Letters to the editor-04-19-2013

April 19, 2013 

Eyes, heart tell the story

Public Art selected for Boise, and the Emperor Who Had No Clothes. One is a true story and the other is a fairy tale. Advice to the Visual Arts Committee, Arts and History Commission, the Capital City Development Corp and the City Council as they approve the next public art piece for City Hall. Believe your eyes and your heart and not the people selling it to you. Tim Woodward, you said it very well, as usual!


A fitting sculpture

While I am a Tim Woodward fan, and I am quick to agree that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," I wanted to go on record saying that since moving to Boise more than six years ago, my husband and I have always enjoyed the "River Sculpture" by Alison Sky on the Grove Hotel at Front Street and Capitol Boulevard. We know it's a bit faded and that we've never seen it at its best, but still, we think it's a fine piece of art. And whether we view it by daylight or when it's lit up at night, we are always glad it is there.


Learn from the process

We should all have opinions about public art but before a columnist goes on a rant, it would be good if he got more information (Tim Woodward, April 14). Because of the wide range of responses that art produces, Boise City through the Department of Arts and History has developed a multiple step approval process that includes professional artists and members of the community. All meetings are open to the public.

Mr. Woodward was especially critical of an early work that fronts the Grove Hotel, which was constructed before the above mentioned procedures were in place. The artist had a much different proposal - located on an interior wall (facing the Grove). The developers of the hotel (who shared the art funding) and their representatives had opinions of their own that were adopted, i.e., change the location, add neon and vapor.

There are many projects that Mr. Woodward ignored or is unaware of that have been built, which we think add greatly to the visual and cultural life of Boise.

We are happy that Mr. Woodward is planning to participate in the public selection process. He may learn that art is more than statues of people.


Art serves valued purpose

I am writing in response to Tim Woodward's article about public art. It seems to me that you, Mr. Woodward, enjoy art in a very literal way: bronze statue of kids playing marbles, or one of Lincoln. When I'm trying to write, I write in a very literal, uninspired way. But, I'm guessing, as a writer you strive to put the perfect words together in a way that transport us or evoke a feeling when some very ordinary words could have told the same story. Art is like that for some of us.

I love it when I fly into Boise and see the neon wings reaching out to me - I know I'm home. I love it when a shape changes and morphs as you walk by creating the unexpected - not just the back of the head as expected. Art is not merely a reflection of what's happened in our past. It's supposed to push us, make us question or just make us feel happy seeing two perfectly juxtaposed colors. Boise's public art gives us a sense of place that no other city has and we each experience it in a different way ... not just the way you do.


Commentary was limited

Tim Woodward's sadly limited commentary on Boise's public art scene misses so many wonderful pieces by Idaho artists created in the last 12 years.

Some of my favorites - Penny Postcard by Mark Baltes, Reham Aarti's Cat Face Revival (at the Foothills Learning Center), The Morley Nelson Mural by Marcus Pierce, plus Francis Fox's Sprout Bench. Not to mention the hugely popular transit box wraps (by 49 local artists!) that add color and interest all over Boise.

Exposure to the arts help expand our thinking and encourages dialogue and creativity. Public art can help define a community and reveal its unique character. Studies have shown cities with public art have decreased vandalism and, surprisingly, actually retain an educated and sophisticated workforce.

A beautiful way to put it: a city with public art is a city that thinks, feels and grows.

Boise is so lucky to have Public Arts Manager Karen Bubb. She works tirelessly to advocate for local artists like myself, and involve the community every step of the way. She and the Department of Arts and History are a huge asset to Boise and should be treasured. For that I shout a loud and proud Thank You!


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