Founders of an art center in development at the Ming Studios building in Boise have their sights set on changing the creative playing field in the Treasure Valley.
Ming Studios, an international art center and residency program will open May 30 at 6th and Mrytle streets in the space that Boise Art Glass currently occupies. Boise Art Glass will move to its new home at the old Bogies building at 12th and Front streets later this month.
Ming Studios is an ambitious project from Jason Morales, a creative entrepreneur who has a passion for Idaho. Morales moved to Boise 13 years ago and fell in love with the state. He formulated this idea to create this cultural exchange and bring artists from outside the area to explore their work and infuse Boise with an international creative vibe.
“I’ve always been impressed with what Boise has to offer and how artists can relax, root in and do work with less distraction here,” he says.
Morales originally wanted to call the project Momenta, but when this building became available the idea of using Ming Studios clicked. The name is on the building at one of the city’s high profile corners.
Morales brought Anna Ura on board as artistic director to oversee the creative side of Ming Studios.
Ura, a contemporary artist and painter, plans to collaborate with Kerstin Winking, a curator at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam to identify artists to bring to Boise for the one-to six-month residencies. Winking is the project curator of the SMBA’s Global Collaborations project.
The first Ming Studios artist will be Uli Westphal, a German artist who explores the way humans perceive, depict and transform the natural world around them. He will create new work during the residency. The center also will create opportunities for Westphal and future artists to intersect with their peers here.
The programs will range from art exhibitions to workshops and activities for area artists and the community at large. The goal is to bring the Treasure Valley’s arts community into a confluence with the world, Ura says.
The Ming Studio center will contain an exhibition space, artist studios, workshop space and an outdoor courtyard with urban garden plots.
The art center helps fulfill our vision for the corner, says Noel Weber, Jr., who manages the 1/4 block complex. The Weber family owns Classic Design Studios located in the neighboring building. The Webers want to make the corner an arts business collective. And so far it’s worked.
Their Classic Design Studio makes high-end original signs and architectural details for local and global clients. The complex also houses Bricolage, a retail store that features local handcrafted goods and art, Wil Kirkman’s Rocket Neon and Juliana McLenna’s Fawn and Foal screen printing.