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Prospects: An Exploration of Mining


ining is an essential part of the story of the Wood River Valley. Beginning in the 1860s, prospectors arrived in the valley in search of silver, galena and gold. The towns of Bellevue, Hailey and Ketchum sprang up to serve an influx of immigrants who came from Ireland, Wales, Germany and China to work the mines. Although eventually replaced by the sheep industry and later tourism, the long-term impact of mining continues to resonate. In 1992, Triumph, a small town southeast of Sun Valley, was declared an EPA Superfund site after arsenic and other metals were found in the soil and water. Abandoned mines can be found in almost every canyon. Mining is also very much a current topic in other parts of the United States and around the world. Headlines warn us that we are running out of metals like copper and zinc and also reporting mining disasters in Utah, Pennsylvania, Russia and China. Mountaintop removal in Appalachia has permanently altered the landscape of West Virginia at the same time that enormous open pit mines dot the American West. Advocates for the environment are calling attention to the effects of mining on the land and on other industries, such as fishing, while mining companies and members of our government promote “clean coal� as part of the solution to our dependence on oil. In Africa, desire for diamonds has fueled several civil wars. The miners who toil long hours in intense manual labor around the world are often staggeringly underpaid in comparison to the wealth they generate. Simultaneously, mining continues to play a vital role in the global economy. Mines, of course, employ workers who need the wages they earn. When mines close, towns suffer and sometimes fail.

Andre Yi, London Mines, 2006, acrylic, ink and colored pencil on canvas, courtesy of the artist

Visual Arts The Center, Ketchum

Sebastião Salgado, Serra Pelada, Brasil (St. Sebastian), 1986, gelatin silver print, courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

Prospects: An Exploration of Mining October 9 – December 11, 2009

In the summer of 2008, painter Jennilie Brewster visited the Black Thunder Mine, the most productive open coal mine in the United States. A large scale painting she produced based on her visit will be accompanied by a new piece grounded in the history of mining in the West in the 19th century. Valerie Sullivan Fuchs has created a project examining the impact of mountain top removal (MTR) mining on eastern Kentucky. Her solar-powered light boxes and digital thermal prints featuring aerial images of the Appalachian Mountains and the results of MTR will be mounted around the city of Ketchum. Alfredo Jaar has spent his career producing artwork that explores situations of social, racial and ethnic inequity. In the 1980s, he created Gold in the Morning, a film and photographic project that documented the manual labor of thousands of pit miners in Brazil. Lucy Raven’s installation of photos explores the story behind Daybreak, Utah, an enormous housing development owned by Kennecott Land, sister company to Kennecott Mining. Daybreak is located on land adjacent to the Bingham Mine, a copper mine still in operation. Sebastião Salgado has traveled around the world documenting the lives of workers and migrants. In the 1980s, he photographed Serra Pelada, once the largest open gold mine in the world, and coal miners in India. Victoria Sambunaris has taken photographs of mines in the eastern and western United States. Her aerial views capture the physical impact of mining on the landscape. Andre Yi’s paintings of decrepit and abandoned buildings at 19th-century mines in the American West explore the relationship between mining, architecture and landscape.

Visual Arts The Center, Hailey

Mining the Wood River Valley September 11 – November 27

Explore the history of mining in the Wood River Valley through photographs drawn from the archives of the Idaho State Historical Soci-

ety and the Hailey Public Library’s Martyn Mallory Collection. Made from the late 19th century to the 1940s, the photos give us a glimpse into life in the valley a century ago. Nay Aug Mine, Deer Creek, Wood River Valley, Idaho State Historical Society, 78-156.2

Lucy Raven, Edge of Daybreak, 2008, digital print, courtesy of the artist

Valerie Sullivan Fuchs, the bride stripped bare by her bachelors (white light), 2007, solar-powered light box with duratrans print, courtesy of the artist

E ve n t s Le c t u r e & F i l m

Opening Celebration & Membership Party Fri, Oct 9, 5–8pm Join us for an opening celebration and our annual membership party! Meet some of the artists participating in Prospects and take in Lucy Raven’s Chinatown, a film that tracks copper ore from its extraction in Ruth, Nevada, to its processing in China. Gallery Walk Fri, Nov 27, 5-8pm Join us for drinks and appetizers as you view the exhibition. We will be screening Lucy ­Raven’s Chinatown.

Jennilie Brewster, The World Became a Slow Mirror, 2008, acrylic on brown bags with string, torn t-shirts, text, tape and rusted tail pipe, courtesy of the artist

Free Exhibition Tours Tue, Oct 20 and Tue, Nov 10 at 2pm and by arrangement Trained docents offer new insight into the artwork on display in free tours of our exhibitions.

Special Evening Exhibition Tour Thu, Oct 15, 5:30pm, Free Enjoy a glass of wine while you tour Prospects with the exhibition’s curator.

Lecture: Julie Weston, The Good Times Are All Gone Now Thu, Nov 5, 7pm The Center, Ketchum, Free What happens to a mining town after the mines close? Hailey resident Julie Weston has written a memoir, The Good Times Are All Gone Now, about growing up in the once rowdy mining town of Kellogg, Idaho. Her story starts the day the smokestack comes down and looks back into collective and personal memory to understand a way of life that is now over.

Film: Red Gold Wed, Oct 21, 7pm The Center, Ketchum, Free The Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska is home to the Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers, the two most prolific sockeye salmon runs left in the world. It is also home to the second largest deposit of copper, gold and molybdenum ever discovered. Two mining companies have proposed an open-pit and underground mine at the headwaters of the two rivers. Red Gold, an award winning documentary, introduces viewers to the region and gives its inhabitants the opportunity to tell the story of how this mine would affect their lives.

Classes & Field Trip Family Day Sat, Oct 17, 3–5pm The Center, Ketchum, Free Families will have an opportunity to tour the show, talk about the artwork and create their own art project. Teen Workshop Sat, Nov 14, 10am-4pm The Center, Hailey, $10 Pre-registration Students will create handmade books inspired by historical materials collected in and around local mines. Students will be taught the bookmaking process from beginning to end while also learning about the valley’s rich mining history.

Field Trip for Adults: Exploring Mines of the Wood River Valley with Tom Blanchard Sat, Oct 24, 10-4pm Meet at The Center, Hailey $25 members / $50 non-members Registration deadline: Fri, Oct 9 Join Tom Blanchard for a discussion of the impact the mining industry has had on the culture and landscape of the Wood River Valley. See what is being done on the environmental front and how Idaho has played a key role in setting federal policy relating to mine clean up. Please wear appropriate clothing and bring a packed lunch as this class will be conducted outside at multiple mine sites.

Victoria Sambunaris, Untitled (Coaldale, PA) 2007, chromogenic print, Lannan Foundation Collection, courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York


Sun Valley Center for the Arts P O Box 656 Sun Valley, ID 83353

Sun Valley Center for the Arts • 208.726.9491 Ketchum Hours • Location Mon–Fri, 9–5 • 191 Fifth St. East Hailey Hours • Location Wed–Fri, noon–5 • 314 S. Second Ave. cover: Alfredo Jaar, Gold in the Morning (special edition for Documenta 11), 2002, light box with chromogenic transparency, courtesy of the artist



Prospects: An Exploration of Mining  

The Sun Valley Center for the Arts presents an exhibition that explores Mining - witn both contemporary artwork and historic photos of minin...

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