have learned that people enjoy things that are new. We love to explore the unknown, travel to new destinations, purchase new things. Change in our lives will keep us content for awhile, however boredom will set in and we will again be wishing for something we don’t have.  I believe we can never be completely content with life. However we can be more satisfied if we set realistic goals, and stop trying to achieve the impossible. This will keep us from disappointments and regrets.
     So what is the key or secret to contentment? I believe it’s living in the present and doing what you want, not what society expects. We need to understand that desire and attaining what you want will never keep us completely content. Be happy with what you have right now. We forget that the best things in life are free and it’s the simple things in life that will bring us real contentment and true happiness.


Perspective in Art


Perspective in Art
By Desirée Chesebro-Moeller artist and volunteer at the Idaho Art Lab (a not-for-profit organization)

     July was a busy month, with the 4th of July celebrations, rodeos, parades and more. The Art Lab was busy as well, with art and pottery classes, workshops, and an artist in residence (Amy Mack from Boise) who taught us Collagraphy, to our day to day activities.
One of the activities we have done this summer is our Field Trips. We have traveled all over Fremont County. From the Sand Dunes to Mesa Falls. Our field trips are an open invitation to Plein Air painters, field sketchers, photographers, everyone is invited to join us in capturing the beauty of our region.
As a Plein Air artist and photographer one of my biggest challenges is perspective. What exactly is perspective? Well according to the dictionary it is “the art of drawing objects on a two dimensional surface as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.”
Basically a way of regarding something, or a point of view.
The best way to explain is to have you visualize a railroad track. Imagine you are standing on the track looking towards the horizon, the track appears to go on for miles, but eventually you lose sight of it. This is called the vanishing point, you know the track is beyond where your eye can see, however, that point can no longer be seen.
We have all heard the phrase “from your perspective”, in art perspective is vital. It’s the difference between a good or a great piece of work. It’s the method of drawing what you see, or what you think you see, and sharing with others.
To learn more about the techniques used in painting or photography visit us at the Idaho Art Lab, or check us out online at We have ongoing classes at all levels.
Hope to see you soon.


Island Park: An Idaho Treasure

Island Park: An Idaho Treasure
By Desirée Chesebro-Moeller artist and volunteer staff at the Idaho Art Lab (a not-for-profit organization)

     Summer has arrived in all her glory. We are enjoying the hot sunny days and cooler evenings. Sporadic rains have been welcome as the temperatures climbed into the 90s.
One of my favorite places to go in the summer is Island Park. There are so many things to see and do. Camping is always top on the list, but there is so much more.
Johnny Sacks cabin is a great place to start. Not only is it picturesque, it’s also historical. I researched and found that Johnny Sack was a German cabinet maker who came to the United States while in his 20’s. He leased a parcel of land at Big Springs from the forest service. He started building the cabin in 1932 and finished in 1935. It was said that Johnny was very short, only 4’11”. The basement reflects his short stature, the rest of the cabin is built standard. The cabin was to be removed after Johnny’s death in 1957, however citizens intrested in the cabin and it’s history fought to have it preserved.
Big Springs where the cabin is located is the headwaters of the Snake River. It’s known for the very large trout that are visible from the bridge. Best leave your fishing gear at home as no fishing is allowed.
I love to visit Upper and Lower Mesa Falls, they are magnificent to behold.  Upper Mesa Falls thunders as it pours over the nation’s largest volcanic caldera. The falls are as high as a 10 story building, the mist drifts over you softly. A mile south is Lower Mesa Falls, it too roaring over solidied lava and ash, some layers being as much as a million years old.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Mesa Falls is the last undisturbed waterfalls in the Columbia River System.
Macks Inn is a family fun spot. I have spent many summer days here. You can rent paddle boats and canoes, or take a leisurely 2-3 hour float trip. You’ll see beautiful vistas, wildlife and more. Macks Inn Playhouse is fun entertainment. Enjoy a night of great food and comedy, fun for the whole family.
Last but not least is Henry’s Fork. Home of one of the finest trout streams in the lower 48 states. Henry’s Fork is famous all over the world for its fly fishing. It also boasts great wildlife. Historically speaking, Henry’s Fork was named after Andrew Henry, a fur trader who first saw it 1910. According to “Visit Idaho” Henry’s Fork begins at Big Springs and goes through Harrimans State Park all the way down to Ashton, where it joins the Snake River. Upper and Lower Mesa Falls are on the Henry’s Fork.
So, no matter where you go in Island Park you’ll find something waiting to be discovered.
The Idaho Art Lab is a tourist information center, we have the maps and pamphlets to help you on your adventure. Visit us at 2355 S. Yellowstone Hwy, Saint Anthony, Idaho, or call us at 208-932-0893. You can also find us on the web at

Fun Times at the Idaho Art Lab

Fun Times at the Idaho Art Lab
By Desirée Chesebro-Moeller artist and volunteer at the Idaho Art Lab (a not-for-profit organization)

     The weather has finally decided that summer is here. Hot temperatures have many folks seeking indoor activities with air conditioning.
As a full time volunteer staff member at the Idaho Art Lab, I have the opportunity to help our community discover fun, reasonably priced activities that they can participate in.
Art classes are on going at the art lab, whether you are 2 years of age or 82, we have a class waiting for you.  We have dedicated art instructors ready to teach  everything from drawing to oil painting.
Interested in pottery? We can help. We have pottery workshops available. Everything you need is available at the art lab.
If you don’t mind the heat and enjoy being outside, we also have Plein Air Painting on location each week throughout the summer. I have really enjoyed going to the various locations and painting. It makes me step outside my comfort zone and stretch my artistic abilities.
Summer is so much fun at the art lab. June 27 is our Big Art Expo. We have 12 plus artists demonstrating in their mediums from 2:00-8:00pm. Also the same day we have Small Works, Big Deal Show Art Auction from 3:00-6:00pm. This is a great opportunity to purchase artwork from local artists at a minimal cost. It’s also a chance to see the artists working, to talk with them. It’s free and family oriented.
Summers are a busy time. We hope that you make time to stop by the Idaho Art Lab and indulge in one of our many workshops, or visit our gift shop, and art supply store. We have many unique gifts and supplies for artists including paint and brushes, we also have a wide variety of vintage frames for sale. Our hours are Tuesday through Friday 12:00-7:00pm and 12:00-9:00pm on Saturday. We are closed on Sunday and Monday.
We look forward to seeing you soon. If you have questions please give us a call at 208-932-0893 or visit us online at

ATV Safety

ATV Safety
By Desirée Chesebro-Moeller artist and volunteer at the Idaho Art Lab (a not-for-profit organization)
Now that summer is here, camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities are in full swing. A popular activity that is sweeping the country is riding ATV’s.
On a recent trip to Island Park to do some Plein Air painting, I was horrified to see young kids riding alongside the highway in the barrow pits. No helmets, in shorts and sandles, and no parents in sight. Riding at high speeds and coming perilously close to the highway traffic.
While ATV’s are fun to ride, we need to be safety conscious.
According to ATV Rider Course and ATV, there is a set of “Golden Rules”
1. Wear a helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, boots and gloves.
2. Never ride on paved roads except to cross. ATV’s are designed to be operated off road. Obey trail markers and closure signs.
3. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
4. Never carry a passenger on a single rider ATV.
5. Ride an ATV that’s right for your age.
6. Supervise riders younger than 16 years of age. ATV’s are not toys.
7. Ride only on designated trails, and at a safe speed.
(In other words stay out of the barrow pits)
To keep area’s open to ATV’s requires a working relationship between public land owners/managers and those who share the land, the riders, hikers, and campers.
Respect those around you. Keep the noise level down. Excessive noise will cause stress to wildlife and annoy other people around you.
If a trail is closed there is probably a good reason why. It could be crossing into a wildlife refuge, or a possible fire hazard or private property.   Consideration and common courtesy is the one thing that will ensure that everyone will be able to enjoy the area.
If you gain permission to ride on private land be sure to leave fences and gates as you found them, and please don’t litter, if you see litter, pick it up.
Be courteous to others you meet on the trail, give the right away to hikers, and pull off the trail if you encounter horseback riders, the noise may upset them. With wildlife and livestock, give them time to react to your presence, do not approach them.
Learning to be safe is essential to having a fun filled summer.  Taking a few minutes and reminding ourselves of these few tips could save the life of someone you love.
We wish you a safe and happy summer and invite you to come pay us a visit at the Idaho Art Lab. We have many workshops just waiting for you. Call us at 208-932-0893 or visit us online at


Art For All Seasons

Art For All Seasons

     As I write this I’m thinking of all the art projects that I need to finish. Anyone walking into my studio would see several paintings in progress. To many this would seem chaotic. However there is a method to what may seem madness.
Many of the paintings reflect the time of year and the season.  Depending on the art medium that I am using it’s not unusual to have two or more paintings partially done. Oil takes longer to dry, and waiting isn’t a strong point of mine, so while one is drying I can start a new one. Acrylic dries much faster, as does watercolors and gouache. It seems that I’m always taking photos, as references for future projects, whatever the medium. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time to interpret all the beauty that surrounds us.
There is a beauty in every season, from the cold frosty winter scenes, to the vibrant colors of autumn. We are so fortunate to live in an area that shows each of the four seasons. It gives an artist something to paint year round.
However, art just isn’t painting. Art is pottery, it’s lapidary, it’s vacuum forming and so much more!  Art is creating, taking your inspiration and acting on it.
The Idaho Art Lab is open year round, to young and old alike.  So whether you’re a painter, or a potter we have something for everyone. Like the changing seasons, the Art Lab continually changes too. The last 5 weeks we have hosted the Western Art Show, highlighting the mountains and the splendor of the Intermountain West, and we have several events coming up. On May 20, is the opening of A River Runs Through It Art Show at our Yellowstone Teton Gallery. It begins at 5:00pm through 8:00pm. This is the forerunner for opening day of fishing season and the St. Anthony free Fisherman’s Breakfast, which is celebrating 61 years!
In June, on the 18th, is the Big Art Expo, this is a fun, family event. Twenty plus artists demonstrating their various talents. This is a free event and begins at 2:00pm through 6:00pm. Small Works Big Deal art auction is also on the 18th. This is a great opportunity to purchase artwork from local artists.  June also is the Artist Open Studio Tour, where you can visit local artists in their studio and see them at work.
Change is all around us, soon children will be enjoying their summer break, families will be planning outings and vacations. I hope that each of you will plan to visit us and see how the arts can make a change in your life.
Visit us online at, or call us at 208-932-0893. We have a fully staffed volunteer team ready to help you.
See you at the lab!

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Make your own Christmas Cards

Ladies Night at the Idaho Art Lab is the 2nd Thursday of each month, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. We call it Gab at the Lab. This is a chance to bring whatever you are working while you hang out with other creative, fun-loving gals. We always have a simple project lesson for those who need something to do. Watercolor Christmas cards are a quick way to make handmade cards for your loved ones. Have you waited until the last minute to send those cards? No problem. You probably have all you need at home. If not, you can rent the Paper Arts Lab for $3 – $5/hour at the Lab which gives you access to our Cuttlebug paper with many embossing & die cutter folder as well as free white card stock & use of kid’s watercolor paints.

2014-12-17cmas-cards1Step 1: Water down your watercolors.

Grab any kid’s watercolor paints (Crayola is best with its bold, opaque colors).  Start with a really wet palette by loading up your brush with water and filling the color palette with the water.

2014-12-17cmas-cards2Step 2: Load an eye dropper with watercolor.

Fill an eye dropper or children’s ear suction bulb with the liquidy watercolor. It is best to work from lightest color to the darkest color so you are less likely to muddy up the lighter colors.

2014-12-17cmas-cards3Step 3: Drop pools of color onto card stock.

Use card stock or any paper that can accept watery color without buckling. Using the eye dropper, drop pools of color onto a large sheet of paper. Remember your color wheel, putting complimentary colors next to each other.

2014-12-17cmas-cards4Step 4: Spray the paint around.

Use a straw, placed on the paper just next to the color pool, to spray the paint around. Blow, turn the paper, blow, turn the paper … keep blowing until you create a full circle burst. You can even blow some of these lines.

2014-12-17cmas-cards5Step 5: Fill your paper with color bursts.

This image is an 11” x 14” sheet of paper filled with color. I tried to place complimentary colors next to each other. Be messy, work quickly, create layers. You can quickly make 6 card backgrounds in just a few minutes.

2014-12-17cmas-cards6Step 6: Make some cutouts for layering.

Your color bursts will be your background. Using a Cuttlebug or other die cutting machine, cut out Christmas themed designs that you can lay over the color bursts. You can even fold paper in half and cut out tree shapes, bulbs, etc.

2014-12-17cmas-cards7Step 7: Make your greeting card to paste onto.

Cut and fold paper to a good size to fit your Cuttlebug designs. I use an ink roller to make a smoother fold. You can rent our Paper Arts Lab for $3 – $5/hour to use our Cuttlebug and our embossing & die cutter folders.

2014-12-17cmas-cards8Step 8: The finished greeting cards!

Here are some examples of Christmas cards we made at the last Gab at the Lab ladies night. We’d love to see your finished cards. Send them to or share them on our Facebook page at www.facebook/IdahoArtLab

Kara Hidalgo in “Women to know”

Hidalgo Opens Center to Promote Art
by Krysten Bullock

There is a growing are movement in St. Anthony and Kara Hidalgo is doing everything she can to nurture it. Hidalgo came to the region when she was hired as the Internet Development Manager at the Mountain Express. “That’s where I learned the newspaper business,” Hidalgo said. “It led me to realize that small newspapers didn’t have an online presence and they were falling with this new shift. So I tried very hard to get the small newspapers around Idaho to convert and get a good database website going inexpensively.”

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In 2008 the market crashed and Hidalgo lost her business consulting with newspapers.
“I moved to [St. Anthony] making $85 an hour and within a year I was broke,” Hidalgo said. Hidalgo and her husband were at a crossroads; they could stay in St. Anthony or move on. “My husband said ‘I just want to go somewhere where I can do my art and not do it for somebody else.”

So they decided to stay, and in 2009 held a brainstorming session with local artists about opening an art center. “It was unanimous, they were all for it. They said we want a space . . . to do art,” Hidalgo said. Hidalgo set out to figure out how to get a non-profit art center up and running. She toured 23 art centers in Colorado to get ideas. “I took tons of photos and a few weeks later I came back with a best-practices model for a non-profit art center for Idaho,” Hidalgo said.

The Idaho Art Lab has since moved from its first location to 2355 S. Yellowstone. The new facility has space where artists can create almost anything. Up front is the community center where bins overflow with art supplies sold by donation so families can come and create no matter their income. There are rows of tables where anyone can sit down and get to work. Counselors working with children who have been abused or have parents incarcerated in one of the three local prisons regularly use this place. Next you’ll find books on arts and crafts ranging from beginning to college-level courses. The center also offers classes, including figure drawing where they bring in a model for students to practice drawing art.

The Art Lab also sells art supplies as well as gifts made by local artists. They also make ceramics and sell them for anyone to buy and decorate. Next you’ll fine the lapidary center where artists can polish rocks for projects. They also have pottery wheels as well as kilns for firing artists’ creations. There is a screen-printing area, a dark room, a private studio and a gallery. The center recently opened a computer lab for computer arts. They even have a kitchen so artists can hangout all day and never need to leave for a meal. Finally, the Idaho Art Lab has living quarter to accommodate a resident artist. Most of the centers equipment can be used for a small fee.

“What we’ve realized is if we want to stay here, we need to be revenue-funded,” Hidalgo said. “My ultimate goal would be to have enough revenue for three full-time and two part time employees that we have the working need for. Though the Art Lab has suffered a few setbacks in getting going, Hidalgo is determined to make it viable. “Our goal is to have a good model and mike it replicable, and document it.. with our goal to have that replicated throughout the state,” Hidalgo said. “We want to find a way to get that information to anybody that wants to create and arts center in their area.”

The Art Center’s biggest hurdles now are finding a better way to heat the building so they can keep the entire center open year-round; and finding a new owner for their building. The center is on a month-to-month lease as the landlord tries to sell the building. Hidalgo hopes someone will buy the building and let them stay there indefinitely.

Art is very important part of Hidalgo’s life and she wants to offer the community a place to express their own creativity. “ I really struggled with other things in school and art gave me the ability to have pride in my accomplishments,” Hidalgo said. The Idaho Art Lab sees people come in that have personal issues or disabilities that leave them struggling with depression. Art can turn things around for them. “We’ve had people who have told us they were planning to commit suicide because they have depression and they don’t know how to work through it,” Hidalgo said.

“I think my one wish would be that every kid understands that they have value and they can make a difference. I do wish more people understood what volunteering does for the soul. It feels so good to create something like this and you see everyday the impact that you have.”


To see the full newspaper,