Though 10 grand won't put a down payment on a Damien Hirst skull, the sum still goes a long way in the contemporary art world. You can buy 500 adult entry tickets to New York's Museum of Modern Art, for example. Or you can snag two, potentially nude, Ryan McGinley photographs. If you're really lucky, you can occupy one gallery booth at the FADA Los Angeles Art Show.
"We've been accepted in shows and we really have to digest and see ... which ones we can afford to do and what will benefit the gallery and our artists the most," said Stewart Gallery co-owner Stephanie Wilde.
Though a $10,000 minimum booth fee might seem outrageous to the uninitiated, art fairs of this caliber can launch the careers of previously unknown galleries and artists.
"The contacts that are made are so essential to the gallery that, though the investment seems astronomical ... we can't afford not to do it," said Wilde. "Our artists need to be in museums, they need to have collectors, they need to have people see their work. That would never happen if we only stayed here."
Urbanscape oil artist Karen Woods is one of a handful of local artists--including Kerry Moosman and Charles Gill--who Wilde plans to take to Los Angeles. Though Stewart Gallery took Woods' work to Red Dot Miami, a satellite show of Art Basel Miami, a couple of years ago, Woods is particularly amped for the opportunities that might arise at the much-larger Los Angeles Art Show.
"It's exciting for me as an artist to have my work out there. Even though I paint pictures about Boise, I think that they translate into other urban settings and hope that they resonate with the people there," said Woods.
Regardless of which fairs Stewart Gallery ultimately decides to attend, Wilde and Woods are confident that each show will draw some much-needed attention to the burgeoning contemporary art scene in Boise.
"For people to see that there's so much good work [in Boise] ... it raises the status of the city and what's here," said Woods.