Adventure with a Safety Net

10 years is enough time to really be in a city.

Kelly Packer

November 25, 2014

10 years is enough time to really be in a city. Perhaps enough time to just hit your stride and find your place, to make really good friends and contribute to the community. It's also about the time when you start getting the itch.

In Boise, the weather is mild and the living is easy. Boise has given my husband the opportunity to teach poetry to everyone from 3rd graders to grad students to youth at the juvenile detention center. Boise has given me an artist community in the form of my fellow Enso Artspace co-founders and all the wonderful people I have met through being a part of Enso. The collective has given me a reason to continue to create artwork. There isn't a bigger gift. I will miss them dearly.

Which brings me to one of the reasons we are moving to Butte, Montana. Butte has long been a source of artistic and aesthetic inspiration. It has a rich and fascinating history. Butte is a little like a smaller Detroit of the West. A true boom and bust city, in its heyday it boasted 100,000 citizens and the first high-rise west of the Mississippi. Then the copper mine shut down. Butte now holds about 30,000 people and one of the biggest superfund sites in the US.

Walking around the streets you may sometimes think you are in San Francisco, the houses are so varied and piled together on a hill. Everywhere there are remnants hinting at a grand history: the ornate and detailed columns in the empty building in the heart of uptown or the marble floor in a just-rediscovered speakeasy. And although I am intrigued by Butte's history, I am also interested in the Butte of 2014 and beyond: the remaining supper clubs, the burgeoning startups and the small artist community.

I just completed an exhibition at Enso of drawings and paintings inspired by Butte and other mining towns of the west. Now we will be living in one of those drawings. We are excited for the new view outside our back porch and the challenge of a new city.

One of the things allowing us to make this move is that Creative Soapbox has moved to a distributed workforce. Justin's recent move to Oregon propelled this change. Due to the nature of our work and as most of our clients are scattered throughout the world, we can work from wherever we can get wifi. This sort of freedom is one of the reasons that I got into web development. It's about time to take advantage of it. And although we are leaving Boise for now, we will take the friendships with us.

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