What is culture?

4What is culture?
 By Karen Bubb, Public Art Manager

What is culture? Where do you find culture in Boise? What Boise-based cultural experiences work? What Boise-based cultural experiences are not working? What cultural experiences would you like to see? These five questions have helped drive the conversation around Boise’s cultural planning process. So far, nearly two-hundred people have responded.

Where do you find culture in Boise?
“The Flying M. Fort Boise Community Center classes. On the street.” –response submitted through website

We have found thus far that Boiseans find culture in traditional venues such as art and history museums, theaters like the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Boise Contemporary Theater, and Botanical Gardens. They also find it in more open-ended sites like a farmer’s market, downtown alleys, neighborhoods, coffee shops, and the outdoors (Greenbelt, Foothills, and parks). Others touted  BSU, societies and clubs, festivals, and music venues as frequent locations for cultural experiences.

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INTERSECTION: Archives as Artistic Inspiration

Photo from Project Cityscope, by Melissa Long

Watcher Files Project Photo from Project Cityscope, by Melissa Long

INTERSECTION: Archives as Artistic Inspiration
By Amy Fackler, Cultural Programs Manager

Every now and again, you chance upon something that connects the dots and solidifies a nebulous vision that has remained murky or difficult to articulate. Such a thing happened to me at the Pacific Northwest Archivists Conference in Spokane, Washington in May 2014.

It was here I attended a presentation about an innovative artists-in-residence program created by the City of Portland Archives  and the Regional Arts & Culture Council  (RACC) to introduce archival resources to new audiences. The first artists selected for the program, Kaia Sand and Garrick Imatani, began their project The Watcher Files, in March 2013, a mere two months prior to the conference.

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Where do you find “culture” in Boise?

BCT Performance, Shipwrecked

BCT Performance, Shipwrecked

Where do you find “culture” in Boise?
By Karen Bubb, Public Art Manager

BOISE 150, the City’s year-long sesquicentennial celebration, helped us discover what people love about Boise and reflect upon our communal values and the themes that express them. BOISE 150 provided an opportunity to examine many facets of our culture— such as Boise’s music scene past and present, , lost and saved architecture, and the role  visual arts and poetry have played in shaping our City. The City of Boise wants to continue this dialogue and better understand what citizens want the next 150 years to look like.

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EaglesonParkLotsForSale_IDS_11June1931_CROPLiving in Boise’s Vista Neighborhood
By Brandi Burns, History Programs Manager

History is all around. It’s in that funny-shaped house you pass by on your way to work, that multi-hued brick on the building downtown or the width of that street you drive down. And each time you notice something new around you, it’s an opportunity to ask, “Why is it like that?” Well, right now I’m asking that question about the very place I live: the Bench. For those new to town, the Bench refers to the neighborhood south of downtown that sits on a geologic formation commonly called as the “Bench.” My earlier post on tiny houses hinted at my interest in the area, but there is so much more to explore! For now, I’ll focus in on my little area—the Whitney Township.

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An International “Little Free Public Library”

Veiko LFL

An InternationalLittle Free Public Library”
by Karen Bubb, Public Art Manager

Boise City Department of Arts & History (A&H) sponsors an eight- week “Public Art Academy” each year to train local artists how to compete better in the public art market. Last year’s participants created proposals for a public art opportunity to make a “Little Free Library” in a Boise location of their choosing with a $3000 commission. The first of three selected projects was recently installed at the Boise International Market, a new space at Franklin and Curtis that features vendors with crafts and food from all over the world. This is Veiko Valencia’s first public art sculpture. He collaborated with metal artist Ken McCall to create the final design and fabricate the work.

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Funding Cultural Initiatives Since 1997

MakingaStoryQuilt_1

Funding Cultural Initiatives Since 1997
By Amy Fackler, Cultural Programs Manager

The Boise City Department of Arts & History (Arts & History) operates a grant program with annual disbursements to local individuals and organizations. Although the fund amount and specific mechanisms to evaluate grants have evolved since the program began in 1997, the fundamental purpose has endured: to support quality local cultural initiatives that help make Boise a more interesting, inclusive, and livable city.

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Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Council

Nashville Print Shop Tour

PAN Meeting at Isle of Printing in Nashville, 2014

Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Council
by Karen Bubb, Public Art Manager

The Public Art Network (PAN) is the only national professional network dedicated to advancing public art. As part of the Americans for the Arts, headquartered in Washington, D.C., PAN develops professional services for individuals and organizations engaged in the diverse field of public art. It also provides advocacy, best practices, and educational opportunities—such as conferences and webinars—for artists and arts administrators.

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Spinning Stories & Brewing Moonshine

John & Doris

John & Doris

Spinning Stories & Brewing Moonshine
Co-authored by Brandi Burns, History Programs Manager & Kaci Nicks, Boise State University Graduate Fellow

Everyone has those few troublemaking ancestors whose run-ins with the law somehow become great family legends as the years tick away. Members of the History Division of the Department of Arts & History are no exception to this. Kaci Nicks, our Boise State University Graduate Fellow had this to say about her family:

My family’s troublemaking story is tied to Prohibition, that bizarre era of U.S. History where the government banned the production and use of alcohol. My great-grandparents, John and Doris, supposedly met in an Indiana speakeasy. John was then employed as a bodyguard for the speakeasy’s owner.  According to family legend, Great-Grandpa was an ideal candidate for this job. Not only was he a great lookout but, as a deaf man, could not eavesdrop. One night his keen eye spotted Doris strolling into the speakeasy with her family. John found himself appalled that her parents would allow their beautiful young daughter to associate with the questionable people who frequented the speakeasy. Ironically, that same beautiful daughter eventually wed the questionable speakeasy bodyguard and they raised three daughters together.

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River Sculpture Renovation

#13 River SculptureRiver Sculpture Renovation
By Karen Bubb, Public Art Manager

The River Sculpture was installed sixteen years ago. In 1998, public art was a fairly new program in the City of Trees. Keepsies, Great Blues, and the Miner around the Grove; Alley History off of 9th Street; Boise Totems on the corner of 8th and Idaho; and the Governor Stuenenberg statue in front of the Capitol were the only other downtown sculptures at the time. No other publicly funded art projects existed outside of the downtown core.

When it was first installed, the River Sculpture’s bright blue background with integrated bubbles on its surface, reflected light. The misting water, lit by neon at night, glimmered mysteriously above the corner. Over time hard water deposits, vandalism, and materials that outlived their life-spans necessitated a significant overhaul of the piece. This rare but essential maintenance brings to light the important work of sustaining a public art collection; conservation and preservation work are often invisible because they are done well. With over 200 public art works now in the collection along with 93 traffic box art wraps, maintaining these assets is more than a full-time job.

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Eco-Art on 8th

Eco-Art on 8th
By Karen Bubb, Public Art Manager

The Eco-Art Projects on 8th is a collection of public artworks  commissioned by Capital City Development Corporation, Boise City, and GreenWorks Idaho. This collection of,  permanent, site-specific artwork integrates environmental and sustainability concepts to bring greater awareness of related issues. In addition, the project is designed to activate pedestrian areas of Boise’s urban core, thus contributing to a more livable and economically vibrant community.

Heliotrope

Heliotrope, 2013
Steel and living plants
By Dwaine Carver with Trout Architects/Chartered
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