The Rich History of Artists in Bellevue, ID

Bellevue, Idaho may be a small town with a population of just over 2,000 people, but it has a rich history when it comes to the arts. Located in the picturesque Wood River Valley, Bellevue has been a haven for artists for decades. From painters to sculptors, musicians to writers, this small town has nurtured and inspired countless creative minds.

The Early Years

The history of artists in Bellevue can be traced back to the early 1900s when the town was first established. The Wood River Valley was known for its scenic beauty and attracted many artists who were drawn to the area's natural landscapes.

These early artists were primarily landscape painters who captured the beauty of the valley on their canvases. One of the most notable early artists in Bellevue was Carl Roters, a German-born painter who moved to the area in 1927. Roters was known for his impressionistic style and his paintings of the Wood River Valley are still highly sought after today. He also founded the Bellevue Art Association, which played a crucial role in promoting and supporting local artists.

The Rise of Sun Valley

In 1936, Sun Valley Resort opened just a few miles north of Bellevue, bringing even more attention to the Wood River Valley. The resort quickly became a popular destination for Hollywood celebrities and wealthy socialites, attracting even more artists to the area. Sun Valley's founder, Averell Harriman, was an avid art collector and he encouraged artists to come and paint in the valley. One of the most famous artists to spend time in Sun Valley was Ernest Hemingway.

The renowned writer fell in love with the area and spent many summers there, writing and fishing. His presence in Sun Valley brought even more attention to the town and its thriving arts scene.

The Bellevue Art Museum

In 1997, the Bellevue Art Museum was established, further solidifying the town's reputation as an arts destination. The museum was housed in a historic building that was once a schoolhouse and it quickly became a hub for local artists to showcase their work. The museum also hosted exhibitions from renowned artists from around the world, bringing even more recognition to Bellevue's art community. Unfortunately, the Bellevue Art Museum closed its doors in 2001 due to financial difficulties.

However, the legacy of the museum lives on through the many artists who were inspired and supported by its presence.

The Modern Art Scene

Today, Bellevue continues to be a thriving arts community with a diverse range of artists calling the town home. The Wood River Valley is still a source of inspiration for many painters, and the area's natural beauty can be seen in their works. The town also has a strong music scene, with local musicians performing at various venues throughout the year. One of the most well-known artists in Bellevue today is Karen Jacobsen. Jacobsen is a painter who specializes in landscapes and her work has been featured in galleries across the country.

She also teaches painting classes at her studio in Bellevue, passing on her knowledge and passion for art to others. Another notable artist in Bellevue is sculptor Gail Severn. Severn's sculptures can be found throughout the town, including at the Sun Valley Resort and the Wood River Land Trust headquarters. Her work has also been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world.

The Future of Artists in Bellevue

As Bellevue continues to grow and evolve, so does its art scene. The town is home to several art galleries and hosts various art events throughout the year, including the annual Bellevue Art and Wine Festival.

The Wood River Valley is also home to the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, which offers a wide range of programs and exhibitions for both locals and visitors. With its rich history and supportive community, Bellevue will undoubtedly continue to be a haven for artists for many years to come. The town's natural beauty and small-town charm provide the perfect backdrop for creative minds to thrive. Whether you're a painter, sculptor, musician, or writer, Bellevue is a place where your creativity can truly flourish.

Sherry Connard
Sherry Connard

Incurable coffee practitioner. Total zombie lover. Infuriatingly humble music enthusiast. General internet ninja. Passionate pop culture advocate. Amateur bacon advocate.