‘The outcast, the weird and the visceral’: A community of artists is changing the creative space in Boise

illustration for backyard artists organization
Illustration courtesy of Sarah Rogers

It’s clear to see that the Boise art scene has expanded in recent years, from spoken word, visual design and unique theatrical performances, it is easier now more than ever for artists to find community. However, where the city still lacks is in an outlet for young emerging artists to share and collaborate. 

This is the very problem founder Ryan Marsh sought to address.

As a writer himself, Marsh recognized this need and organized a community of creatives.

Soon after, “Backyard Artists” was born, a nonprofit dedicated to giving emerging artists a platform to share their work across all mediums.

“We are just one in the void,” Marsh said. “That’s all we’re doing. We’re just filling the void in this life, so why don’t we do cool s—?”

According to Marsh, Backyard Artists is a way to encourage young people in the community to apply themselves.

“This is the place to get those credentials and to take that chance, and so it’s really working towards building within the community of Boise,” Marsh said. “There is always room for growth. As the city grows, the arts have to grow with it, and if arts don’t grow, then the city becomes desolate and loses its life. We really focused on that and that idea of ‘you’re supposed to be here,’ ‘you’re meant to be here,’ and really, ‘you’re welcome here.’’

Backyard Artists launched its first event, “In Our Own Backyard,” on Oct. 1. The event consisted of a series of nonfiction, fiction and poetry readings accompanied by art and food vendors. The event saw a turnout of around 85 attendees.

illustration for backyard artists organization
[Illustration for the nonprofit Backyard Artists.]
Illustration courtesy of Sarah Rogers

“This idea has been cooking in my brain for two years ever since I moved up here,” Marsh said. “We didn’t have the means of doing it, and then I interned with Storyfort for about a year and a half, and that’s where I really learned how to run an event and really learned about the community and so many people within the community. That was the moment I was like, let’s do this, and so then it came to fruition.”

On Nov. 19, Backyard Artists will host its first workshop open to 40 people that will include four instructors, campfires and homemade s’mores. The space will give attendees the opportunity to work with instructors to indulge in writing prompts and collaborate among one another. 

Their next event will be themed around “For Life” on Saturday Dec. 3. This upcoming event will feature three readers as well as an on-stage tattoo artist who will  tattoo their apprentice and talk through making a living as an artist. 

The road of an artist is one that relies on networking. In a space where gaining experiences often means needing experience, the opportunities for growth can be complicated. 

Marsh has created a space accessible to the everyday artist of any level and an opportunity to nourish the soul through language, food and art in its limitless platform.

The crux of Backyard Artists is put simply: filling the void and allowing a space for art to flourish. 

To participate in events, visit @thebackyardists on Instagram for more information and direct message the account if you would like to be involved. 

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