Why We're Introducing You To 5 Emerging Boise Artists

May 22, 2014

On Friday, KBSX will begin a series of stories on five emerging Boise artists. We’re calling the series “Artist Statement.” I won a grant from the Boise City Arts and History Department to produce these stories.

Freelance reporter Frankie Barnhill behind-the-scenes with playwright and theater teacher Heidi Kraay.
Credit Kate Grosswiler

To learn more about the series, I sat down with Scott Graf to explain why we're telling these stories, and what you can expect over the next five weeks.

Q: Where did you get the idea for this series?

A: Well, it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while. When I moved to Boise a few years ago, I had no idea what was going on artistically here. And to be honest, I kind of assumed not much. But pretty quickly I found out there’s a lot is going on, and much of the most interesting stuff is driven by these emerging -- and oftentimes young -- artists. So, this series is about highlighting a just a handful of the up-and-coming artists in Boise who are making the city more art-savvy in their own ways.    

Q: The series begins Friday, by the end of your series who will we have met?

A: First, you’re going to meet oil painter Cody Rutty. He’s 29-years-old, and he’s spent most of his life in Boise. But a couple years ago he spent some time in a secluded studio in New Meadows -- and that was the first time he made art his fulltime job.

“I learned a lot especially about work ethic, self-discipline, direction and what I’m actually capable of doing,” he said.

Since then, Cody’s sold work to people from all 50 states and more than 20 different countries. And he’s had a lot of local recognition though -- he’s been an Artist In Residence through the city’s Arts and History Department, and recently finished up a commission at an architecture firm in the new 8th and Main building.

Q: Who else will we meet?

A: In June, we’ll take a dive into Boise’s young theater world. Playwright Heidi Kraay just premiered her most recent work with Homegrown Theater, and that play’s literally been years in the making. We’ll learn about her trajectory and what makes her tick. Next up will be a profile on Anne McDonald, who happens to go by the stage name Frankly Frankie. To keep it simple I’ll call her Anne. Anne does performance art and dance -- her specialty is burlesque and cabaret. And yes, -- that does include strip tease. She also does trapeze work, clowning and vaudeville singing and acting.

Q: That’s three -- so two more. Who else will round out the series?

A: Yes two more. So the last two will be Danny Kerr; he’s a musician and an in-demand guy. He’s also been sitting on his second solo album for months, making sure it’s perfect before releasing it. And finally there’s Jake Fullilove. He’s a filmmaker and is in post-production for his first short film -- he shot it last summer in Boise using lots of local talent. And he’s got big plans for himself and for the city.

Q: So those are five radio stories you’re working on. But you’re also doing a lot online, tell me about that.

A: Yeah, I’ve been keeping a Tumblr blog specific to this project, it's sort of my reporter’s notebook to give people a look into my thought process as I’ve gone around these stories. You can check out photos, videos and lots of little reporting tidbits there. I’ve also been tweeting a lot about the series and I would love to have more people use the hashtag #boisearts to keep the conversation going.  

Q: And you’re organizing a community event for next month, correct?

A: Yes, on June 19 at the Sesqui-Shop in downtown Boise, we’ll have an open house as a kind of capstone for the series. The artists will be there, and I hope you will too Scott, so mark your calendar!

Q: Before you go back to reporting on these emerging artists, I do have to ask: how did you come up with the name for the project, again you’re calling it “Artist Statement”?

A: Good question. In radio, we get this unique opportunity to step into people’s lives and get to intimately know their voice -- quite literally. So I took the idea of a conventional “artist statement” and then posed this seemingly simple question: why do these artists make their art in Boise? And from there, it got really interesting.

Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio