Trey McIntyre ProjectBoise, ID
Now on the verge of entering its fifth full-time season, Trey McIntyre Project has grown from a small business to a midsize company that employs nearly 30 full-time employees and tours to more than 30 cities across the globe each season. Much of the company’s growth is due to the engagement methods it employs in its hometown of Boise, Idaho, collectively known as the Boise Bright Spot Project, a creative placemaking endeavor made possible by the ArtPlace grant.
ArtPlace asked TMP Executive Director John Michael Schert what he thinks are the three keys to creative placemaking. Schert agreed that there are a number of factors involved but he believes that one key element is the difference between good creative placemaking and great creative placemaking. Here’s what he had to say:
“The success of Trey McIntyre Project’s Boise Bright Spot Project relies heavily on us remaining present and even striving for a kind of omnipresence in the community on both macro and micro levels. We can never assume that people are understanding, comprehending and engaging with the message, the vision, or the values of the company. But the key element is one-on-one human relationships—no matter how widely spread the message is getting through press, through marketing, through imagery, or through branding, we’re not reaching people unless we’re augmenting or supporting that with human relationships.
For creative placemaking to be as effective as it needs to be and has to be for a performing arts organization like Trey McIntyre Project in a community like Boise, we continually schedule ways of having those human interactions: 10 weeks out of the year we schedule engagement periods where we make a concerted effort to be a part of the Boise community. That entails all of the programs that are part of the BBSP: visiting hospitals, schools, businesses, corporations, appearing in public settings, lecture demonstrations, speaking engagements, etc. To be effective, we have to be present in the corporate, non-profit, and small business worlds and be present in all aspects of the community through those one-on-one relationships such as donor meetings, meetings with the mayor and the city council, and meetings with organized groups like Leadership Boise or Think Boise First. Many of these meetings are furthering specific projects like Connect 10 with Red Feather or creating programs like Treycations, which sell not only the experience of seeing Trey McIntyre Project perform, but also benefit a local restaurant and provide a donation to the Treasure Valley Food Coalition as well. Those programs engage the community and benefit many but it’s the meetings and discussions that go into setting up those programs that make Trey McIntyre Project a more valued and valuable part of this community.
We’ve talked about elements of the BBSP, such as the programs we implement for specific projects, like 10+1pt. 3, or ways we engage the community through the lobby at the Morrison Center, or our hospital programs. But a real key of creative placemaking is the one-on-one—the small group engagement, the planning, the discussions, being part a roundtable of fellow non-profits and arts organizations, being a player in leadership groups like The Gang, speaking and sharing the message of TMP frequently through keynote addresses, and meeting regularly with elected officials. These are not things we do necessarily to further a specific initiative or program, but to keep the discussion and viability of an arts organization at the forefront of what’s being discussed in our community.”