Karen Bubb, Cultural Planner
Karen Bubb leads the implementation of Boise’s Cultural Plan which focuses on developing cultural policy, enhancing neighborhood places, maintaining cultural assets, fostering cultural organizations and partnerships, and expanding cultural resources for individuals.
“It is a privilege and a gift to partner with citizens on initiatives that make life in Boise more meaningful and connected.”
Highlights of projects she leads include:
- Creating neighborhood cultural plans that share history, inventory current cultural assets, and set future cultural goals.
- Write strategic plans for department initiatives such as the James Castle House, Erma Hayman House, and new Center for Arts & History.
- Organize Southwest Regional Cultural Organizations to promote cultural tourism and greater robustness in the region’s small cities.
- Partnering with the descendants of Boise’s Indigenous People to build relationships, provide education to the public about Boise Valley Tribes, and create permanent acknowledgements of the history and contemporary importance of Native Americans to the City of Boise.
For nineteen years Karen Bubb was Boise’s Public Arts Manager. The first breakthrough during her tenure was when the Percent for Art ordinance passed in 2001, a foresighted decision marking the beginning of the city’s significant investment in public art. A second highlight for Bubb was the 2008 historic City Council meeting during which Arts & History became a full department. Bubb was the interim director of the Boise City Arts Commission at the time and is very proud that this stabilization for arts and history took place under her leadership.
Bubb served for six years on the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Board and in 2012 she was honored with the Governor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Arts Administration. She is Co-Founder of Surel’s Place, an artist-in-residence program, and a Trustee of the Alexa Rose Cultural Foundation and the Mitchell Family Foundation. Bubb earned her MPA and a Graduate Certificate in Community and Regional Planning from BSU, and a BFA from University of Oregon. A visual artist who works primarily in encaustic painting, Bubb is a member of Capital Contemporary Gallery and Boise Open Studio Collective Organization (BOSCO). She teaches Design Thinking in Boise State University’s Executive MBA Program.