Local

Two influential Boise institutions get new leaders

Why you see toys and a bubble machine in Zoo Boise’s exhibits

When feeding animals in Zoo Boise, zookeepers hide food in toys to encourage their natural behaviors. As part of the zoo's Enrichment Program, they also use a bubble machine to see how animals will interact with bubbles.
Up Next
When feeding animals in Zoo Boise, zookeepers hide food in toys to encourage their natural behaviors. As part of the zoo's Enrichment Program, they also use a bubble machine to see how animals will interact with bubbles.

Ballet Idaho and Zoo Boise each announced their choices Tuesday for the leadership that will take them into the future.

The ballet hired Garrett Anderson, who takes on his first artistic directorship with Ballet Idaho and will start work in July. The zoo brings in Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History executive director Gene Peacock, who will start next month.

Ballet Idaho

Anderson brings a deep background across the dance spectrum as a performer. He trained in Walnut Creek, California, and performed as soloist for San Francisco Ballet and Flanders Ballet in Antwerp, Belgium. He also danced in contemporary companies Hubbard Street in Chicago and the Trey McIntyre Project, which was based in Boise from 2006 to 2012.

His mix of classical and contemporary sensibilities makes him the right fit for the company at the right time, said Ballet Idaho board president Randy Anderson.

“His commitment to artistic excellence, community engagement and collaboration, development of new work, and classical favorites will resonate with our audience,” Randy Anderson said in a prepared statement. “The board, staff and dancers … believe we have made an excellent selection for the future of our company.”

Garrett Anderson’s time with TMP in Boise is one of the reasons he wanted to return with his wife, former dancer Courtney Wright Anderson, and their two young sons. He also came to Boise in 2016 to perform with Boise performance group LED.

Anderson plans build on the company’s legacy, he said, “while pushing the boundaries of dance and helping to define its relevance in our community, to expose the company dancers and our audience to a variety of choreographic perspectives.”

Anderson replaces outgoing artistic director Peter Anastos, who retires at the end of this season after 10 years at the company’s helm. Anastos, who co-founded the groundbreaking Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, came to Boise to create the “New Ballet Idaho” when it dissolved its nearly 20 year-alliance with Eugene Ballet.

Zoo Boise

Gene Peacock brings a wide diversity of experience in zookeeping and management and administration for other science and history museums over the past 29 years.

That mix makes him the right person to take the zoo to the next level, says Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway.

“Gene is passionate about animals and has a strong vision for the future of Zoo Boise,” he said.

“We know he will further the zoo’s conservation efforts across the globe,” said Alisha Palmer, Friends of Zoo Boise board president. “His knowledge and experience working in zoos across the country will bring a fresh perspective to Zoo Boise and we believe his vision will help Friends of Zoo Boise make an even bigger impact going forward.”

Most recently, Peacock was the executive director of the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History in Texas, where he oversaw the rebuilding and repair of the museum after the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey last year. Peacock also oversaw a multimillion dollar expansion at the Brandywine Zoo in Willmington, Delaware.

Zoo Boise is planning a $9 million expansion that will increase its physical footprint in Julia Davis Park. The new exhibits will build on the zoo’s conservation connections with Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park and Indochina’s Annamite Mountains.

“With all of that experience we feel he is the right guy to lift up the zoo in a different light,” Holloway said. “This will definitely change Zoo Boise.”

Peacock replaces Steve Burns, who left in September after 20 years to head the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. Burns’ legacy in Boise includes building the $1.7 million Small Animal Kingdom exhibit in 2000, the $3.7 million Out of Africa exhibit in 2008, and leading the capital campaign for the new expansion.

Related stories from Idaho Statesman

  Comments