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Artists as the soul of the community


"It has been said that artists are the soul of the community. If that's so, then how does the community come to know its soul?" Such is the question posed by Bingo Barnes, president of Boise Open Studios Collective Organization (and editor of the Boise Weekly). The answer? Invite the community to where the artists work.

Almost 50 BOSCO member artists will open their studios for the third annual open studios weekend June 3 through 5. The kick-off event is slated for Thursday, June 2, at the Boise Art Museum. Here, the collective will host a free reception-make that party-previewing one piece from each artist. Last year's one-night only show drew record crowds. This year's event will be food and wine, and music provided by the Frim Fram Four.

Each studio will be open either Saturday or Sunday, so that the artists have the opportunity to visit each other and the environments their peers create in. By doing so, BOSCO differs from strictly commercial artistic ventures: Part of their vision as an organization is to encourage artists to come together as their own community.

"The nature of how artists typically exist is the antithesis of community," says Barnes. "Artists typically work alone in their studio. The traditional method of interaction with other artists and the public is through a show in a museum or gallery, but opportunities to talk to the artist at these events is constrained at best."

"The gallery scene in Boise is limited," says painter Kelly Packer. "Some of the most interesting work is by artists who don't have access to pristine gallery walls. With BOSCO, the artist has total control over the work and space that is presented."

Noble Hardesty likes the "hands-on" concept BOSCO offers. "It makes the artist approachable," he says. "I'd say my visitors last year were 50/50, artists and the public. This is an opportunity to really talk to the people who come through." Hardesty shares his space with Troy Passey for the second year in a row. "Our work is so different; this year, we've gone through everything we've collaborated on over the years, then cranked out a bunch more, just for BOSCO."

The open studios weekend provides a rare glimpse into the creative process of the artists who live and work in our community. As they open their doors, the event becomes a window into the soul of Boise.

BOSCO Open Studios Weekend, June 3, 4 and 5: Maps/tickets to studios $10, available at reception.

Reception, Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m., FREE, Boise Art Museum, .