Art Exhibit Depicts Idaho Murder Trial

Art Exhibit Depicts Idaho Murder Trial

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Carole Mikita Reporting A famous trial in Idaho is the subject of an exhibit at the Salt Lake Art Center. Even though the crime happened a hundred years ago, the artist feels the story has relevance today. A bombing, an assassination and all of the people who made the trial sensational--they tell the story of the 'Idaho Project'.

History as art, the story told through sculptures; 18 busts of the key players in a conflict between the mining industry and the government in 1907.

Kent Powell, Utah State Historical Society: "They really almost come to life in the artist's portrayal of them. You can really feel the emotion."

Seattle artist, Scott Fife, created the works. The larger the size, the more important the person was in the story. Former Idaho Governor, Frank Steunenberg, was assassinated.

Kent Powell: "Controversial in that he arranged for the united states army to be sent in to help break the strike."

Gallery-goers will note the eyes and the horns of Harry Orchard, convicted of the crime.

Kent Powell: "There was evidence in his hotel room. It's always been amazing to me why he didn't have an escape plan."

Famed attorney, Clarence Darrow, took center stage in the trial. Sharing media attention was leading actress of the time, Ethel Barrymore. They are larger than life, but the jury is made up of 12 men whose heads are in miniature.

The artwork is made of cardboard, glue, nails and paint.

Ric Collier, Director, Salt Lake Art Center: "In this case, he has chosen, if not purposely, honestly, that the story became as important as the images he was putting out."

To this day the involvement of members of the mining union remains a mystery.

"The Idaho Project" will be at the Salt Lake Art Center through October 2nd. There is a public reception this Friday from 6 to 9 pm.

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