SVMoA Blog

Lella Aicher: Taking Inspiration Forward

Enero 9, 2024
Lella Aicher

The 2024 SVMoA Scholarships season kicks off on January 12, when applications for six different scholarships open. Every year, the Sun Valley Museum of Art awards tens of thousands of dollars to local students and educators in Blaine County to further their education in the arts and humanities. Since its inception, SVMoA has awarded over $1 million in scholarships, made possible by funds raised at SVMoA's Annual Wine Auction and generous contributions from donors.

This month, we spotlight Lella Aicher, 2023 SVMoA scholarship recipient and first-year student at Point Loma Nazarene University. Join us for a sneak peek into Lella’s life as a college student as she shares how the arts have played a transformative role in her life and continue to influence her future.

Curator Courtney Gilbert sat down with Lella to talk about her connections to the Museum, how she’s using her scholarship, and what she has planned (the arts are part of that plan!).

You’ve been involved in the Museum in many ways over the years! Can you share a little bit about the role of the Museum in your life as you grew up here in the valley?  

I first got involved with the Museum when I met Danica [Danica Robrahn, former SVMoA Museum Educator and current Art Teacher at Hemingway STEAM School]. I knew her through school tours and SVMoA’s work in the schools. She invited me to start taking SVMoA’s weekend workshops for kids and teens. I took so many! Some of my favorites were a printmaking workshop using stencils, a class on the basics of photography and cinematography, and two yarn-bombing workshops. I also attended the Museum’s weeklong summer art camps. 

What did you like best about art camp? 

I loved that you could let out your inner self. Campers have the flexibility to do whatever they want creatively within the guidelines of a specific project. The projects gave you structure, but you had lots of creative freedom.   

You’ve also worked for the Museum as an Assistant in our Smart Art Afterschool program and as an Assistant at summer camp. What did you enjoy about those experiences?  

I love watching the kids at work, expressing their creativity. I could live vicariously through them as I watched them make art without a filter, not feeling like their ideas had to be limited by society’s expectations. As you grow up, I feel like you start to limit yourself creatively based on what you think society expects of you, and often to one medium. It was so great to see kids open to all kinds of artistic mediums and ideas. Working with them was a full-circle moment for me — a reminder not to limit my own creative practice.   

Lella Aicher, Art Camp Assistant

What SVMoA scholarships have you been awarded? How are you putting them to use?  

I won two scholarships this year: the Hardy Kaslo Arts & Humanities Scholarship and the High School Arts & Humanities Scholarship. I’m currently using them to support my studies toward my B.A. at Point Loma Nazarene University, where I’m majoring in psychology with a minor in visual arts.   

Do you have any ideas about how you’d like to use your degree?  

I’ve been doing a lot of research on art therapy. I would love to start a nonprofit to make therapy and mental health treatment more accessible to all and to incorporate art therapy into that. In my psychology classes, I’ve already learned a lot about the brain and how art stimulates the brain in a healthy way. I’m interested in how art can help people heal and address things happening in their lives.  

I love that! Our next exhibition is all about the relationship between art and healing! What kind of art have you been making recently?  

I haven’t taken any studio art classes at college yet, but I’ve been taking introductory Art History classes. So, I’ve been doing small projects in my dorm room, working with watercolors and reworking and altering clothes. I’m making plans for larger projects I can do at home in Idaho. When I take notes in classes, I make lots of drawings and then turn those into study guides that are also art pieces.   

How have you enjoyed your Art History classes?  

I’ve loved them. The best part has been visiting the San Diego Museum of Art to see some of the art we’re studying in person. It’s amazing!  

What are you looking forward to in the next year?  

I’m excited to integrate more visual arts into my classes. I’m thinking about making visual arts my major and psychology my minor, so I’m looking forward to figuring that out and what my role will be here in college.  

Do you have a current favorite artist?  

Yes! Jon Allen, a sculptor in San Diego, installed a beautiful wood and light sculpture in a coffee shop here called Gordion Knot (2020). I love its meaning, which is the importance of finding unity and a place of comfort.    

Jon Allen, Gordion Knot

Jon Allen, Gordion Knot

That seems like a perfect place to end! Thank you so much for chatting with me!  

Thank you!