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Boise is home to a burgeoning artistic scene. Artists from different genres are collaborating in interesting, and sometimes challenging ways, pushing Boiseans to new understandings of art.With the shadow of the Great Recession still hanging over them, a group of emerging artists have decided to make Boise their springboard – potentially changing the city’s cultural landscape forever.We'll introduce you to these five Boise artists who are making a name for themselves. Plus, find behind-the-scences photos and video, and learn more about the artists at our blog.00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff727c0001Name: Anne McDonald aka Frankly FrankieArt form: Burlesque danceAnne McDonald fell in love with burlesque almost ten years ago. A few years later, she formed The Red Light Variety Show and has been pushing the envelope with her dance and performance art ever since. Anne – whose stage name is Frankly Frankie – leads the Frankly Burlesque show every Sunday in downtown Boise.Anne’s headed to NYC for some special cabaret training this summer, where she hopes to book a couple of shows before returning to Boise.Hear her story.00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff727e0002Name: Jake FulliloveArt form: FilmFilmmaker Jake Fullilove is full of ambition. At 21-years-old he’s already started his own film equipment rental company, and is in post-production for his first short film. "Spring Garden" is a psychological thriller filmed in Boise last summer. Jake says it was his most challenging (and exciting) creative project yet. Jake wants to help put Idaho – and Boise specifically – on the filmmaking map. 00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff72800000Name: Danny KerrArt form: MusicMusician Danny Kerr is an in-demand guy. He composes music and does sound design for film projects, plays bass in a young rock n’ roll band, regularly packs the dance floor when he DJ’s at the Neurolux, and runs the sound for touring and local bands playing at The Crux. He’s also been sitting on his second solo album for months, making sure it’s perfect before releasing it to hungry Brother Dan fans. 00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff72820000Name: Cody RuttyArt form: PaintingCody Rutty made painting his fulltime job a couple of years ago. Since then, he’s sold work to people from all 50 states and more than 20 different countries.Cody studied architecture at the University of Idaho before deciding to follow his childhood dream of being an artist, but the drafting board still influences his work. He’s been an Artist In Residence through the city’s Arts and History Department, and has an upcoming solo show at State and Lemp this June. Hear his story. 00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff72840000Name: Heidi KraayArt form: TheaterHeidi Kraay is one busy playwright. The 30-year-old’s latest play is called “DIRT,” and it runs through May 31 in Boise.Heidi is also a Theater Lab teacher, helping teens learn how to write, produce and perform their own plays at Boise Contemporary Theater. This summer she’s participating in the renowned Seven Devils Playwrights Conference in McCall, and she was recently accepted to a MFA program at the California Institute of Integral Studies.Hear her story.This series was made possible by a grant from the Boise City Department of Arts and History.

Boise Playwright Heidi Kraay Is Ready For Her Next Challenge

Kate Grosswiler
for Boise State Public Radio

Boise playwright Heidi Kraay has a lot to celebrate these days.

This weekend marks the end of the two-week run of “DIRT,” her most recent production. Without giving too much away, it’s the story of a flashy new medical company that makes a product promising health and longevity for its Boise clients.

The avant-garde show is smart, funny and dark -- and is the culmination of an idea Kraay’s been working on for years.

Although her name is at the top of the billing for “DIRT,” the young playwright is quick to share the spotlight with her collaborators at Boise’s HomeGrown Theatre.

“There was so much that changed when the other writers came in to the process," she says, "and when the director came in, when the other actors came in, when the designers came in -- it changes. And I think that’s really the beautiful part about theater.”

Credit Frankie Barnhill / for Boise State Public Radio
for Boise State Public Radio
Kraay (back to camera) watches HomeGrown Theatre actors rehearse her latest play, "DIRT."

Kraay seems to constantly be in motion, juggling multiple projects at a time. Besides crafting new work, she’s helping to bring up the next generation of Boise theater stars.

As much as loves doing theater, Kraay has an equal love of teaching it. She works with teens at Boise Contemporary Theater’s after school program, guiding them as they write, produce and perform their own original play in just a matter of weeks.

“I get a lot out of teaching," says the playwright. "As an artist, it really teaches me to focus and simplify and clarify what I’m doing and my process, just by sharing it. And kids, students, young artists can be a strong meter for what’s false or authentic.”

Credit Kate Grosswiler / for Boise State Public Radio
for Boise State Public Radio
Kraay teaches kids at Boise Contemporary Theater. She also works with students at The Cabin Literary Center.

Kraay says she’s impressed by their passion and work ethic, and it inspires her to keep honing her craft.

To do that, Kraay has to write -- a lot. Every day she does writing exercises. She’ll set a timer and open up a notebook, and then she lets her mind loose on the blank page. Some days she writes a poem, a scene for a play she’s working on, or self-reflections on her art.
The emerging artist has saved pretty much everything she’s ever written in her 30 years. There’s stacks of notebooks on her home-office floor, and boxes of them in her garage.

Kraay says she’s learning to be less self-critical as a writer, and to trust her gut. She says part of her purpose as an artist is to figure out how to be a better person -- and being hypercritical would detract from that.

That growing confidence is gaining her respect in Boise’s theater community, as more of her work is put out in the world for critique.

“Unlike a lot of writers, she’s not hypersensitive and she doesn’t get defensive about [getting critique]," says Boise State theater arts professor Michael Baltzell. "I think that helps her grow."

Baltzell taught Heidi, and has watched her evolve as an artist since then. Baltzell says Kraay’s versatility as a writer and teacher will help give her staying power. But when asked whether she should stay in Boise,  he does have a gentle suggestion.   

“Those are decisions she has to make," says Baltzell. "My encouragement is always -- yeah, go away. I mean, you’ve been here. Go do something you haven’t done. This is going to be here, you can come back.” 

Credit Frankie Barnhill / for Boise State Public Radio
for Boise State Public Radio
Kraay (second from right) during a reading of "DIRT" earlier this spring. Also pictured is actor Sarah Gardner (far left) and director Kyle Barrow (far right).

In August, Kraay will take Baltzell's advice. She’s been accepted into a master's program in San Francisco, and she’ll be splitting time between their and Boise.

“It’s going to be harder, and that’s important for me," says the writer. "I need to really hone what I’m doing and how I’m doing it.”

Click "play" to hear more about Kraay's relationship to Boise.

The choice to go back to school is a practical one. Kraay says having her master's will help her teach at the college level. And there’s another reason.

“I probably won’t have a play professionally produced here unless I do leave and come back," she says. "A lot of Boise won’t take a young artist seriously if they think they’re from here.”

Kraay’s fearless about change. Her dad was in the Navy and her family moved every couple of years. For most of her life, change was the norm.

Kraay says it’s also hard to see staying in Boise forever. She says she’s aware of the dangers of standing still too long as an artist, and she’s ready for the next challenge. If that means leaving Boise -- even if just for a little while -- she’s OK with that.

“I feel like I’ll always have roots here. If I can be able to do really great exciting art like I’m doing right now then it’s hard to see leaving.”

Today’s profile is the second in a series we’re calling “Artist Statement.” The Boise City Department of Arts and History is providing funding for this project. Tune in next Friday for a profile of a burlesque dancing performance artist. You can also check out more about this project on Tumblr and tweet to @FABarnhill using the hashtag #BoiseArts.

Frankie Barnhill was the Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show and podcast.

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