Twice in the last five years, the Boise City Department of Arts & History has been tapped by Harvard University as a semifinalist for its Innovations in American Government Award, which promotes the use of creativity in solving government dilemmas. By funding, overseeing and employing an arts and history industry worth an estimated $50 million to the City of Trees, A&H serves as a unique bridge between the state government and the most creative sector of the community. The most recent expression of its role surfaced Sept. 6, when the department announced the names of 35 Boise artists and organizations that will split $150,000 in grant money for the 2018 fiscal year.
- Pixnio, CCO
- The A&H grants for FY2018 will go out to Boise artists of all mediums.
While most of the artists receiving funds have been honored with grants in the past, the slate this year boasts 11 new recipients, including the Idaho Japanese Association, Migration Theory LLC, Common Ground Community Chorus, actress Janet Lo, Campfire Theatre Festival, i48 Film Festival and Competition, Land Trust of the Treasure Valley, Boise All-ages Movement Project, Vivid Artist Spaces, Boise Contra Dance Society and Boise Film Festival.
According to Amy Fackler, cultural programs manager for A&H, applicants for the grants were judged on four criteria: quality/merit, community benefit, management and budget. The awards ranged from $1,000 to $10,000, with Global Lounge, the organization that puts on World Village Fest, scoring the biggest chunk of change.
“I held seven workshops for potential applicants (four at Boise Public Libraries, three at City Hall) to go over criteria in detail, offer suggestions, familiarize attendees with the online application process,” wrote Fackler in an email. “I also offered to conduct draft reviews of applications and provide feedback. This year I reviewed 22 drafts.”
Two new recipients with particularly unique proposals were Vivid Artist Spaces, an organization converting one floor of a 24,000-square-foot building into artist studios for rent, and Janet Lo, whose project will explore the life of Chairman Mao’s widow on stage.
Fackler called the Vivid proposal a “modest request” addressing a key issue for the City of Trees.
“We know that it’s a struggle for artists to find venues and work space in Boise,” she said. “We hope this can provide some initial support toward that end.”
As for the Madam Mao performances, Fackler said the proposal has “great potential for Boise audiences.”
“It’s a theatrical production centered around Madam Mao’s character and her role in the Cultural Revolution in China,” she said. “To me, it offers a fascinating intersection of art, history, world culture and human nature—and explores motivations and the effect of power individually and collectively. It also brings subject matter that many in Boise may not know much about, so may spark curiosity and serve as a launching point to learn more.”
Visit the Department of Arts and History website for a full list of grant recipients and their projects.