The recent appointment of Denise Simone to
the Idaho Commission on the Arts is welcome, but long overdue.
Simone, who is one of the leading lights
of the Company of Fools, Hailey’s professional acting company, is the first
person from Blaine County to serve on the commission for 15 years.
Even droughts haven’t lasted that long.
Governor after governor has not seen fit
to appoint anyone from this area to the commission despite the fact that Blaine
County’s arts scene has long eclipsed that of any other area of similar size.
Blaine County was snubbed year after year
after year despite the fact that it was and is an arts hotbed. It excels in
visual and performing arts. Arts groups have grown like mushrooms in the sun
after a spring rain.
The situation with the arts commission was
a rule, not an exception.
Except for the service of Sun Valley
Company’s Jack Sibbach and his predecessor on the Idaho Travel Council, Blaine
County has historically been underrepresented on state boards and commissions.
That’s a shame given the high level of education and energy residents offer.
Blaine County is a center for activism in
areas from environmental protection to fine arts. It is one of the leading
economic models for rural communities struggling to survive in a world in which
the rules have changed. Mining, logging, farming and ranching—Idaho’s
traditional economic mainstays--are declining and showing no signs of returning.
Idaho governors would do well to appoint
more people from Blaine County to state boards and commissions. Idaho will
benefit if state leaders put aside stale stereotypes about the county’s "wine
and brie" residents and recruit more people like Simone and Sibbach.
Idaho can ill afford to miss opportunities
to harvest innovative ideas and to utilize energetic leaders—wherever they may