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New commissioning fund to help keep local creators creating, capture COVID experiences

A collaborative partnership organized by Treefort Music Fest, The Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, and the Boise City Department of Arts and History will advocate for the Treasure Valley’s creative community.

The ​COVID Cultural Commissioning Fund, announced today, is intended to support the Treasure Valley’s creative community and capture creative expressions during an unprecedented world event.
The one-time award program will fund the creation of individual creative work that explores, documents and/or reflects on personal experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social distancing, changes in social patterns, health concerns, job instability and other impacts.

“During these uncertain times, it is important for our creative community to document their experiences for future generations and to provide space for the healing that comes from self-reflection,” said John Michael Schert, executive producer of Treefort Music Fest. “The personal testimonies and narratives collected from this commissioning process will strengthen our community and aid us in our ability to come out of this experience stronger and closer as neighbors, friends and citizens. Through these works, we will help future generations understand this unique time and tell stories that will be recounted for generations to come.”

Creators across all disciplines are welcome to apply. To be eligible, individuals must be 18 years of age or older, live in Ada, Canyon, Boise, Gem or Owyhee counties in Idaho, and be able to demonstrate a sustained commitment to their work, careers and a public audience. Applications will open at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, and close at 11:59 p.m. Friday, May 8. A to-be-determined number of awarded individuals will receive a one-time $1,000 commission. A panel of local community stakeholders and national arts experts will review applications and announce awarded individuals mid-May.

“The Boise City Department of Arts and History is committed to supporting Boise’s cultural community throughout this global health crisis and is honored to join partners in offering this one-time award opportunity, the COVID Cultural Commissioning Fund,” said director Terri Schorzman. “By collecting individual work that explores, documents and/or reflects on personal experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our community, we are creating a special and critically needed collection in the city archives that will not only include creative works, history interviews, photographs, data and more, but will also record the universal experience of the pandemic for the future.”

As part of this effort, a ​Survey on the Impact of COVID-19/Coronavirus on Boise’s Creative Sector, designed by the Boise City Department of Arts and History, will be launched to better understand the immediate and long-term impact of the public health crisis upon Boise’s cultural and creative sector. Arts and cultural ​organizations​, as well as ​individuals​ (artists, educators, teaching artists, creative workers, etc.) are encouraged to participate.

The COVID Cultural Commissioning Fund is generously supported by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, the Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts and Extramile Arena. The initiative also will be funded by support from the Treasure Valley community at large. All funds will be awarded directly to creators; all partners are involved as volunteers and none of the funds are used to cover overhead costs.

The community is encouraged to support the fund by contributing via The Treefort Community Fund on Cauze. All gifts contributed via Cauze will be matched by a generous gift from the Rolph Charitable Fund.

“The Morrison Center values our creative community as audiences and performers. Our empty stage is a reminder of the importance of creative expression and the desire to connect with each other in real time. We are proud to be included in this partnership to celebrate the extraordinary makers who call the Treasure Valley home,” said Laura Kendall, executive director of the Morrison Center. “In this moment, we have a responsibility to invest back into the ideas, hearts, and minds of our artists as they have given us so much over the years. This collaboration will give them an opportunity to keep their art and passions alive and well. It will be a significant collection that will go down in history to inspire future generations.”