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After its grand opening was put off because of the pandemic, Echo Arts is ready to show off.

“We’re going to just work within the recommendations set forth and hopefully still really engage people with great art,” said Sahra Beaupré, one of Echo Arts’ two founders. “Not quite the same, but we’re giving it the best show that we have.”

Echo Arts, at 802 N. Wallace Ave., opened this week. But really, it began a few years before that. In 2018, Beaupré and fellow co-founder Greta Hagg met and decided to collaborate to create a pop-up contemporary art event called Stettie Ruth.

“It was supposed to activate the local artist community but also bring in some regional artists,” said Beaupré. “We really wanted the community to realize that art can be very participatory.”

Beaupré and Hagg put on three versions of Stettie Ruth in unorthodox venues around town: the bar above the Rialto Theater, the Story Mill warehouse and a friend’s converted bus.

“We very quickly realized that an actual brick-and-mortar space could give us some longevity to do shows that we wish didn’t have to come down at the end of the night,” Beaupré said. “That was the seed of Echo Arts.”

Beaupré and Hagg both had years of experience in the art community, both in creating art and on the business side. To keep the revenue flowing and the doors open, Echo Arts also offers art advising and venue rentals in addition to the contemporary art gallery.

“Art advising, it’s another term for art consulting,” Hagg said. “Basically, we work with industry professionals like interior designers, architects, commercial spaces along with private collectors to really help source work for their particular space.”

Beaupré and Hagg can help the owner of a commercial building get a feel for what kind of art would work well in their space, for instance, and then help find and connect them to artists who can execute a mural or create a sculpture.

“There’s a big desire for great art in public and private spaces, but a lot of times people don’t know where to begin,” Beaupré said. “Having that on-the-ground network that we do with local artists and (artists) across the nation, it’s really fun to show people how their little seed of an idea can become something much bigger and more complete.”

And, as far as venue rentals, the two believe Echo can help spice up events by giving them a unique setting.

“Galleries are so beautiful, and so many good rental spaces around town or across the country are just kind of dull and bland,” Hagg said. “This has got a beautiful backdrop for whatever event people would like to show.”

Hanging in the space now is a textile-based exhibit created by local artist Alayna Rasile and Boise-based artist Rachael Mayer. The show was originally scheduled to open in March, but the still-looming threat of spreading COVID-19 postponed the opening.

But the gallery’s spacious main room lends itself well to social distancing, Hagg and Beaupré said. Between that and constant sanitization of doorknobs and public spaces, the two felt it was time for the gallery to open.

“We’ve been looking at this gorgeous artwork by ourselves for a while,” Beaupré said.

Echo Arts is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Private showings can be arranged by reaching out to the gallery at

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at or at (406) 582-2651.