The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service announced $797,500 in 33 grants in 16 states, including an award of $30,000 to the Boise Art Museum
to support the development of an exhibition, Minidoka: Artist as Witness (October 8, 2016 January 15, 2017), related to the Minidoka National Historic Site, a World War II Japanese internment camp in 1940s Idaho. Imagine Your Parks is a new grant initiative from the National Endowment for the Arts to support projects in which the arts engage people with memorable places and landscapes of the National Park System.
NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, "As the National Endowment for the Arts celebrates its 50th anniversary and the National Park Service observes its Centennial, we want people to remember that our cultural and natural treasures are part of what makes America great. Imagine Your Parks projects from the Grand Canyon in Arizona, to downtown Atlanta, Georgia will inspire the imagination of people across the country. We are proud to support projects from organizations like the Boise Art Museum to offer more opportunities to engage in the arts.
Melanie Fales, BAMs Executive Director shared, Few people know that Idaho had a major relocation camp during WWII, and even fewer people are aware of the visual art production that occurred as a result. By partnering with the Minidoka National Historic Site and engaging people with this artwork, we will have a powerful and personal means of creating a dialogue about a sensitive subject of profound importance.
Boise Art Museums "Imagine Your Parks" project will comprise an exhibition of artwork produced at the camp or created by artists whose families have a personal connection with the Minidoka incarceration experience, such as Takuichi Fujii (1892-1964), Kenjiro Nomura (1896-1956), Teresa Tamura (b. 1960), Roger Shimomura (b. 1939), and Wendy Maruyama (b. 1952). Recognized as a unit of the National Park System in 2001, the internment site held more than 9,000 evacuees between the years 1942 and 1945. To engage visitors of all ages with the Minidoka National Historic Site, educational programming will take place at the Boise Art Museum, at the national park site, and at Boise State University (BSU). The exhibition has been scheduled to coincide with the annual Civil Liberties Symposium at BSU in fall 2016.