In a nondescript white building on the southwest edge of campus, associate professor and set designer Michael Baltzell creates theater sets, in this case monsters.
A three-foot tall green water monster sits on a table in front of him with discreet black poles extending from his arms, legs and abdomen. That monster was part of Boise Contemporary Theater’s relaunch of “A Nighttime Survival Guide,” in which two childhood pen pals – one living in Arco, Idaho, the other in rural Japan – collaborate on how to defeat their monsters. In a nod to traditional Japanese puppet theater, the menacing water monster took three people to manipulate.
It is for a lifetime of theater projects like these – ambitious ideas that take healthy imagination and expert skill to execute – that Baltzell was recognized with a Governor’s Award in the Arts, for excellence in the arts.
“Mike Baltzell is a true Renaissance man,” said Richard Klautsch, chair of the theatre arts department. “He is an extraordinary artist: a carpenter, a fi ne arts painter, a composer and musician, a creator of compelling visual worlds.”
Since 1970, the Governor’s Awards in the Arts have been awarded every two years to recognize outstanding arts contributions in Idaho.
“My work would not be successful without the great work of carpenters, lighting designers and costume designers,” Baltzell said. “Just to have your peers recognize your work is very exciting and very humbling at the same time.”