BYU-Idaho has an art collection that numbers into the thousands. Kyoung DaBell, the curator for the Spori Art Gallery, says there are about 3,000 pieces in its vault. These are pieces that are a little more fragile and are not shown in public places very often. “View from the Vault: Selected Works from BYU-Idaho Masters Collection” features 40 or so pieces, mostly oil paintings, but some etchings too.

“The theme is vague,” DaBell said, “so it could be anything, not necessarily tied them all in one medium or one artist but many different types of media and also different artists, and different time as well.”

The vault itself – more of a storage room - is about the size of a two-car garage where the art hangs on the walls, on rolling panels and in drawers. It sits inside the gallery’s workroom, which is on the west side of the gallery in the Jacob Spori Building.

BYU-Idaho displays much of its art collection on the walls of its buildings throughout campus. There is an art acquisition committee which looks for art. Unlike many art collections, the art BYU-Idaho’s committee searches for is more about the students.

“Our collections are valued as what kind of education value does this piece of art provide,” DaBell said. “Can our students learn from it? Can they better themselves as an artist or even better their lives by being inspired by these collections?”

The pieces on display include still life paintings, portraits, landscapes and even prints of etchings from Rembrandt. These prints are small, about 5-inches by 5 1/2-inches. DaBell says the collection was donated to the school. The six new prints feature scenes from the life of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. One print called “The Flight into Egypt” depicts Mary holding Jesus on a donkey and Joseph leading the donkey. Mary and Joseph are older than they are often depicted in art. They are also wearing Dutch hats. The detail of the etching is also evident.

“You can observe how Rembrandt rendered (the) donkey’s ears. He’s got about three little strokes and then all of a sudden you can see the fuzziness of his ears,” DaBell said.

The portrait of the Duke of Portsmouth by George Romney greats visitors as they enter the exhibit. You’ll see other pieces from notable artists and some from anonymous artists. One piece shows a girl and her lambs. It was acquired in a flee market in Paris. The age of the painting is unknown and the intricate frame has some noticeable wear and tear, which DaBell makes a point of not fixing.

“Some people might come and say, ‘That should have been repaired,’ but to me that shows the history of where it’s been. It’s been in a flee market in Paris and across the Atlantic Ocean.”

DaBell usually plans out exhibits a year or two in advance. This particular exhibit was meant to showcase BYU-Idaho’s collection of Russian painters and was going to be titled “To Russia with Love.” However, near the end of January, with the exhibit prepared and ready to be installed, DaBell started to feel she should change the exhibit. At the time, she didn’t know why. Then the Russian invasion into Ukraine happened.

“One of my students came to my office and said, ‘Sister DaBell, how did you know?’” DaBell said. “To some people, maybe a coincidence, but to me it was a small miracle.”

You can view the exhibit for free Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m.-8 p.m. through April 7.