The Best Thing We’ve Done


Idaho Stake Boosts Cultural Arts

If you wanted to have an involving, entertaining activity for members, what would you do? Nampa Idaho South Stake had a stake cultural arts fair that drew nearly half of all its adults.

Perhaps one reason for the fair’s success was its broad-based involvement. By the time it was over, well over a hundred had helped put it on, and hundreds more, including many nonmembers, had come to see the results.

Included in the fair were cultural arts of every description. Displays included numerous art entries that had been created by stake members—oils, acrylics, water colors, charcoal or pencil drawings, needlework creations, tole painting, and ceramics. Another area displayed collections of dolls, antique books, antique furniture, glass and china, restored vintage cars, and other antiques.

The stake Young Adults and each ward Relief Society had been invited to create a themed room. Themes varied from “Joys of a Celestial Life” to “Quilting Is What You Make It.” Each room exhibit received a ribbon complimenting it for what it excelled at—most original, best arrangement, most spiritual, and so on. Top honors went to the Melba Ward’s “grandmother’s kitchen,” completely furnished with period antiques. Weathered boards paneled the walls for added authenticity. Visitors took a step back in time as they were greeted by the hostess, who was dressed in one of her grandmother’s hand-sewn gowns.

Particularly popular among stake members was the “people’s choice” ballot, which allowed those interested to vote for their favorites among the exhibits as they went from room to room.

Prior to the fair, a writing contest had been held. The winning entries were printed in a booklet and sold at cost to fair-goers. Winning entries in each of the categories—poetry, short story, and song—were also presented in a special program, perhaps the highlight of the day. In addition to a presentation of the winning entries, the program included two original dance numbers and several pieces played by the “Nampa South Stake Orchestra.” The orchestra had thirty-three members, many of whom hadn’t played their instruments since high school. Pieces played ranged from “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” to “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over.”

When the fair was over, many of the visitors didn’t want to leave. As they passed through the door, they animatedly discussed the parts of the fair they’d enjoyed most.

Possibly the greatest compliment came from a busload of nonmember senior citizens who’d been brought by their member bus driver: “We can’t remember when we’ve had such a good time. When are you going to do it again?”

A thirty-three piece stake orchestra was organized especially for the Cultural Arts Fair. They played five songs, ranging in style from “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” to “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over.”