The Idaho Watercolor Society’s 40th Annual Rotunda Show showcases watercolor art from a variety of artists state-wide

The 40th annual Idaho Watercolor Society’s Rotunda Show is a must- see exhibit this spring. Since 1979, the Idaho Watercolor Society has created a community for artists to come together and celebrate one another.

For 40 years now, the Idaho Watercolor Society has been hosting an annual show that provides a friendly environment and showcases over 70 artists’ beautiful works of art. The exhibit, open through March 15, is located in the rotunda on the fourth floor of Boise’s beautiful capitol building. The exhibit is free and open to the public.  

Beth Trott, Idaho Watercolor Society’s volunteer coordinator, has been a part of the organization since 2019 and started becoming heavily involved in the volunteer process for the show in 2022. 

“This show for me has always been the public interacting with the artwork,” said Trott. The Rotunda show is meant for all skill levels. From the serious artist to the hobbyist who wants to let loose and get lost in their work, the overall goal of the Rotunda show is to invite and encourage all skill levels to enter their artwork and feel proud of the art they have created. 

Scott Muscolo, chairperson for the juried expedition says, “Many people have untapped artistic ability, and we encourage people to explore their innate need to communicate artistically… we are only scratching the surface of community engagement, and are taking steps to increase our visibility and demonstrate our value to young and old in our environment”.

Jane Shimon, Boise State professor in the Kinesiology Department has been part of the Idaho Watercolor Society for over a decade. 

“IWS is an organization that supports new and veteran watercolor artists and exposes the community to this fun medium through various workshops, exhibitions and shows,” said Shimon. 

The Rotunda Show has frequent returners and is also a great way to meet new members of the Idaho Watercolor Society. The paintings are entered based on a first come first serve basis. There are typically 70 to 75 paintings entered depending on the canvas size, with no specific theme or requirement. 

When thinking about the characteristics of watercolor, the Rotunda show has been able to push the limits of what is perceived as “watercolor” norms in society. Many spectators might expect muted landscapes, however, this show has made a goal to create as few constraints as possible for artists when entering their artwork. 

“We try to actually give people entering the show as few restrictions as possible … for me I want someone to walk into this show, a guest, a visitor, to look at it and go, ‘that’s watercolor?’ Like that for me would be the best reaction I could hear,” said Trott. 

Mary Gardiner, Idaho Watercolor Society member since 2017 said, “There is something for everyone in this exhibit and the good news is, not everyone likes the same art – we are all critics and one person’s masterpiece is another person’s redo. All mediums have their benefits and difficulties”. 

Overall, the Idaho Watercolor Society has been able to bring Idaho artists and art lovers  together with different skill levels, experience and inspirations. The nonprofit organization has promoted artist’s visions and continues to create an environment where everyone has an opportunity to share their skills. Moreover, the Idaho Watercolor Society’s 40th annual Rotunda Show has been able to present creativity and positivity at the historic, capitol building in Boise. 

Visitors can access the watercolor exhibit from March 2 until March 15, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The exhibit is located on the fourth floor of the capitol building.

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