Artists create a new arts center on the Boise Bench, Eilen Jewell kicks off Stampede

Boise artist Ashley Carlson’s “Hollister, ID, 83301” won the Juror’s Award at the Boise Art Museum’s 2017 Idaho Triennial. The show closes on Sunday, July 16.
Boise artist Ashley Carlson’s “Hollister, ID, 83301” won the Juror’s Award at the Boise Art Museum’s 2017 Idaho Triennial. The show closes on Sunday, July 16. Provided by the Boise Art Museum

Artist Candy Renee Canning moved to Boise seven years ago from San Antonio. The former art teacher wanted a change and picked Boise by literally throwing a dart at a map, she says.

“I made my way here and just fell in love with Boise,” Canning says.

And she dug right in and created Art Project Boise, a public Facebook group where artists could share their latest work and ideas, and exhibit monthly at the Owyhee Building.

Now, she and business partners artist Jessica Tookey, left above, and arts supporter Jane Tharp, right, are creating a brick-and-mortar space for artists to work, connect and create.

“We just got together and started dreaming,” Canning says.

They founded a new nonprofit called Vivid Artist Spaces. Its purpose is to renovate the 24,000-square-foot, three-story office building it recently purchased at 2417 W. Bank Drive on the Boise Bench to create a community center for artists.

“We hope the whole building will all be arts-related,” Canning says. “It will be a great opportunity for artists to network and collaborate.”

The plan is to have studio and office space for rent, classrooms for workshops and presentations, gallery spaces, an art library, a tech center and other resources for working artists.

Vivid is just getting started and there is lots to do, from creating a board of directors to hands-on hammer-and-nail work. Canning says she wants to have it open by September.

If you’re interested in learning more and getting involved, contact Canning at

It’s lavender season

The scent of lavender is rich and earthy, sweet and sensual. Egyptian royalty perfumed their bodies with it; Greek women hung it by their beds to incite passion. Its blossoms run from dark to light purple and its essence can calm nerves, flavor food and soothe ailments. Celebrate this remarkable plant 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 8-9, at the eighth annual lavender festival at the Lavender Merchant, 2871 Stroebel Road in Kuna.

There used to be several such festivals in the Treasure Valley, but this is the only one this year where you can find handmade lavender soaps, oils and other products, lavender-flavored food, hands-on kids activities, an artisan crafts fair, and fields filled with lavender for you to pick your own for $5 for a bunch. Pianist Renee Ross will play both days from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Call 249-6483 for more information. Free.

Eilen Jewell

One of Idaho’s musical gems, Eilen Jewell, will perform in Nampa on Thursday, July 13, to kick off the Snake River Stampede Community Festival and Rodeo with a barbecue dinner and concert.

Jewell grew up in Boise and lived for several years in Boston, where she made a name for herself with her blend of blues, roots, country and 1960s girl-band pop — a style she calls “hillbilly-blues-Americana noir.”

A singer and guitarist, Jewell and her husband, drummer Jason Beek, moved to Boise in 2012. Jewell is now a part of the Treasure Valley’s vibrant music scene while also continuing her international travels. She is currently sweeping through Sweden with the Rocking Rootsy Revue, an annual tour of up-and-coming Americana artists.

She’ll be back in Idaho for this dinner and show before heading out to performances throughout the West.

The dinner is at 6 p.m. and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Nampa Civic Center, 311 3rd St. S. Tickets are $30 at ICTickets.

Last look at the Idaho Triennial

The 2017 Idaho Triennial at the Boise Art Museum wraps up on Sunday, July 16, so these are your last two weeks to see what Idaho’s contemporary artists are doing.

This iteration of the show offers a broad sweep of contemporary media and timely topics, from painter and top prizewinner Ashley Carlson’s exploration of technology in isolated rural Idaho to Inna Raw’s photo series shining a light on human trafficking.

Check out the other shows at BAM while you’re there including “When Modern was Contemporary,” a collection of works by some mid-century American masters such as Georgia O’Keefe, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. Read a story here.

2017 Idaho Triennial

Now through Sunday, July 16, 670 S. Julia Davis Drive. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. $6 general, $4 seniors, $3 grades 1-12 and full-time college. Free for 5 and younger and members. 345-8330,

ICA 2018 grants

The Idaho Commission on the Arts announced its 2018 grants that gave $487,000 to 102 arts organizations and schools in 29 communities throughout Idaho. The majority of funds come from the National Endowment for the Arts and through the state’s arts agencies, such as the ICA, and help stimulate the local arts economy.

Here’s some of what Treasure Valley arts groups received:

▪  Ballet Idaho received $8,363 for its educational programs and $10,770 for its arts programming.

▪  Opera Idaho received $3,760 for education and $7,766 for operating costs.

▪  Idaho Shakespeare Festival received $7,766 for its Shakespearience and Idaho Theatre for Youth educational programs, $13,306 to help general operating costs and $8,116 for capital projects.

▪  Boise Art Museum received $8,818 for education, $12,675 for operating costs and $7,685 for capital projects.

▪  Boise Contemporary Theater received $7,108 for operating costs and $7,818 for its Theater Lab and other educational programs.

▪  Entry Track grants went to Artisans 4 Hope ($2,815), Idaho Dance Theatre ($2,794), LED ($4,351), Radio Boise ($3,625), Treasure Valley Artists’ Alliance ($2,123) and College of Western Idaho in Nampa ($2,634).

Check out the full list here.

Related stories from Idaho Statesman