There’s an increasing number of musicians, visual artists and artisans who have chosen to set up shop in Garden City. Many of these artists are from Boise or other parts of the Treasure Valley. The trend has been led by a few visionaries who recognize two things about the town: the cheap real estate and plenty of space to practice their passion.
One of the people who saw the possibilities in Garden City for artists is Sam Stimpert. Stimpert owns the Visual Arts Collective, more commonly known as “the VAC.” The multivenue building sits a block north of Chinden Boulevard off 36th Street, kitty-corner from a pawn shop and surrounded by car-repair businesses.
The place seems to constantly be in motion, hosting visual art shows, burlesque shows and performance art, live music and much more.
But the venue wasn’t always in Garden City. Stimpert started the business in Boise’s Linen District. He says his rent went up substantially and he was priced out of Boise in 2007.
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“I didn’t want to invest in a building that had no potential to be mine,” Stimpert said. “We definitely needed that if we were going to survive — better stage, better lights, better all those things. And so we just decided to start to look somewhere else.”
He found a much more affordable spot on the other side of the river, in what used to be a Harley-Davidson shop. The owners of the building were also artists. After some renovations, the VAC opened its doors in Garden City in 2008.
Since then, Stimpert has seen a lot of other Boise artists coming to Garden City.
“A lot more people are moving their studios here,” he says. “I mean, I hear about that stuff all the time.”
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