Culture (W)rap 

With funds and fashion, a mural and a medicine wheel, and a dab of didjeridu

In her memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert's Italian friend Giulio says each city has a single word that describes it. He and Elizabeth decide Rome is "sex," New York is "achieve." Based on the submissions the Idaho Commision on the Arts received for its FY 2015 fellowship awards, Boise's word could be "art."

A memo from ICA said "panelists commented on the quality and earnestness of the work, noting that Idaho must have a high per-capita population of artists." Artists from around the state submitted work in five categories: visual arts, design, media arts, performing arts and literature, which were judged by a three-person panel comprised of Diana L. Daniels, curator of contemporary art at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, Calif.; Scott Fife, a native Idahoan sculptor who works in archival cardboard; and Craig Hickman, a professor of art at the University of Oregon, whose work in the digital milieu has been acknowledged by the likes of Apple.

Submissions were evaluated on artwork and artist statement (85 percent) and resume (15 percent). Five artists from across Idaho each received a $5,000 fellowship and three received $1,000 for honorable mentions.

Fellowship winners included J. Casey Doyle (Moscow) for a sculpture that "deals with universal stereotypes through a highly intentional use of self as subject" to which panelists gave "an emphatic yes." Megan Murphy (Hailey) for painting. Her "genre-bending work tackles the ongoing challenge to find inspiration in the past." Cheryl Shurtleff (Boise). Her small-scale pencil drawings are "evocative of fantastical printmakers [and] exhibit an interesting tension between intimacy and intensity." Stephanie Wilde (Boise) for mixed-media work that is "like a culmination of the tradition of the illuminated manuscript." Wendel Wirth (Ketchum), whose photography "abandoned traditional rules of composition and pushed the boundaries between representation and abstraction." Three artists received honorable mentions and received $1,000 awards--Dennis DeHart (Moscow) for photography, Rudy Kovacs (Pocatello) for tapestry and Anika Smulovitz (Boise) for metalwork.

In other Boise-is-art news, form and function fuse together at Narrative Jewelry, a new exhibit at Brumfield's Gallery. Through Saturday, Sept. 6, the gallery is home to work by "some of the country's best jewelry artists," including local artist Kay Seurat, along with Kat Cole, duo Robin Kranitzky and Kim Overstreet, Kim Nogueira, Rebecca Rose and Nancy Worden. The miniature works are sublime and impossibly intricate yet are designed to be worn.

As stated in the press release, "This collection of innovative jewelry does not include complicated, conceptual catwalk contraptions that look as if they are intended to confine, control or even garrote the wearer. Each piece is completely wearable, and it would be a crime to own them without the intention of wearing them. The artists do not sacrifice function in order to pursue their creative aims. They use traditional jewelry forms such as the pendant or brooch, as a support for their work, and are no more confined by this, than the painter is confined by his/her canvas."

Stepping outside of the gallery, literally, an outside wall of Nampa's Flying M Coffeegarage is now a portal into imagination. Candis Redfield, a recent graduate of Boise State University, Flying M barista and artist-in-residence at the new Nampa Art Collective's Village Square Artist Residency, used bright white, earthy beige, muted grays, flashes of red and spots of organic green to create a sprawling mural of a young girl sitting in a field of daisies, her aviator cap and goggles pushed up on her head, her parachute in a soft heap next to her. She holds a flower in her hands, examining it closely, paying no attention to the plane slowly continuing its flight across the sky.

In a press release from Flying M, Redfield states, "The inspiration for this mural comes from our community and what the future holds for us. I wanted to capture the young generations striving for a better future that involves sustainability and our love for the environment."

Speaking of outdoor art, Boise artists Marianne Konvalinka and Lynn Fraley have completed "Medicine Wheel," the third public artwork now outside of the Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center. The stone installation was funded by the McCord family, which lived on the land where the learning center now sits and is meant to "provide a place for rest and contemplation." A public dedication July 23, 7-8 p.m., will include a poetry reading about "Medicine Wheel" by campers from The Cabin's Writing Wild summer camp, as well as a workshop with local artist Lisa Cheney, in which attendees will create a "multi-page visual journal ... to document the experience."

And in more spiritual news, if you hear a low, musical, mystical rumbling Friday, Aug. 1, don't fear. It's the sound of the Didjeridu Summit at Boise Bible College in Garden City (8695 W. Marigold St.). Local renaissance man (motivational speaker, martial artist, moldavite dealer, musician, performer, knitter) Alejandro Anastasio is bringing didge virtuosos Ondrej Smeykal and Stephen Kent to Boise for a "tete a tete between ... arguably the two most innovative contemporary artists to have brought the [instrument] to the attention of the wider world, outside its traditional role in Australian Aboriginal culture."

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