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Viewpoint: Housing Preservation Program; Art in the Park goes virtual

The Housing Preservation Program helps those struggling to pay rent and utility bills; Why the Virtual Art in the Park event is so important to the Boise Art Museum.

BOISE, Idaho — Getting creative to hold a major event that supports creativity.

Art in the Park got underway Thursday morning -- virtually.  It runs through Sept. 18.

Art in the Park has a been a signature summer event in the City of Trees for more than six decades.  

Every summer dozens and dozens of artists and craftspeople, and thousands and thousands of arts and crafts lovers have filled Julia Davis Park for the fundraiser.

It's a great way for the artists to reach customers and make money.

It's also a huge fundraiser for the Boise Art Museum or BAM.

But the coronavirus pandemic has forced organizers to get creative, something that artistic folks are certainly good at doing.

So, for the 66th version of the event, Art in the Park is all online, with BAM's virtual Art in the Park marketplace.

BAM Executive Director Melanie Fales says the event is especially critical this year because of the pandemic.  

"It's more important than ever, obviously. It is our signature fundraiser. It is our single largest source of revenue," Fales said. "And it does represent about 25 percent of our budget. So it's very significant for the Boise Art Museum and also for those artists who typically have gone on an arts and crafts festival tour from spring through summer, and this is typically their final event of the year and most of them had not had any events at all this year."

75 percent of the purchase price of items goes directly to the artist or craftsperson.  

Fales said the 25 percent that goes to the museum in a typical year would be nearly a half-million dollars.

The goal this year is at least $150,000.                        

You can shop the virtual Art in the Park marketplace 24 hours a day through Sept. 18.

This Sunday morning at 6:30 on Viewpoint, Fales also talks about the current exhibits at BAM and the resilience of the entire Boise art community during the pandemic.

Also, on Viewpoint, we'll tell you about the housing preservation program.

Do you know someone who is struggling to pay rent and utility bills?

This program through the Idaho Housing and Finance Association provides help to households in need because of a COVID-19 related circumstance.

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