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Arts & Culture
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.

Study Finds Boise Artists Want To Stay Despite Limited Resources

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Leslie Durham, Amanda Ashley
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Boise State University

A study released this week shows Boise has a vibrant cultural scene, but points to gaps in artistic opportunities, especially among emerging artists.

The comprehensive study from Boise State University professors surveyed more than 500 artists from a variety of disciplines. Visual artists, designers, musicians, dancers, writers, filmmakers and theater artists were all included.

Boise State theater arts professor Leslie Durham co-authored the paper. Along with community and regional planning professor Amanda Ashley, Durham was interested in understanding what the creative workforce in Boise looks like. 

"This seemed like really important information for thinking about how the city, how the university, how the state could better invest and support the wonderful artists that we know make their home here fulltime, part-time, [who] pass through the valley seasonally," says Durham.

The survey asked respondents about their arts training, both academic and professional. It also asked whether members of the creative class are able to make a living in Boise, and whether they plan to stay in the city. They broke up the categories by emerging, mid-career and established artists -- illustrating different experiences among artists depending on their career status. 

"We had a suspicion that maybe they weren't being supported as comprehensively as they [could] be and so we wanted to talk to artists about what it means to live and work in Boise," says Durham.

She says the results of the survey indicate their hypothesis was correct.

"We found a large group of highly trained, artistically successful workers who struggle to make a living," Durham says. "And yet, they are really committed to this place. They love Boise; they've been here for a long time -- they want to make their home here -- they want to make their art here."

  • 48 percent have undergraduate training in the arts
  • 30 percent have graduate training in the arts
  • 31 percent have participated in public workshops or seminars
  • Only 27 percent say they have all the resources they need in the Boise Valley
  • 44 percent of emerging artists say their creative work doesn't pay the bills
  • Despite that, 68 percent of emerging artists still intend to stay in Boise

Durham says she hopes the study will start a policy conversation about what arts infrastructure is needed to retain and grow the creative community in Boise. 
Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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