Public Art

Bike Trio public art Above image © Michael Brown & David Cole

Art in public places adds meaning, stories, and beauty to our public environment. Our city’s Public Art program is well loved; citizens recognize value in this investment and appreciate efforts to transform non-descript streets and introduce vibrancy into the urban environment.  More than two-thirds of the artists commissioned live in Boise—as a result our public art authentically reflects Boise’s local character, more tightly binding us to one another and to this place.


Public Art Program Quick Links:

Care & Conservation

Public Art Collections

Mural Guidelines

Guide to Public Art

Calls & Opportunities

Documents



Public Art Program Mission:

The mission of Boise City’s Public Art Program is to support an enriched and thriving arts community through the integration of a diverse collection of works of art into public spaces in a manner that reflects the diversity, culture, and economic vitality of the City of Boise; and to provide related programming and education to expand the artist community and public’s knowledge and understanding of the arts and culture in relation to their surroundings. The Public Art Program mission aims to align with and expand upon the Department of Arts & History’s mission, “To enhance Boise’s community by providing leadership, advocacy, education, services, and support for arts and history.” 


Public Art Program History:

“In 2001, the Boise City Council passed an ordinance directing that 1.4% of all capital project funds be set aside for the integration of public art into city facilities.” Through the Percent-for-Art program, a concept popularized in cities across the U.S., professionally produced murals, performances, sculptures, mosaics, installations, and more are systematically integrated into the Boise Airport, Boise WaterShed, Foothills Learning Center, branch libraries, fire stations, throughout the city’s magnificent parks, and integrated into the streetscapes throughout all areas of the City. A&H staff members facilitate artist selection and manage fabrication, installation, and maintenance of every piece. The public is involved in the process of creating the art—citizens serve on art selection panels and offer public comment on artists’ proposals and in turn have a direct impact on the growth and development of the City. The Department of Arts & History seeks to make Boise a national leader in public art. Boise is proud to be among the very few cities in the country with a dedicated City department committed to advancing arts and history. Creation of the Department was only the beginning of a movement to catalyze efforts to enter Boise into the greater arts dialogue. In addition to the sizable Percent-For-Art portfolio, A&H staff members manage public art projects on behalf of Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC) and public, private and community organizations for original public art, all contributing to overwhelmingly positive perceptions of the vibrancy of Idaho’s capital city.


Public Art Collections


PUBLIC ART

Number in Collection: 136

Funding Sources: Percent-for-Art, Department of Public Works, Department of Parks and Recreation, Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC), Energize Our Neighborhoods and the Neighborhood Investment Program of City of Boise Planning and Development Services

Cost/ Cost Range: $0 - $200,000+

Collection Description:
Boise's Remarkable and diverse collection of Public Art is valued at over $5 Million and is growing each year. To date, local artists are the primary focus and represent a majority of the collection. The works range in budget, lifespan, size and materials. The Outdoor Collection features a variety of artists from many locations as well as cultural and professional backgrounds.

TRAFFIC BOXES

Number in Collection: 167

Funding Sources: Percent-for-Art Fund, Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC), Neighborhood Investment Program (NIP), Downtown Boise Association (DBA), the Energize Our Neighborhood Program

Cost/ Cost Range: $1,000 - $2,500

Collection Description:
Boise’s pioneering and transformative Traffic Box project challenges emerging artists and established professionals to “wrap” the nondescript utilitarian devices that control our streetlights. In partnership with Ada County Highway District, Capitol City Development Corporation, the Neighborhood Associations and Planning and Development Services, A&H commissions illustrations, paintings, digitally designed images, quilts, mosaics, photographs and even photos of sculptures to add a vibrant and unexpected twist to the street corners and intersections of the City of Boise. Take a moment to look at our interactive map!

BOISE VISUAL CHRONICAL (BVC)

Number in Collection: 214

Funding Sources: Percent Fund, Donations

Cost/ Cost Range: $0 - $5,000

Collection Description:
The Boise Visual Chronicle (BVC) is a city-owned, interior collection of two and three-dimensional works of art ranging in media from paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures and other works which depict life in Boise, elements of the Boisean culture, and create narratives that reflect historic and contemporary values of Boise. The collection provides a rich visual document of Boise’s changing landscape, people and perspectives. The BVC also forms a unique portrait of the artistic vitality and evolving representations of artists in the region. With original funding from the Greater Boise Auditorium District and Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC), additional works are acquired or commissioned and funded by Boise City with the Percent-for-Art fund. Works from the collection are exhibited throughout City owned facilities including Boise City’s Library branches, Boise City Halls, and the Boise Airport. Every year, the Public Art Program Team makes a coordinated effort to rotate the collection.

PORTABLE WORKS

Number in Collection: 68

Funding Sources: Percent Fund, Donations

Cost/ Cost Range: $0 - $5,000

Collection Description:
The City’s curated Portable Works collection encompasses an array of media: painting, mixed media, assemblage, sculpture, digital art, photography and printmaking. These original artworks are produced by emerging and established artists and are exhibited primarily in public areas of municipal buildings such as Boise City’s Libraries, Boise City Hall, and the Boise Airport. Every year, the Public Art Program Team makes a coordinated effort to rotate the collection.


WHAT'S NEXT ?

With an upsurge in capital construction, an unprecedented expansion of the Public Art collection is set for 2018 – with 20+ new projects and 18 new traffic boxes. Look for public art at the James Castle House, on Vista Avenue, the new Gorongosa Exhibit at Zoo Boise, the Downtown Main Street Transit Station, temporary projects during Treefort Music Fest, for new Fire Stations 4 & 9, and various other locations throughout the City.


BE A PART OF THE ACTION


INQUIRE

Staff of the Public Art Program will always make time to discuss questions, concerns and comments regarding projects, process and ideas. Please contact Catina Crum.

APPLY FOR PROJECTS

The program hosts a variety of types and levels of projects with offerings that cater to both emerging level artists and well-established artists working in the public realm. Visit our Opportunities page to learn more about current projects.

COMMISSION ARTISTS

Private developers are encouraged to commission and fund artists to create and install public art within new construction projects or on privately owned property. Collectors, philanthropists, and developers seeking to connect with Boise artists, please contact Karl LeClair for consultation or direction.

REPORT VANDALISM

Notice a sticker or tag on a public artwork? Please notify the Cultural Asset Program Manager Josh Olson or Annie Murphy, Cultural Asset Program Assistant, so we may quickly remedy the damage.