Holiday highlights by the letter

    story by Ken Levy

    photography by John Webster

    Education and workshops and dinners, oh, my! Boise deserves a real holiday try. There are sculptures and installations, sales and Rigoletto. And you won’t want to miss Winter Garden aGlow.

    Sheepherder’s Dinner includes a live band, and Santa’s Village will feature the jolly old man. There are visual arts, sure to please all of us, and the holidays will sing with the children’s chorus.

    Try to check these all out, if you think you have time. When you do, you’ll discover holidays in Boise are quite fine.

    To make it easy for you, we’ve spelled it out by the letter. That way you’ll discover Boise’s holidays better:

    B: Boise Art Museum

    BOISE-bamSeveral fabulous exhibitions are set for November and December, including Arp, Miro and Calder, an exhibition of art of historical significance. An exhibition dubbed “A Matter of Taste: Food for Thought,” drawn from the permanent collection and local artists, “ talks about the idea of taste, not only in food but also in art, with some interesting pairings of work,” said Melanie Fales, executive director at BAM.

    A sculptural exhibition, created by Gail Grinnell of Seattle, will be up until Nov. 30. The site-specific installation features dress interfacings, which are spun polyester fabrics that are sewn in between layers of fabric.

    Kay Hardy and Gregory Kaslo’s ceramic collection will also be featured.

    “We have a multitude of educational programs every single month,” she said, including First Thursday and studio art exploration programs, family arts Saturdays, preschool tours and outreach programs.

    A special program set for 6 p.m. Nov. 13 is the first in a series known as Practice Makes Perfect, which focuses on dance and visual arts and the ideas of practice and repetition to perfect both forms.

    Part two of the series is “A Master of Marketing,” scheduled for Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. The presentation will feature discussions about Alexander Calder, who is credited with inventing the mobile as an art form.

    There are printmaking and watercolor workshops, and a holiday member’s sale will run in the BAM store during the first weekend in December.

    O: Opera Idaho

    BOISE-operaSeeing Rigoletto live by Opera Idaho is a great way into the holidays, you should know.

    They’re “back to the Morrison Center after a great performance last year of Carmen,” said Fernando Menéndez, marketing and education manager.  “We actually did really, really well,” he said.

    He’s hoping Rigoletto will be as big a success this year.

    The beloved Guiseppe Verdi opera features “La donna é mobile,” one of the world’s best-known arias. It will run Nov. 14 and 16.

    The holiday season will bring children’s chorus performances with the Boise Holiday Parade Nov. 22 followed by their Christmas concert Dec. 6.  They spend a lot of the holidays caroling, including at venues such as Rediscovered Books downtown.

    I: Idaho Botanical Garden

    BOISE_BotanicalFor Boise’s greatest holiday light show, you must see Idaho Botanical Garden’s Winter Garden aGlow.

    “We take the 13 acres of the developed gardens and use 300,000 lights and just light it up,” said Renee White, director of events and marketing. “Our goal is to accent the architecture and structure of the plants and make the garden itself glow.”

    There’s Santa’s Village, with the jolly old gift-giver there on weekends, and he brings Prancer, a real live reindeer to add pop to photo opps.

    There’s live choirs of every skill and sort, and helicopters fly over, you can see them from the road. A G-Scale model train runs through the English garden, thanks to the Southern Idaho Garden Railway Society. And almost every night is like a brand-new party.

    The show starts on Thanksgiving Day, which adds to our thankfulness, wouldn’t you say? It’s open every night from 6-9, and free hot cocoa makes the chilly nights fine. There’s cider and cookies to add to your mirth, but alas! the glow ends on January Fourth.

    S: Surel’s Place

    BOISE-SurelArtists need shelter and time and space. They find all three at Surel’s Place.

    The non-profit live and work space 50 feet from the Boise River features art, books and antiques collected by the late artist Surel Mitchell, who developed the property in Garden City.

    Stop-motion animator Sarah Klein and sound artist David Kwan are collaborating to make a stop-motion piece comprised of Idaho images and enhanced by Klein’s animation during their residency in November. They’ll do a screening and art talk Nov. 13 starting at 7 p.m.

    “Some Semblance: Self portraits from the Atlanta School” is showing through December at Surel’s Other Place at Cinder Wines, 107 E. 44th St. Developed through a workshop at the Atlanta, Idaho school , artists looked into mirrors and created their self portraits.

    The collection looks at personal and local histories, and visitors are invited to try on costumes, view themselves and draw their own portraits.

    Artist-in-Residence sculptor Lynn Fraley will lead a workshop on “X-ray vision for artists,” designed to help de-mystify anatomy in the production of their art.

    Visit for details.

    E:   Euzkaldunak is a big word for “one that speaks Basque” and refers to Boise’s center for the folks known as Basque.

    BOISE-basqueTheir big winter event is the Sheepherder’s Ball, a fundraising dinner to mark the end of fall. It’s set for Dec. 20, said Annie Gavica of the Basque Center.

    “It’s a big dinner featuring a live Basque band,” she said. “All the money that we make goes into our charities account, and we either pick a recipient for the night or people will request funds for Basque or non-Basque” purposes.

    These can include help with hospital bills or rent, for example.

    The center also offers monthly dinners September-May, usually on Saturday nights. Sponsors make blood sausage for the Nov. 1 dinner along with other food. Usually about 300 people show up, and there’s bingo after dinner.

    At the Basque Museum, First Thursdays are celebrated with free admission and musicians. Second Thursdays feature educational presentations. Random functions also pop up.

    Don’t miss out on all this fun this season. If you must, we hope you have a really good reason!

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