© 2021 Boise State Public Radio

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact us at boisestatepublicradio@boisestate.edu or call (208) 426-3663.
WebHeader_3.png
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
What is the single most important question about COVID-19 you think needs to be answered? Submit it for a special Idaho Matters Doctors Roundtable in English and Spanish.
Arts & Culture

Why An Old Mining Town In Idaho Is The Perfect Place To Study Art

DSCN5069.JPG
Frankie Barnhill
/
Boise State Public Radio
One of the rustic cabins where Atlanta School artists will stay. Greylock Mountain towers in the background, often getting incorporated into pieces created at the school.

Off a long dirt road about three-and-a-half hours northeast of Boise, the old mining town of Atlanta, Idaho rests on the edge of the Sawtooth Mountains.

Next week, a group of artists of all skill levels will head to Atlanta to unplug from digital life and get inspired. The Atlanta School is a week-long set of workshops, founded by Boiseans Amy O'Brien and Rachel Reichert.

To O’Brien, the remoteness of it all is what makes The Atlanta School so special.

“I think it’s so rare," says O'Brien. "We want to provide that for students; they can completely just disconnect and immerse themselves in whatever art form they choose.”

Reichert and O'Brien started the school to liven up the town, which was founded in 1864. The year-round population is 19.

O'Brien is a curious mix of scrappy-historic-preservationist and classically-trained-artist. She was drawn to the town years ago, when she was still a dancer in New York City. She’s restored four buildings since then, including a 150-year-old cabin which she moved to Atlanta from Boise in 2008.

DSCN5088_0.JPG
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio
Photography teacher Jonathan Sadler and Atlanta School co-founder Amy O'Brien sit on the porch of a pioneer's cabin. Porch sitting is taken seriously in the town of 19.

“This part of American history is important," O'Brien says. "It’s not like the Taj Mahal or somewhere where Abraham Lincoln slept. But these little mining buildings -- they’re really modest -- but I think they’re worth saving as well.”

One of the cabins at the Atlanta School is occupied by Boise-based photographer Jonathan Sadler. Sadler will teach a photography workshop about applying landscape techniques for small subjects, think Ansel Adams does portraiture. Sitting on the cabin porch, Sadler looks out on Greylock Mountain, a craggy 9,000 foot peak. It's a breathtaking backdrop.

DSCN5074.JPG
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio
Staying in Atlanta is a truly rustic experience, with no running water, electricity, cell service or internet.

Sadler says his Atlanta School students won’t have a dark room or electricity, but that’s a good thing.

“I like that you’re limited," he says, "and I think having limitations is one of the greatest things for creativity.”

But Sadler says there’s no limit to the things he wants to photograph in town. His students will get to experience just how photogenic Atlanta, Idaho really is during his workshop next week.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2016 Boise State Public Radio