Arts & Culture

Locals Guide to Art Galleries in Sun Valley

Ketchum local Rudi Broschofsky grew up with art—after all, his parents opened Broschofsky Galleries in 1987 when he was just 5 years old. Spending days in the gallery after school and helping with Gallery Walks enmeshed him in Ketchum’s art scene and gave him an appreciation for art that would last a lifetime. After becoming partnered into the gallery in 2005, Rudi moved to Portland for several years where he started his own street art gallery, Flat Blak, before moving back to Ketchum almost two years ago to take over the majority of day-to-day operations at Broshofsky Galleries. An artist himself, Rudi’s street art approach to western art can be seen in various spots around town like his “Roper” sculpture on Main and Fourth in Ketchum. As a lifelong local, artist, and gallery owner, Rudi is the best man in town to give you the 411 on Ketchum’s art gallery scene.

Rudi's "roper"

How would you describe the gallery scene in this town generally?

Rudi: I’d say the gallery scene here is better than most cities actually. A lot of people don’t realize the magnitude of the art scene here in Ketchum, it’s world-class and conveniently stuffed within a few short blocks. Each of our galleries has ever changing shows and artists and you’re bound to see new things in each one of them throughout the year. Broschofsky Galleries doesn’t do art fairs, but a lot of the other galleries do and that’s where they’re getting new artists and figuring out what’s current in the art world. I’d say most people here are carrying the more established artists that really exist.

I think a lot of people are intimidated by art galleries and don’t necessarily feel like they can just stroll around. Art is weird, artists are definitely weird, but the gallery staff around SV is generally pretty normal, we don’t bite and it’s okay to ask us questions. Take an hour out of your day and explore the galleries here—it’s pretty fun! It’s a perfect date or just make a lunch out of it with friends.

What types of art does each gallery show—for instance, where should some go to see modern art, photography, etc.?

Rudi: It’s hard to generalize our local galleries as they are ever-changing with new shows and new artists. To be honest, sometimes I walk into a gallery and love their artist lineup and show and then I don’t really dig it with the following artist rotation. I mean, that’s art, each individual work has an entirely different feel to each person, let alone an entire exhibit.

If you’re low on time or picky I recommend doing a bit of homework before a Gallery Walk. Most of the established galleries (and the SV Museum of Art) in town belong to the Sun Valley Gallery Association and their website has information about each gallery along with a link to their individual website; it’s as quick and easy as that.

Ochi Gallery

But if I had to describe what the galleries in the Association show, I would say:

  • Gilman Contemporary: This is an obvious one since it’s in the name—contemporary. They show more contemporary works though I’ve gone in there and seen some traditional art as well.
  • Kneeland Gallery: A focus on western subjects and landscape art
  • Gail Severn: That’s kind of a tough one because they rotate things so frequently that I’ve seen Pacific Northwest shows there, I’ve seen landscape shows there, I’ve seen modern shows there. They’re kind of always switching things up. But I would generally describe them as contemporary as well.
  • Broschofsky Galleries: We’re really switching gears right now. We used to be a western art gallery. We still obviously have a lot of western subject but we’re moving to a lot of abstract and modern art too. And definitely changed from traditional western more toward contemporary western too.
  • Sun Valley Museum of Art: They’re a museum so they totally change shows, and it can be more fun since it’s a museum show so you can have more wacky stuff. They have to tour you through it and describe what the artist is doing.
  • Frederic Boloix Gallery: I would classify it as classical, more high-end art, but sometimes he has new age stuff like Cuban artists and such.
  • Friesen Gallery: I would classify as contemporary as well. They do a lot of sculpture and glasswork too.
  • Mesh: Landscape photography from its five members

Can you tell me about the galleries not in the Association?

Rudi: There are hidden galleries everywhere, like professional photographers and artists who have their own spaces. There are some galleries not in the Association like Ochi Gallery, Harvey Art Projects, Wood River Fine Arts, and Aurobora as well, but generally all of these spots have varying hours and are a little more off the beaten path.

Rudi posing in front of his art

What’s the best way to do a self-guided gallery walk?

Rudi: Like most social events these days, the galleries are working together to try and work out the kinks of the best and safest way to move forward as far as Gallery Walks go. Once they are back in action, my insider advice is to plan your walk around dinner; try and get a reservation somewhere, otherwise plan on eating super early or waiting in a line. Gallery Walks are generally scheduled around busier seasons, holiday weekends, etc. when town is already busy, and gallery walk just feeds to that.

Another tip: take a minute to walk around and enjoy the artwork…all too often it turns into a social scene and many attendees talk to each other with their backs to the walls during their entire visit. Almost every unstaged Gallery Walk photo ironically shows everyone with their backs to the artwork.

Gallery walk

Are there galleries that are appointment only or is everywhere walk-in?

Rudi: Depends on the season, day, hour, minute, and also the weather. Some of the galleries are definitely more consistent with their hours and work attire while at others you may find someone casually strolling in covered in mud after a lunch mountain bike ride. After all, this isn’t your average mountain town, this is Sun Valley and some of us have our priorities straight. I definitely wouldn’t recommend scheduling a gallery tour on a good powder day.

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