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The Art Spirit Gallery - Coeur d' Alene Idaho - Featured in North Idaho Lifestyle Magazine

North Idaho Lifestyles - Gallery Review
The Art Spirit Gallery

  I walked into The Art Spirit Gallery early on one of those rare beautiful February mornings when the sun had just reached the high windows and was dancing on the surface of everything. The art was alive—a million shades of the rainbow—and about as many shapes, textures, and stories.

 The high ceiling drew my eye upward, and I was stunned by the use of this amazing space. And this was just the front room. There is also a mezzanine for more intimate shows… a back patio for clay workshops… and a cavernous basement that holds an additional 400 pieces of inventory. Art even enhanced the bathrooms.

  Owner, art enthusiast, and resident artist, Steve Gibbs, a casual and friendly man who has truly created this gallery
from the ground up, greeted me warmly.

  A gallery wasn’t on Steve’s radar when he arrived with his wife, Leah Byrd, a Coeur d’Alene native, in 1994. After 15 years in graphic design, he wanted to put his art degree from Montana State University to work in the fine arts. Friend and mentor John Thamm suggested that Steve start a small gallery to connect with the area’s artists. On the ground floor of an old home on East Sherman, The Art Spirit was born. Steve soon started monthly shows, featuring a new artist every second Friday from April through December, and in the six years that followed, the gallery developed quite a following.

  The time had come to move to a larger, better space. When the perfect location opened up on Sherman Avenue, they launched a complete renovation, with a huge community effort supporting and helping the work. The Art Spirit had found its new home in the heart of downtown Coeur d’Alene. The classic architecture that Steve revealed and recreated inspired other downtown business owners to restore their historical buildings.

  Today, Steve sends out upwards of 4000 postcards every month to announce artist receptions, which have grown into 2nd Friday ArtWalks, spotlighting all downtown galleries. Along with his gallery assistants, Janet Torline and Leslie Petersen, they pack up the previous show, strip every wall, patch and paint, and hang the new show to be unveiled the following week to an excited and receptive crowd, replete with hors d’oeuvres and refreshments.

  The gallery has grown into a gathering place and Steve has
evolved into a community arts leader. He has been active on the local Chamber of Commerce board and instrumental in forming the non-profit, Coeur d’Alene Arts and Culture Alliance. Most of

The Art Spirit Gallery - Coeur d' Alene Idaho - on East Sherman Ave owned by Steve Gibbs and his wife Leah Byrd
Artwalks, galleries, artist, paintings, community,Coeur d’Alene Arts and Culture Alliance
 

Every piece of art in his gallery proves his point, from Steve Adams’ mesmerizing glassworks and Mary Farrell’s intricate printmaking, to Harold Balazs’ vibrant enamels and Michael Horswill’s imaginative wall sculptures.the artists featured at The Art Spirit are local, and if Steve hosts someone from out of the area, they usually have a connection to the region. The talent is deep, he says, and he has little need to look beyond the Inland Northwest.
 
  Steve himself is a close friend with many of the artists, which became apparent as he led me around the gallery. He would stop in front of a piece and touch it gently, as if drawing upon the spirit of the art. He spoke in adoration of each one, with intimate detail about both the process used to create it, and the personality and history of the artist.
 
  Every piece of art in his gallery proves his point, from Steve Adams’ mesmerizing glassworks and Mary Farrell’s intricate printmaking, to Harold Balazs’ vibrant enamels and Michael Horswill’s imaginative wall sculptures.
 
  Beth Cavener Stichter’s self-portraits are disturbing and deeply personal sculptures of animals with human anatomy. They share gallery space with figurative pastels and bronze sculptures by internationally recognized artist George Carlson, whose works have graced the Smithsonian and Denver Art Museum.Every piece of art in his gallery proves his point, from Steve Adams’ mesmerizing glassworks and Mary Farrell’s intricate printmaking, to Harold Balazs’ vibrant enamels and Michael Horswill’s imaginative wall sculptures.
 
  One thing that all of the featured artists have in common is their deep dedication to their craft. Steve chooses artists who create for themselves and their own vision, rather than for audience approval. His fundamental appreciation of an inner vision wins trust from artists a well as the public, and being regionally based, the artists and community know each other, like each other, and support each other. Through this union, Steve’s dream of building Coeur d’Alene as an art destination is now becoming realized.

The Art Spirit Gallery of Fine Art
415 Sherman Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814
Phone/fax: 208-765-6006
e-mail: steve@theartspiritgallery.com
http://www.theartspiritgallery.com

 

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