Helping Works

Anna Webb: Arts leader Fred Norman gets long overdue honor at the Morrison Center

The Fred Norman memorial piece in the Morrison Center lobby at Boise State University.
The Fred Norman memorial piece in the Morrison Center lobby at Boise State University. Provided by David Skinner

Fred Norman, a theatre arts professor at Boise State, was one of the community’s brightest artistic and theatrical lights. Norman died in 2013. During his lifetime, he managed student programs at the university and directed the Student Union. Norman was a driving force behind founding both Taco Bell Arena and the Morrison Center. Velma Morrison herself said that without Norman’s advocacy, the Morrison Center would not exist. Despite all of that, there has never been a tangible marker on campus of Norman’s contributions until now.

A group of Norman’s many fans and friends worked with the Morrison Center Foundation in 2015 to create a memorial plaque dedicated to Norman. It now hangs prominently in the Morrison Center’s lobby. Local artist Mark Baltes of Landmark Impressions, along with Sue Cook and Todd Klements at Forge Signworks, designed and installed the memorial piece.

“Fred Norman used his unique and multiple talents to bring the people of this community together to build a world-class center for the performing arts. The Fred Norman Memorial, which was recently constructed in the Velma Morrison Center, is an enduring legacy to his selfless contribution,” said longtime friend David Skinner.

Those who would like to further support Norman’s legacy have an opportunity. The Fred Norman Memorial Scholarship in Theatre Arts at Boise State, has only half the money it needs to become fully endowed. Friends and others who admired Norman are now hoping to inspire donations to endow the scholarship.

If you would like to make a gift, send a check to the Boise State University Foundation or give online at Reference the Fred Norman Memorial Scholarship Fund ID AS155.

Former Statesman columnist Tim Woodward wrote in his blog a memorial for Norman in 2013 titled “Fred Norman: genius, mentor, mystery.” The essay noted the need for a permanent marker for Norman. Read the essay online at Woodward quoted film director and Idahoan Michael Hoffman in his piece: “Boise is a richer place for [Norman] and all of his gifts. This is a place full of gifted people, and he gave us the gift of believing in ourselves… He was my mentor. When I didn’t believe in myself, he would always believe in me. And he was tireless. He never slept. he just drank coffee and inspired people.”

Books! Books! Books! For a good cause

The Friends of Boise Public Library holds its annual Spring Book Sale April 6 through 10. The sale includes books, music, movies, magazines and more and is held across from the Main Library in the warehouse at 762 River St. A members-only preview sale will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. on April 6. Shoppers can join or renew their memberships at the door for $10 and up. (Note: electronic scanning is not permitted at the preview.)

Public sale hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. On Wednesday through Saturday, additional books are stocked throughout the day. All merchandise is half-price on Sunday. Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted for payment, as well as cash and checks.

Sale items include paperback and hardback books which are sorted into 40 categories and are priced at 50 cents for paperbacks, $1 for hardbacks, or $9 by-the-bag. Some first editions, oversized books, cookbooks and local interest books are individually priced. You’ll also find thousands of LP records, CDs, VHS movies, audio books, posters and prints, plus sets of books, all priced to sell.

Last year, the Friends of the Boise Public Library, a nonprofit volunteer organization founded to promote the library, raised over $170,000 to benefit the library through book sales, online sales and the Tree City Books bookstore at the Main Library.

To learn more about the Spring Book Sale, donating books or joining the Friends organization, call 972-8247, or visit the library’s website at www.boisepubliclibrary .org/Friends.

Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation offers a new grant

The organization seeks proposals from nonprofit organizations that are working to meet the needs of low-income residents of Boise or Ada County through transportation or permanent housing/support services. The new “Above and Beyond Collaboration” grant will provide $25,000 or more. The deadline to submit proposals is noon on May 17.

IWCF seeks a grantee that will leverage the grant money by collaborating with other organizations, agencies or the private sector to receive additional funds that will increase its impact. The selection will also focus on the sustainability of the effort to be funded.

The lack of reliable, affordable transportation and the way that impacts the ability of people to get to their jobs was the inspiration for this grant, along with the desire to support formerly homeless people who have found stable housing.

Find information online at

Ride to ‘Raise the Roof’ with Boise Bicycle Project

The Boise Bicycle Project hosts the Riding to Raise the Roof Campaign Launch Party at 6:30 p.m., Friday, April 1 at the shop, 1027 S. Lusk. The BBP crew will have tons of invitations/fliers at the shop. You can get a bunch and hand them out to all your bike-loving friends and acquaintances. But first, enjoy free beverages from New Belgium Brewing, tour the shop, enjoy a little high-spirited Bingo and more. Have some cool ideas to make this bike party even cooler? ​Email Jen, creative director at

Donate your prom dress to help a young woman have a special evening

Dresstravaganza is a local nonprofit that provides prom dresses free of charge for teens in need. The group began small, in 2009, by collecting 100 prom dresses for one high school. The group has since grown, along with its inventory. Dresstravaganza now has 1,000 gowns and a home at the Boise Outlet Mall. Dresstravaganza is partnering with Gemtext Recycling to collect more gowns for the upcoming prom season.

Donating is easy: Put your dress in a bag, label it “prom” with permanent marker and drop it off at any Gemtext bin. Find a list of locations online at Dresstravaganza will sort, clean and mend donated dresses. They will be available on Saturdays in April. To learn more and schedule an appointment, text 208-297-3332 or email

Artists display their work in Creative Healing exhibit

Nine artists, all former patients of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation, will display their work in an evening exhibit from 4:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 31 at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation, 600 N. Robbins Road, on the fourth floor. There is no admission, and the public is welcome.

Participating artists are Hernan Reyes, Peggy Jo Wilhelm, Barrie K. Ernst, Michael Jones, Marilyn Cosho, Dan Staples, Don Collins, Connie Sales and Richard Herdegen. The artists use a wide variety of art forms. Each artist has used the creative process to help heal from health challenges including spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease and others. Art forms include fused glass, oil paint, woodwork and tempera finger paints.

All artwork will be available for sale (check or cash only) and all proceeds go directly to the artists. For information, contact Christelle Lyman, curator, at or call 208-250-0062.

April 1: It’s now a day for artists

The Idaho Commission on the Arts is kicking off its 50th anniversary celebration by hosting a free live music concert on Friday, April 1 from 4 to 7 p.m. at its offices, 2410 N. Old Penitentiary Road in Boise. The concert is part of Art Sparks! Day, a social media event encouraging all Idahoans to engage in an “act of art,” whatever that may be.

The concert will feature local bands Idyltime and Afrosonics as well as a jam session/open mic. Call 208-334-2119 for more information.