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Re: “State of the Art at Boise Art Museum

Sadly, you're right. More people would prefer to spend $10 at Edwards than at BAM.
But I'll disagree on the point that it's not BAM's fault that people in this area have a lack of interest in art.
First, it's BAM's job to ENGAGE the community in the art world, to create dialog about art in the community and to educate people about art. The education part, BAM is actually pretty good at. But it does fall short in the dialog and engagement areas.
Second, I think there are a lot of people like me in Boise. I am a huge supporter of the arts. I've been to dozens and dozens of museums all over the world. I travel frequently and a priority in each of my destinations is the art museums. I buy Philharmonic, Opera and Shakespeare tickets. I frequent First Thursday. Work from two prominent local artists hangs in my living room. But I haven't been to BAM in more than a year. Audubon? Really? As visually off-putting as American Cockroach was, at least it forced Boise to do two things BAM has rarely accomplished recently: it got people talking about BAM and it forced people to ask themselves if Chalmers' work was really art or if was just a bunch of silly photos of bugs.

However, I'll also say that BAM's current predicament is merely a reflection of a larger problem. Boise as a city is in the midst in cultural growing pains. We can either embrace evolution and benefit economically (as well as better our reputation beyond Idaho) with a higher bar or we can continue to make excuses for our mediocrity with the worn-out "hey, it's just Boise." Trey McIntyre Project is a great example of the good things that come from embracing that change. The new directors at the Phil, Opera and Ballet Idaho are good examples of the good things that come from arts organization collaboration.
... And it's not a smear job to say that BAM is playing it safe rather than really committing to rolling up its sleeves and getting serious about its mission. It's ballsy and it's honest (and no one in Boise likes honest), but it's constructive.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by bambam on 07/28/2010 at 6:19 PM

Re: “State of the Art at Boise Art Museum

Oh come on. BAM is boring. Period. This story isn't about local artists vs. the museum, it merely starts there.
The story is about whether or not BAM is successful in bringing the arts to the community it's meant to serve. It's not. If you need proof of that, ask anyone you know how many times they've been to BAM in the last year. I challenge you to find more than two people you know who've walked through its front doors more than once in the last year.
The Weekly isn't saying anything here that isn't being said among people in town who want to see a robust fine arts scene in all disciplines. BAM should take a cue from SVCA, yes. It should also take a cue from Boise Philharmonic, which is seeking out a younger audience with lower ticket prices. (After all, seniors, kids and college students all get a break at BAM's doors, where's the break for the plumber or the bus driver or the waitress ... or, do those people with less disposable income not care about art?) BAM should also do a better job thinking beyond its walls—literally and figuratively—by collaborating with other arts organizations, engaging the neglected 18-45 demographic, and learning from the multi-platform approaches of other NW museums.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by bambam on 07/28/2010 at 3:25 PM

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