Blaring music and ceaseless vibrations of voices filled the evening. Silent, dim-lit rooms with patrons reflecting on paintings. Both of these describe the CONVERGE event
hosted by Boise Art Museum (BAM) on Oct. 24.
The World Stage series of Kehinde Wiley was highlighted. The museum opened its doors later than usual and combined multiple artistic platforms. In addition to Wiley’s work, the event had six DJs and a sample of foods from three local restaurants.
The three hour event was as much a paradox as the art it highlighted.
The hallways near the entrance showcased the work of Wiley. His dramatized, bold-colored paintings hung on plain walls, illuminated by soft light. The exhibit was typical—it allowed people to study the artist’s work. Yet, a pulsing through the walls hinted something else going on in the back of the museum.
There was a room bustling with activity.People stood drinking, talking and eating. There were two DJ set-ups so the beat that could be heard throughout the museum. Scents of food greeted incoming observers. This scene completely opposed the soft, quiet atmosphere that lay only a few doors away.
The inconsistencybetween both atmospheres was intended.
BAM education assistant Kimberly Cochrane explained that Wiley’s exhibit birthed this “convergence” event. The merging ideas within Wiley’s art—classicism and contemporary, power and weakness—along with the various cultures in his work, brought forth this diverse event. By combining music, food and art amidst a variety of culture, Cochrane and the rest of BAM hoped to bring a unique opportunity to Boise.
Smiling as she spoke after the event, Cochrane appeared to think they’d accomplished this merging of cultures. She noted the “great turnout” and said she “felt like that came together today.”
“I think that it was successful,” Cochrane said.
One of the pieces of the event Cochrane was most excited about was the DJs. Six different DJs each chose a specific country depicted in Wiley’s work to represent in a 20 minute mix. The DJs were all community-based: Slieb, Miss Kimberly, DJ Eric Rhodes, DJ Retronaut, StephaniePC and DJ Les Dudas.
The audience listened to each DJ and voted for their favorite. DJ Eric Rhodes, whose audience size and enthusiasm had begun to mimic a mini-concert, took the prize.
Rhodes chose Brazil to inspire his music set because he “wanted a set that was really fun and upbeat.”
Rhodes said that he “loves what the museum is doing.” He remarked on how the event had successfully brought in a variety of people.
“Diversity is important, it’s been a great time,” Rhodes said.
Prior to the event, a few Boise State students waiting to go inside hadn’t been sure what to expect. Senior art eduction major A.P. Thomas expected “CONVERGE” to be some kind of cultural “fusion” event.
Senior Hailey Turner, pursuing a bachelor of fine arts with an emphasis in ceramics, said, “I’m a student of life and I want to be here.”
The event provided a union of people and culture. It brought people of older and younger generations; people dressed in suits or band shirts. People were able to hear, taste, smell and see culture in action. The event represented a variety of cultures, all within the confines of Boise.