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3 Minutes 59 Seconds

The pulse of Jyl Hoyt's Art Beat


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Boise State Radio

Jyl Hoyt finds plenty of good stories--that isn't a problem. Her biggest challenge is fitting all of the information she discovers into her three-minute-and-59-second radio program, Art Beat.

As Boise State Radio's special project director, Hoyt selects artists from a number of genres, including theater, dance, music, literature, ceramics and sculpture, and presents them one by one through personal interviews on her program. "The problem is that there isn't enough time to cover them all," Hoyt says. With so many artists to choose from, she tends to narrow her scope to those who are pushing the envelope while using a traditional medium. One example is Hoyt's recent program on Love-Lies-Bleeding, a play debating the complexities of "mercy killing" currently showing at Boise Contemporary Theater. She enjoys featuring progressive art forms like this play because she feels that "art defines life. It can take an important issue that people are grappling with and help artists and viewers alike."

So why a four-minute program that only airs every two weeks? Don't artists deserve more attention? "People are in a hurry," states Hoyt. "They just want the gems." Structuring her program around society's fast-paced lifestyle is the best way to reach her listeners. By keeping the program so short, she can air it four times a day, therefore increasing the number of people she can entice to be more active in the arts community.

Because each program is so brief, creating each show is not an easy endeavor. "I give [listeners] the tip of the iceberg," says Hoyt, "la crème de la crème." While those fine points make good radio clips, she says that all of the information she learns in her interviews--the bulk of the iceberg--has a deep impact on her that she finds herself invested in for a long time.

When asked how much work goes into preparing such a short broadcast, Hoyt's eyes get wide with exhaustion. She does all of the research, sets up interviews, transcribes the interviews, and produces the piece using technology to carefully layer track upon track. Her job also includes preparing promotional material and including the interviews on Boise State Radio's Web site.

Though the program is easy to miss, it is a touching four minutes that lingers for a long time. Some great bites include listening to Gene Harris play "The Trouble with Hello is Goodbye" or clips of Idaho Shakespeare Festival actor Jeffrey Hawkins whisper sonnets to his star-crossed lover in Romeo and Juliet.

The show is not only entertaining, it also helps listeners and art-goers understand the driving inspiration hidden within artists' work. "Artists are curious people," Hoyt says. "They stimulate our intellectual curiosity."

Sometimes, though, an artist's curiosity renders work that at first engagement appears incomprehensible and distant. Hoyt previously approached painter Bill Lewis about his exhibit at J Crist Gallery in hopes of sharing his ideas with the public to better inform them and herself about his eccentric work. She discovered that the basis for his exhibit came from an encounter he had with a piece of land being cleared for a housing development, and that he wanted to explore "the pathos associated with such a clearing." It's a treat to hear Lewis express his art in his own words, and people can approach his artwork with a perspective they could only get from the artist himself. Hoyt's program promises that artists have concise opinions about their work and that when given the chance, they prefer to express themselves vocally--something many of them do as eloquently as they deliver their art.

Local artists and venues such as Bill Lewis and Boise Contemporary Theater are typically featured, but Hoyt selects artists from within her entire Idaho listening area. While she believes there is a diverse variety of artists in the area she desires to interview, she also believes that introducing outside artists only increases the awareness of everyone. "We're all connected," she says, adding, "basically, I'm looking for a good story."

Art Beat airs every other Weds. on NPR News 91 at 6:35 a.m., 8:35 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.; KBSU FM at 11 a.m.; and KBSW at 6:35 a.m. and 11 a.m.