Art Guild Creates “Fantasy Tractors” for Boise’s JUMP Community Center

by | Dec 14, 2015

What do McDonald’s French fries and antique farm tractors have in common? The answer is J.R. Simplot, Idaho’s “spud king.” His 1967 handshake deal with McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc made his Simplot Company the fast food chain’s number one supplier of frozen potato products, and his interest in agricultural history resulted in a extraordinary collection of 110 antique farm tractors and steam engines.

To celebrate J.R.’s life and legacy his family conceived the idea for JUMP (Jack’s Urban Meeting Place), a beautiful, not-for-profit, interactive creative and community center built from scratch in downtown Boise. In addition to J.R.’s tractor collection, JUMP features five studios – The Kitchen Studio, Movement Studio, Maker’s Studio, Play Studio and Inspiration Studio. Each offers facilities that serve specific needs and interests. The Kitchen Studio, for instance, can accommodate cooking classes, culinary competitions and the development of new food products. The Play Studio is for hi-tech artists such as budding filmmakers, scriptwriters and animators, teaching camera techniques, digital editing and other skills.

To thematically represent each studio, JUMP commissioned designer John Lauer to come up with ideas for five sculptural, fantasy tractors or “Attract-ors.” That’s where Art Guild comes into the picture. Our challenge was to turn these into built-reality. Due to the unusual nature of these concepts, we were required to innovate new production processes, coordinate the work of multiple, specialty subcontractors, and find clever ways of integrating technology into some designs. The Play Attract-or, as an example, also serves as a mini-digital film studio.

You can see all five Attract-ors in the slide show above, a ‘Bird-of-Paradise’ thematic sculpture we built for JUMP’s lobby, plus two of the antique tractors from J.R.’s collection.