The trend in the national festival scene is to merge art with concerts. Treefort Music Fest — which takes over Downtown Boise Wednesday through next Sunday — has always had arts components. This year, it’s doubling down, adding a larger visual arts presence as well as more dance and theater — and a cool arts crossover at Hackfort.
This is the first year for the Treefort Art Gallery, a curated show that will hang during the five-day festival.
To be clear, this isn’t Artfort, says organizer and artist Tony Caprai — at least not yet.
Caprai started painting live murals at Treefort with his friends Collin Pfeifer and Solomon Hawk Sahlein of Sector Seventeen, who have created public art murals in the Treasure Valley with a graffiti sensibility. Check out their latest at Boise’s City Center Plaza.
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“I always had bigger ideas,” Caprai says. “This is the first year for the art gallery, and hopefully it will progress into a mini art fair with more murals, bigger show space and installation spaces.”
You’ll find the gallery in The Cafe, the former Kindness Restaurant space inside The Owyhee, 1109 W. Main St. Gallery hours are 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5-9 p.m. Sunday, March 26.
You’ll see work by the Artist Alliance of Boise (Migel Delgado and Tony Caprai), Dave Thomas, Nolan Fellows, Betsy Hinze, Heather Woolery, James Reeves and Rachel Warnock.
You’ll find multimedia artist Chet Lawton’s work upstairs at Filmfort and Storyfort.
Painter Cody Rutty will have his work at Alefort, where you’ll also find work by the Swell Artist Collective, a group of local artists who share a quirky sensibility, including Kelly Knopp, known for his Crooked Fence Brewing labels, illustrators Erin Ruiz and Julia Green, multimedia artist Sue Latta and painter Noble Hardesty.
You can also see Rutty’s handiwork on the windows at The Owyhee. Plus, check out other Treefort window art at Downtown businesses.
“We really wanted quality over quantity this year,” Caprai says. “This is kind of a trial run, so we’re keeping it relatively simple.”
Last year, a glowing giant spider puppet appeared at the Treefort main stage. It’s the artist vision of multimedia sculptor Sam Johnson and The Colossal Collective. This wacky bunch of creatives — artists, engineers and Burning Man aficionados — have made the glowing dancing squids, a giant pirate ship and the aforementioned spider at past Treeforts.
This year, they are creating another mammoth creature that will debut at the main stage Saturday. Then the collective will take it on the road to other festivals in the region.
Dance and Theater
In past years, Treefort Music Fest’s art came with a strong bo-ho burlesque flair programmed by James Sharp of Boise’s Red Light Variety Show. The past two years the festival added very successful dance performances by Ballet Idaho and the music-dance-film fusion group LED and others.
Here’s where you’ll find dance this year:
▪ Catch LED with its sci-fi dance/music experience at 8 p.m. Friday at the Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St. The a la carte tickets are sold out. Treefort wristband holders should queue up early for the remaining seats. The evening also includes a concert by Magic Sword and members of the Boise Philharmonic.
▪ Empty Boat Theater will revive its wacky original play “There’s Chinese Tunnels Under Boise!” a heavy-metal video game-satire by Nick Garcia and Dwayne Blackaller about the supposed underground tunnels dug by Chinese-American business owners in the early 20th century. You can see it at 1 and 9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday, March 26, at Boise Contemporary Theater, 854 W. Fulton St. Tickets are $20 at Brown Paper Tickets and TheEmptyBoat.org.
▪ Idaho Dance Theater will perform Sayoko Knode’s “Clips of Calypso” to music by Boise band Lounge on Fire at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Boise Contemporary Theater, 854 W. Fulton St.
▪ Ballet Idaho will perform dancer and choreographer Daniel Ojeda’s “Let’s Make a Move” to music by LCD Soundsystem at 7:45 p.m. Thursday at BCT.
▪ Boise contemporary dance company Project Flux will perform a collaboration with Los Angeles-based dance duo WhyteBerg (Gracie Whyte and Laura Berg) at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Woodland Empire Ale Craft, 1114 W. Front St.
▪ Jason Morales of Ming Studios, an international artist residency and gallery, brought in film director Ribera D’Ebre and artist Juan Carlos Munoz Hernandez for a screening of “Dark Progresivism,” a documentary about the underground art and tattoo scene in Los Angeles. It will screen at Filmfort at 6 p.m. Friday at The Owyhee.
Hernandez will also have work on display and will do some live drawing while he’s here.
▪ You can find Sector Seventeen painting a live mural on the west side of The Modern Hotel, 1314 W. Grove St.
Hackfort will get into the arts scene with “Skin in the Game,” a virtual performance experience that uses VR technology to put you inside a dynamic dance performance of “Rules of the Game,” a collaboration between New York City choreographer Jonah Bokaer, designer Daniel Arsham, Grammy-winning musician Pharrell Williams and producers Ben Paluba and Michael Robinson. Williams co-composed with score with David Campbell, who did the arrangements. Robinson will be in Boise presenting the project. You can dive in at 11:30 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. Sunday in the Pioneer Room at JUMP, 1000 W. Myrtle St.