by Josh Gross
At a press conference at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival amphitheater on Sept. 7, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter announced the four recipients of $15,000 economic development grants in the arts: the ISF, Ballet Idaho, the Boise Philharmonic and the Trey McIntyre Project, who in addition to the grant, will serve another year in the role of cultural ambassador.
"It is a competitive process and, unfortunately, there are always more applicants than there are funds to give out, but we're very pleased to announce them [the recipients]," Bieter said.
The money distributed is not part of the regular budget. It comes from the rental of a city-owned rail property in southeast Boise. As such, it is considered a temporary program, but it is one that the mayor hopes to see continue.
Bieter said the recipients were chosen after a rigorous review of their economic impact to the region, both in the number of people they employ and the employers they help attract.
"What we did was do a call for bids for arts organizations with an economic development emphasis," he said. "Show us what kind of economic activity in terms of the people you hire and the funds you raise and spend in our community and we'll judge you on that impact."
Other community arts organizations actually get a boost from these grants as well, because it takes the four recipients out of the running for the $45,000 in regularly budgeted grants that will be announced sometime in the next several weeks, freeing up money to help them grow and develop.
Terri Schorzman, Boise Department of Arts and History director, said that there were more than 40 applications for those grants, double the number from previous years, a sign of the program's success.