Wendy Blickenstaff to lead Interfaith Sanctuary’s art collective

Local artist Wendy Blickenstaff will be joining the team at Interfaith Sanctuary this month to take on our shelter’s art collective. Blickenstaff will teach workshops and connect unhoused artists and makers with opportunities to showcase their work in the community, create with our guests, and help artists in residence develop their skills into professional practice.

Blickenstaff grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho, and has lived in Boise since 2005. She holds degrees in visual and studio art and has showcased her work across the western United States. She defines her art practice as community building to create common good and uses interactions she collects in the community to create images. 

Blickenstaff is a printmaker but also paints and works with sculptures. She creates outdoor installations using large printing presses, a practice she brought to Interfaith Sanctuary during the pandemic to provide guests with a creative outlet. Guests enrolled in Project Well Being program created images that the group then transferred to fabric and hung on trees in an installation near Quinn’s Pond called the Boise Green Belt Art Experience Show in October 2020. 

The project took five weeks, and guests attended an opening where they could bring loved ones. “I realized that as an artist, I could help people to realize that we’re all going through the same thing,” Blickenstaff said of the project.

Now, Blickenstaff will work with Project Well Being on weekly projects. Interfaith Sanctuary’s art collective, founded in 2019, has been on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the collective can reconvene, Blickenstaff will work with groups of unhoused residents who utilize the space and materials provided at our shelter to create.

“My heart goes out to people that don’t have shelter or a place to live,” she said. “I think when people think about homelessness, they can’t imagine being unhoused, and they’re not looking at the talent, the abilities. When I went in to work with the residents, it was so rewarding. They have great ideas.”

“These are talented people that do not have a place to live right now. I want them to be able to realize their best lives, and I was honored that they trusted me enough to make art with me.”