Arts & Culture

Meet the 2016 class of Idaho performing arts fellows

The Idaho Commission on the Arts announced its fiscal year 2016 class of fellows on June 18. The award acknowledges outstanding achievement by individuals in an arts discipline. Every year the awards rotate among performing visual art and literary arts. This year goes to Idaho performing artists.

Each fellow receives $5,000; each honorable mention receives $1,000.


•  Scenic designer, director, musician, painter and Boise State University professor

Michael Baltzell

has a hugely diverse repertoire of talents and a long and influential resume of work in the Treasure Valley. He’s done everything from creating the “set” for

Zoo Boise

’s African Plains exhibit, to the Foley soundscape for plays. He has built intriguing and innovative sets for Boise State and

Boise Contemporary Theater

and most recently co-wrote and directed “The Fisherman and his Soul,” an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s story that featured intricate shadow puppets and burlesque artistry. Baltzell also received a Mayor’s Award in the Arts in 1993 and an ICA Fellowship in visual art in 1990.

•  Moscow playwright and

University of Idaho

Associate Professor

Robert Caisley’s

plays have been produced at theaters throughout the U.S. He heads the Dramatic Writing Department at U of I. His play “Happy” was a finalist at both the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s New Play Conference and the Woodward/Newman Award for Drama at Bloomington Playwrights Project. This is his first fellowship.

Multi-instrumentalist Vincent Crofts explores western fiddle tunes and music from the early 20th century. He performs acoustic music with Vince & Mindi, Wild Coyotes and other groups in eastern Idaho. Crofts delivers authentic performances drawing from a well-researched catalog of songs. Crofts also received an ICA Fellowship in 2010, and an unfunded Honorable Mention in 2007.

Fiercely creative, dancer and choreographer Lauren Edsonhas always taken her own path. She trained in Seattle and Boise where she grew up, and at prestigious schools across the country. She performed with Chicago’s Hubbard Street II, Body Vox in Portland, Ore. and others before returning to Boise to join the now defunct Trey McIntyre Project in 2009. Since leaving that company in 2013, she has focused on her own choreography, winning awards and dance festivals across the country and touring with her company Lauren Edson + Dancers. In October, a new collaborative venture called LED, created with her husband, musician Andrew Stensaas, will make its debut with a full-length ballet “The Other Side of Paradise” at the Morrison Center. It’s based on the relationship between Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is Edson’s first fellowship. Edson received an honorable mention in 2013.

Watch Edson’s: choreography reel:

An established actor, writer and director, Tracy Sunderland receives this award for film making, which she added to her repertoire in 2012. In 2011 earned her master’s degree in film at the London Film School. Her short film “Antique” is in the collection of the National Gallery of England, and “Nicoleta,” a co-project with Greek writer/director Sonia Liza Kenterman won multiple awards, including Best Short Film at the San Francisco Greek Film Festival in 2014, and Best Film at the 36th Drama Short Film Festival in Drama, Greece. Sunderland also is an artistic associate at Boise Contemporary Theater where she recently produced “SuperSecretSiteSpecificSomething,” a wandering environmental theater piece that took the audience on a walking tour of a performance in Downtown Boise.

Watch the trailer for “Nicoleta”:


English horn player Lindsay Edwards is a principal player with the Boise Philharmonic and Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. She also performs with Chimera Duo with harpist Matthew Tutsky that produces a chamber series in Boise.

Scenic designer Joseph Lavigne works with Hailey’s Company of Fools, creating innovative sets such as a parkour-style pirate ship for the 2014 production of “Peter and the Starcatchers.”