The Treasure Valley Artists Alliance was founded 10 years ago by a group of local artists that decided it needed a place to connect, collaborate and support artists, curating a number of art shows in the area, offering classes and meet-ups, and brainstorming new ways to share their work.
“I really believe that forming relationships with other artists is an important part of any artist’s journey, especially right now when people are feeling more isolated than ever,” said TVAA President Jessie Swimeley. “I wanted a place for artists to come together to share their hopes, their fears, their inspirations and just be together. It is especially important to stay connected right now.”
The alliance has begun developing new strategies amids the COVID-19 pandemic to remain connected, and has started to offer virtual classes, meetings and meet-ups that are open to anyone, and issuing links and updates via its Facebook page. TVAA uses the platform Zoom, which doesn’t require an account to join.
“The Meet-Ups started because I listened to The Happiness Lab podcast, and they were saying how important it is in this time for people to stay connected, maybe not physically, but distantly,” said Swimeley. “I wanted to find a way to still share ideas and interact as a community.”
TVAA is a membership-based collective, but anyone can attend activities or meetings. Swimeley said the group encourages people and artists to check out the organization regardless of their interest in membership.
“The online meet-ups started with coffee in the afternoon, but there were artists that missed it because they had to work, so it expanded into cocktail hour, too,” said Swimeley. “Anyone can come to any of these, even our monthly membership meetings.”
The collective has a membership of roughly 200 artists from all over the Treasure Valley that work in a variety of media, like fiber, acrylic, oil, ceramic, photography, mixed media and print. TVAA hosts all kinds of classes, an urban-sketchers online meet-up, and general meetings with different guest speakers.
The organization boasts a diverse group of artists from beginners to established professionals. Membership, which is $75 per year, allows newer and lesser-known artists to start showing their work and developing recognition. They can exhibit their work at any TVAA-curated show.
“We’re good for emerging and resume building artists,” said Swimeley. “It’s also more than that: We are getting artists connected to people and people connected to art.”
TVAA is currently curating two shows, the EPIC exhibition in Nampa that shows work from artists with disabilities; and the Reflections and Shadows exhibition in Meridian. Both are now available to view on the TVAA website.
The alliance has also started a new blog feature people can read on the website called Isolation Inspiration. TVAA is putting out a call to local artists to share their art practices during isolation, and they can upload up to five images and write about their work, which could be curated and published on the public forum. The link to submit is on the website.
“The whole point of the Alliance is to forge connections with other artists and open up opportunities to collaborate and support each other,” said Swimeley.