Top Ways to Explore Boise’s Culture

 

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Expedia Viewfinder teamed up with the Boise City Department of Arts & History to compile the best cultural attractions in the Gem State’s capital. 

Here at Expedia Viewfinder, we believe that there’s a lot you can learn about a city when you dive into its culture, and we love nothing more than getting to know a region by exploring its museums and discovering its history. Drawn to the capital of Idaho, we decided to partner up with the Boise City Department of Arts & History to uncover some of the best places to get a sense of the town’s vibrant and thriving culture. From art museums to music festivals, we rounded up the top cultural sights in Boise to visit this summer:

Boise Art Museum
The Boise Art Museum (BAM) belongs at the top of your itinerary. Founded in 1937, this museum boasts a sculpture court, artist studios, and exhibitions ranging from controversial works by Chinese artist Liu Bolin to photography from local high school students. During a visit to the oldest visual arts organization in Boise, don’t miss the BAM gift shop, which offers a range of handmade jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and other souvenirs inspired by the museum’s exhibits.

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Old Idaho Penitentiary
In the 19th century the Old Idaho Penitentiary was established for some of the worst criminals. From 1872 until 1973, the Old Idaho Penitentiary housed more than 13,000 inmates including famed criminals like Lady Bluebeard, who killed several husbands for insurance money, and Harry Orchard, who assassinated former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg. Today, the Old Idaho Penitentiary is on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can tour the buildings that once housed criminals, admire unique exhibitions tracing the history of tattoos in the prison system, and even set eyes on the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit, which is one of the largest collections of military memorabilia and historic arms in the U.S.

Boise Music Festival
Every summer, Boise comes to life with the annual music festival held at Expo Idaho, and this year it takes place on June 27. Along with featuring the best musical talent in the area, the Boise Music Festival grabs headlines with major performers like Shaggy, The Ting Tings, and Nick Jonas. There are multiple stages to catch musicians throughout the day, and even an after party hosted by a local radio station.

Egyptian Theater
In 1927, the Egyptian Theater of Boise opened its doors and showed the classic film Don Juan, starring John Barrymore. The landmark is the city’s last-standing single-screen theater, and it remains one of the most historically significant buildings in town. The theater’s name is derived from the spectacular design around the main stage. Elaborate decor includes scarab ornaments, colorful Egyptian art, and stylized figures. Visitors can catch a variety of shows at the Egyptian Theater, ranging from retro films to performances by the Opera Idaho.

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Via: Kenneth Freeman

Public Artworks
One of the things that sets Boise apart from other cities of similar size is the incredible amount of public art displayed throughout its streets. Visitors can spot dozens of unique sculptures and memorials, all of which are free of charge and designed for public education and awareness. Some of the most celebrated include the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial and Statue on the Boise River Greenbelt, as well as the Sacagawea and Pomp bronze statue in Julia Davis Park.

Boise bursts to life with culture and you won’t want to miss a beat. On your next romp around Idaho’s capital, check out the masterpieces, history, concerts, and memorials to soak up the city’s vibe.

-Expedia Staff Writer

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What’s Happening in Public Art Academy?

chair 1 @ Ming Studios

What’s Happening in Public Art Academy?
by Karen Bubb

Take a paper cup, some scissors, tape, and a couple of toothpicks. In five minutes transform that cup into a stylish model chair. This is a warm-up activity the sixteen public art academy fellows executed in class to explore how to generate ideas quickly and create proposals for public art projects.

When we started class three weeks ago, students identified their perceived barriers to submitting public art proposals. The primary obstacles included lack of confidence and “know how”, the daunting paperwork, the need to change scale, fear that their art is not right for public space, confusion about how to find opportunities, lack of time, incomplete understanding of the process, and scarcity of financial resources. It was heartening for them to realize they were not alone in feeling hesitant t to dive into public art as a new application of their creative skills.

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Top 5 Things I Learned at RootsTech 2015

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Top 5 Things I Learned at RootsTech 2015

By Brandi Burns, History Program Manager

 Your beloved History Division staff was out of the office last week so we could attend the RootsTech 2015 conference in Salt Lake City. I received four research requests the day I returned, so it’s good to know you have been thinking of us. We went to RootsTech this year because our Boise State University Graduate student, Kaci Nicks, was selected to present a class. She delivered a great presentation, “Tumble Your Family History.” She attracted an audience of at least 100 people, all eager to learn how to use Tumblr to blog their family history. The conference inspired me to share the Top 5 Things I learned over the last week.

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Share Your President Obama Story

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Photo Credit: Sean Briggs, Boise Airport Marketing Manager

 

Share Your President Obama Story
By Amy Fackler, Cultural Programs Manager

 Where were you when President Obama visited on January 21, 2015?
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The Life of a Public Art Project

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The Life of a Public Art Project
By Karen Bubb, Public Arts Manager

How do Boise City public art projects come to be? It may seem to some as if an artwork just appears in a public location with little context of why it is there or how it developed.

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Ode to Snow

Motorcycle stuck in snow on 9th Street near Idaho Street in 1919. Man on the right is Roy Thompson. McCarty Building on the left. Photo courtesy ISHS 73-205-5

Motorcycle stuck in snow on 9th Street near Idaho Street in 1919. Man on the right is Roy Thompson. McCarty Building on the left. Photo courtesy ISHS 73-205-5

Ode to Snow
By Brandi Burns, History Program Manager

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For the Love of Boise: Traffic Box Art Wraps

 

For the Love of Boise: Traffic Box Art Wraps
by Karen Bubb, Public Arts Manager

In his book For the Love of Cities: The love affair between people and their places, Peter Kageyama asks how citizens can become more emotionally engaged with their cities. “When we love something, we cherish it; protect it; we do extraordinary things for it.”

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Hold It Local

Edmond Dantes

Edmond Dantes

Hold It Local
By Amy Fackler, Cultural Programs Manager

If you’ve ever called the City of Boise, chances are you’ve gone straight through to your intended party or you are transferred quickly to the right person. That’s because of the commitment to exemplary customer service and just the way we roll at the City.  However, we do hope that sometime when you call, your loyal civil servant on the other end of the line will need to put you on hold for just a moment. And here’s why: HOLD IT LOCAL  — “hold” music by local musicians.

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Public Art Academy

Public Art Academy

Public Art Academy by Karen Bubb, Public Arts Manager

Public art opportunities can easily intimidate even the most self-assured artists, especially  those who have never applied before. The competitive application process, developing a proposal for a specific site, and contractual issues can prove daunting. That’s why Boise’s Department of Arts & History created Public Art Academy (PAA), an eight-week course to build local artists’ skill-sets and prepare them for the challenges of public art. We are now accepting applications for twenty spots in the upcoming February/March class series.

This is the third year of the program, and thirty-eight local artists have graduated to date. The series helped some determine that public art was not something they wanted to pursue. For others, it built confidence and helped them gain an understanding of how to compete effectively. Several artists  received their first public art commissions soon after graduating from the program. Anne Peterson  received her first public art project, the 60-foot mural in the lobby of Boise Airport. She commented, “I believe the PAA was a game-changer for me, from being an applicant to actually being awarded a large public art project. The program provided knowledge concerning public art application protocol. The text (The Artist’s Guide to Public Art by Lynn Basa) is still a major source of information that I will rely on for future applications.”

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Christmas Traditions, Then & Now

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Christmas Traditions, Then & Now
By Brandi Burns, History Programs Manager

Seeing how it’s Christmas Eve, I wanted to take a look at the holiday traditions and recipes of Boise’s past. Last week on the blog we offered you the opportunity to share a family holiday photo and an accompanying story. Perhaps one of the traditions or recipes covered here will encourage you to visit that post again and submit an image and a story.

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