Art has been a refuge to me this year. Whether experiencing it in-person or online, it helps makes sense of this crazy world. Artists everywhere need to be able to express themselves and people everywhere need to be able to experience this expression, even if it makes them uncomfortable. Or maybe it will help their true selves see that there is more.
Visual Arts Collective (VAC), is a contemporary fine art gallery, performance venue and cultural center in Garden City, Idaho, committed to presenting exhibitions and events for artists working in visual and performance art, film, music, dance and theater. VAC is dedicated to providing Boise and the Treasure Valley opportunities to explore various disciplines, to engage in interactive art, to participate in special events and to encourage artists and the community to continue in the discovery of artistic expression.
I chose the VAC after reading about how the ACLU stepped in on a case where undercover agents “monitored” a burlesque performance leading to the state threatening to revoke the gallery’s liquor license. After paying a fine (seriously?!) the VAC fought back and changed the antiquated law in Idaho policing art (and women’s bodies).
Uncensored art is a key component in the fight against fascism. When the president-elect can’t even handle the mainstream Saturday Night Live, I seriously worry about what will happen to arts groups pushing the boundaries in red state communities.
The response the VAC had to the win in court was brilliant: host an erotic art show. I am happy to support an organization that is so dedicated to encourage its community to have fun while it thinks critically. While I’m unable to donate directly to VAC, I’m contributing to the Alley Repertory Theater which is housed in the space and “connects professional artists and local talent with thinking audiences”.
Revisiting this pick after the Oakland Fire, there’s an added sense of urgency to support artistic communities nationwide. Safe spaces for folks need to exist.