In 2009, Trey McIntyre Project artistic director Trey McIntyre tapped a group of artists on the shoulders and whispered in their ears, "Would you be interested in creating a physical expression of our company?" With embroidery, glass, music, photography, poetry, paint, graphic design, gold leaf, chocolate and liquor they answered with an resounding "Yes." The result was a show at J Crist Gallery incorporating literal images as well as abstract ideals in which the company--the nine dancers and McIntyre--was represented by color and shape. It was an intricate, elegant exhibit that combined disparate work from different artists in one cohesive experience. And in case you missed it, worry not. McIntyre is already nudging artists for 2010.
Often when a hotel room is portrayed in the movies, the TV is bolted down, ugly lamps cast a grim light and the art on the walls is so unappealing, the wallpaper would make for a better view. So even though the inaugural Modern Art event was successful, when the Modern Hotel and Bar opened its numbered doors to Boise artists for the second time, we suspected it might devolve into a gathering of artists for whom muted landscapes are de rigeur. We were de rig-wrong.
2009's Modern Art event drew nearly 5,000 visitors on a May evening to 34 of the hotel's rooms that had been transformed into unique avant-garde mini galleries.
Like a crowded indoor market, the paintings, film, performance, textiles, glass, sculpture and more beckoned from each threshold as visitors scooched along the corridors. The analogy of sardines was never before so appropriate, as people worked their way around the Modern.
Events have a way gaining traction in this city. Since the first Modern Art brought in about 2,000 people and the second more than doubled that, the Modern Hotel and Bar might have to think about adding on a wing next year. Or two.
Gallery Alexa Rose
After 12 months in existence, Gallery Alexa Rose has swiftly solidified its place on the First Thursday map. The subterranean space, adjacent to the Superb Sushi courtyard, has hosted a bevy of contemporary, cutting-edge exhibitions that span the gamut from performance art to mixed-media installations. Though the gallery is comprised of a loose, fluctuating collective of artists who go by the moniker Apples and Oranges, it is bound at the center by watercolorist and soft-spoken matriarchal figure Alexa Rose Howell. From short films to feather-and-nail covered dresses to pink-wigged modern dance solos, the gallery has provided burgeoning young artists with a place to flex their creative muscles without being muscled into selling their work for profit.
Unlike many other downtown galleries, Alexa Rose doesn't have to court collectors to keep the doors open: Howell's husband owns the company that manages the building the gallery is in. Because of the Howells' generous dedication to supporting young, contemporary art, downtown Boise has been gifted with a unique new venue. After groundbreaking shows like "Incidentally, Yours" and most recently "Make Your Mark," we're amped to see what Alexa Rose has in store for 2010.
We joke about acronyms here at BWHQ, at how people and organizations will go through a number of naming conventions to come up with a clever three- or four-letter moniker. The Artist in Residence program, or AIR, at the 8th Street Marketplace--with annexes in the Alaska Building and in the basement of Renewal--was not spared our jests. But when we discovered what incredible opportunities were offered for the artists who are given studio space for three months, we stopped snickering and started paying some serious attention.
The program has seen local artists, who work in myriad mediums create incredible new work or continue the creative process on existing projects including theater company Alley Repertory Theater, sound designer Ted Apel, choreographer/dancer Kelli Brown, multimedia artist Lisa Bufano, painter/custom framer Goran Fazil, visual artist Kirsten Furlong, visual artist/community organizer Chris Kennedy, poet Adrian Kien, dancer/choreographer Johanna Kirk, sculptor Sue Latta, painter/printmaker Benjamin Love, textiles artist Rachel Reichert, visual artist Holly Streekstra and painters Kristy Albrecht, Kate Masterson, Sandy Marostica, Laci McCrea Kelly Packer, Erik Sande, Jess Sanden, Emily Wenner and April VanDeGrift.
Each round of artists brings something new and vibrant to the space and their willingness to allow the community to witness their work as it's happening--visitors are welcome during the residencies and the First Thursday of each month. Believe it or not, thinking about what's in store for 2010 has us walking on air.