more than just potatoes
Big fish in a small Boise: Ex-Houston Ballet star Trey McIntyre named CulturalAmbassador
Former Houston Ballet star and choreographer Trey McIntyre and his company, the Trey McIntyre Project, have been awarded the title of Cultural Ambassador by the mayor of Boise. The award includes a $25,000 grant.
"It confirms the reason we moved to Boise in the first place," McIntyre told CultureMap in an interview. "We're here to truly be a partner with the community and not just have the goal of putting on a great show, and living out the idea that arts can be a major force in the community."
Trey McIntyre Project formed in 2008 and is renown for incorporating classical and contemporary music into performances, including jazz and native Blackfoot pow-wow music, as will as tunes by Paul Simon, Nina Simone and The Polyphonic Spree. McIntyre has won numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and has choreographed for New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theater.
McIntyre has long-held ties with Houston. While a student at the Houston Ballet Academy in 1989, he was named Choreographic Apprentice to the Houston Ballet — a position created especially for him. Regarding his relationship with the city he said, "My ties to Houston are so strong; it's always home to me. We plan tours there as often as possible."
"We'd been working with the city on funding for two years, since we moved to Boise," Trey McIntyre Project executive director John Michael Schert said. "We chose Boise over every other city, after evaluating Houston, Washington, D.C., Portland and San Francisco, all of which were very interested in hosting us. But as pioneers ourselves, Boise called out to us."
The company has thoroughly enjoyed representing Boise's cultural offerings while on tour. "We're like a football team — as we branch out, we represent Boise and garner fans," Schert added. "We have hundreds of Boisans who follow us on tour." And they have a lot to be proud of. Explained Schert, "The Trey McIntyre Project is aiding in the economic development of the city; we bring lots of press on a national scale that wasn't covering the city's arts and culture prior.
"That the company has been named the first cultural ambassador is an honor and very unexpected. I think the city is realizing just the effect we're having on individuals, donors, and also the government — what we're doing to improve quality of life and economic development. We've had stories in every major daily newspaper."
Mayor Dave Bieter has long promoted arts as an economic driver, but historically there has been little financial support from the Boise city government for arts groups. The mayor and departments of Art and History and Economic Development have created the Cultural Ambassador award from a one-time boost funded by $105,000 received from the Union Pacific Railroad for the lease of railroad tracks in southeast Boise.