BOISE, Idaho — Nestled away on the second floor of an office building near the intersection of Fairview and Cloverdale lies a colorful oasis.
If you weren't looking for it, you'd almost never know the International Gallery of Fine Art was there--but to gallery owner and Boise-based artist Avianne, it's a secret garden full of love just waiting for the community to discover it.
"I was thinking it's almost like wonderland. You kind of have to follow the white rabbit, but then you're in wonderland," Avianne joked.
Avianne has been an artist and a teacher for decades and has worked on projects all over the world. She decided to open the Boise gallery to showcase local artists--and to teach them about the wonderlands inside themselves.
"We all have wonderlands inside of us. All of us. We're born like that,' Avianne explained. "I'm a builder--a builder of gardens. For others, for myself, for clients, for anyone. That's why I teach."
The gallery's inaugural exhibit, Fearless, features work from 24 local artists. Each of the pieces sends a message of hope to the community after a tumultuous year.
"I say to people, it's time now to come back. To be fearless," explained Avianne.
For local artist Jesse Bateman, art is an opportunity for anyone to work through hardships, in all walks of life.
"In their song, in their painting, you can really feel those that have really lived life because you can tell the ones that have gone through the challenges of life," Bateman said. "Art is a way to soothe those things, to heal those things. When we express those things through art, we're really healing ourselves."
Besides supporting local artists, Avianne says supporting the gallery also supports those in need: she donates some of the money to help feed children in South Africa.
Eventually, Avianne says she'd like to expand so she can teach art classes and have the gallery in the same building, but for now, she's happy to be able to share her passion with others.
"It's love, it's beauty. If you learn to tap into those things as an artist, if you can tap into your creator on that level, then you have all that in you to give--that's the legacy I want to leave people with," Avianne said.
The exhibit is open each day (except Wednesdays and Sundays) from 12:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and will feature new work from local artists regularly. If you'd like to learn more, click here.