Desert Half-Life

“Desert Half-Life” a fabric piece by Thea Belecz is part of the art exhibition “Holding What Can’t Be Held.”

We all learn and experience in different ways. Some of us want to read a scientific journal article, some to hear a first-person account. Some of us can fully visualize things in our mind’s eye, and others are only satisfied when we see, smell, and touch the thing itself. The Snake River Alliance has been one of the strongest advocates for cleanup at the Idaho National Laboratory and we want to help as many people as possible learn about the pollution at the Site and the beauty that surrounds it. In October 2014, we invited visual artists to join us on a tour to witness the cleanup efforts of some of the more contaminated places at INL. The artists came from across southern Idaho. Some were fairly familiar with the US nuclear weapons complex – the mother of one worked at the Rocky Flats plutonium factory, the father of another worked at INL. For others, the tour was their introduction to an almost alien place very near home. None of the artists left untouched.

Holding What Can’t Be Held collects their work probing the beauty and the peril of what they saw – and helps the rest of us see it, too. It had a very successful showing at Ming Studios in Boise and we are planning on showing it in other parts of the state as well. The exhibition has already received a strong, positive response, which we will make certain increases the attention paid to the importance of protecting Idaho from nuclear pollution – past, present, and proposed. Here’s one review. Many, many people are helping make this endeavor a success. You’ll see their names in our fall newsletter.