Mayor David Bieter has named the Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, Idaho’s premier performing arts center, as a City of Boise cultural ambassador for a two-year term. As part of the recognition, the Morrison Center and Global Lounge, the other 2017 selection, will act as Boise’s honorary representatives to the world.
“Our core goal with the Cultural Ambassador program is to celebrate the public expression of culture in our city. I believe that our recipients this year share this in remarkable ways,” said Bieter. “As a major destination for the world’s top talent, the Morrison Center plays an important role in sharing Boise’s unique cultural scene with audiences around the country and beyond. Both organizations truly capture the essence of Boise’s vibrant and diverse cultural community and contribute to making Boise the most livable city in the country.”
Since 1984, the Morrison Center has showcased national and international artists in the performing arts while providing growth opportunities for local arts groups. Over 200 bookings and 150,000 patrons from all over the state and country flow through its doors every year.
“Great cities are centered around the performing arts and the venues that support them. We are very fortunate to be located in a wonderful city that recognizes the immense value of the Morrison Center, and to have one of the most impressive theaters in the country available to us on our campus,” stated Boise State University President Bob Kustra. “Boise State’s theatre arts, dance, music programs and more have access to the very best stage, as well as talented performers and guests from all over the world. The Morrison Center continues to be a point of pride for our university, and we are thrilled with this recognition from the City of Boise.”
Artists from around the world visit each year – from performing artists to operations staff teching a Broadway show before it goes on tour; as such, they become an ambassador for the city and state. Casts and crews eat in local restaurants, stay in hotels and ultimately help spread the good word about the city’s hospitality.
This spring, the Morrison Center announced a milestone in free events presented for the community. During the 2016 calendar year, the center hosted 27 free, public events with a total attendance of more than 30,000 patrons. The center presented three elite military bands plus the popular Canadian Brass. Many other performances were presented by local groups and funded in part by the Morrison Center Endowment Foundation. Free performances funded by the foundation included: Ballet Idaho, Boise Music Week, Boise Philharmonic, Boise Valley Chordsmen, Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Wassmuth Center for Human Rights. Boise State University’s President’s Office, Music Department, Honors College, New Student Programs and others also provided free programs to the community. These statistics do not include the many hundreds of complimentary tickets the Morrison Center and the Morrison Center Endowment Foundation give away through annual outreach efforts to schools, local nonprofits and children and families in need.
“From the outset, the Center’s founders wanted the Morrison Center to be Idaho’s premier performing arts center and to be known as the “People’s Theatre,” said Morrison Center Executive Director James Patrick. “This designation as Cultural Ambassador is an important stamp of approval and a testament to our founders’ amazing vision and tenacity. As Velma Morrison was known for saying, “Building the Morrison Center was too right to be wrong.”
The Morrison Center recently was ranked the No. 2 university venue in the nation for its size by Venues Today Magazine, is consistently ranked in the top 100 theaters for world-wide ticket sales by Pollstar Magazine, and is ranked No. 4 for “Top Stops in the Pacific Northwest.”
Mayor Bieter and Terri Schorzman, director of the city’s Department of Arts and History, made the announcement of Cultural Ambassadors at the 2017 Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts and History on Sept. 21. The City of Boise Cultural Ambassador program is designed to share Boise’s cultural and creative community with other cities across the globe and foster connection to global audiences. The department of arts and history manages the program, and the Boise City Mayor presents the honorific title. Past recipients include Treefort Music Fest, Anthony Doerr, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and Trey Mcintyre Project.
Established by Dayo Ayodele in 2006, Global Lounge was established to fill a need to educate others as to the diversity of our expanding community. For the last three years, the organization has put on World Village Festival, a 3-day multicultural celebration in Capitol Park, which is free to the public.