When Ellen DeAngelis and her husband Wayne Crans opened the teeny Dead Bird Gallery in the basement of the Idaho Building, the idea was to "promote local artists who were having a hard time going through the political atmosphere of getting into a gallery," DeAngelis said. "It seems to be a lot about who you know. We wanted to erase that circus of a process and let any artist of any age and any medium have a place where they can show their art to the public."
Business was tough and DeAngelis and Crans closed Dead Bird last summer after about six months but wanted to continue to promote local art and artists. So they hooked up with the Knitting Factory and began the series of shows they call Art in the Bar, presented by Dead Bird Gallery. DeAngelis puts in temporary walls, hangs work from the ceiling and covers every square inch of space in the concert venue. Art in the Bar III, which takes place on Saturday, June 4, will showcase 44 artists who work in a variety of mediums, including returning artist Brandy Davis, who paints scenes of Native Americans on feathers and up-and-coming painter Cody Rutty, who will be showing at Art in the Bar for the first time.
"That's the part that gives me goosebumps," DeAngelis said. "When you find these people whose art you get so excited to share with the rest of Boise and they haven't had an opportunity. It's fun to be a part of that."
Art is often viewed in large, echo-y halls, where hushed tones and "no touching" are de rigueur. Bars are places where touching and yelling are often the norm and where the art is neon beer signs and, if you're lucky, dusky black velvet paintings of naked ladies. But art and bar don't have to be mutually exclusive and at Art in the Bar III, they aren't. And even though a full bar will be available, the event is family friendly, so take the kids. There probably won't be any naked ladies on black velvet to worry about.