Friday, March 9, 2007

Visit the Dollhouse of art

New venue open during Gallery Walk

Express Staff Writer

?Purple Haze Gone Black,? by WRHS sophomore Lauren Prentice.

In Ketchum, there's a dollhouse.

It's a small shop that is now catering to the hip contemporary world of women's consignment clothing, with quick turnaround, so the clothes are always fresh. Proprietor Lara Spencer moved from Seattle to be nearer her family, who lives here, only four months ago. She left a big time job with the Seattle Mariners to realize a dream of owning her own shop and become active in her community.

In that vein, Spencer will host an art showcase during tonight's gallery walk, from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Dollhouse. Proceeds from the sale of art, as well as donations, will go directly to the Wood River High School art department.

"When I visited here I kept wondering where working women shopped," Spencer said. "Even with a good job I couldn't afford to shop here. My favorite story: A woman wanted these particular Dansko shoes. She was on her way to Boise to find them when she stopped in. I had two pairs in her size. Hello. That's what I mean. I saw that I could have my shop and be community-minded. After all I merchandized all of Safeco Park."

Spencer was inspired after raising money over the holidays through the Sun Valley Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau's Share the Spirit program. A percentage of the sales was given to a favorite charity. Spencer picked the Wood River High School art department though she has no connection to the school other than through customers.

"Without my art teacher in high school, I wouldn't have learned to think outside the box," she said. "I wouldn't think creatively. It's important to invest in this cause. Though they have a budget, Betty Irvin (high school art teacher) was so happy (about the donation). There are lab fees for students. What happens if the student can't pay or is late? She needed that money when I gave it to her. It worked out perfectly. Why stay with the status quo. Always do better."

Enlisting their participation, the topic Irvin and Spencer gave the high school art students for this particular showcase was fashion or art that rocks.

"I wanted them to do work they might not do in the classroom: extreme art. If we support them and help them grow what will they be doing in 10 years?"

Irvin found the project inspiring for her students.

"They're excited. It's a fun opportunity for them to display their artwork in a new venue. Some kids made new work, and others used things that would work in The Dollhouse. Lara picked the theme that would go with the shop, and she came down and 'juried' the artwork."

During Gallery Walk, Spencer will serve refreshments. The Dollhouse is located in the red house at 221 W. First St., between Main and Washington streets, kitty-corner to the Forest Service Park. Twenty-two students will be represented in the showcase.

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