Boise’s public art scene booms

A dozen new works are being installed this year; the public can comment now on two

cmsewell@idahostatesman.comMay 14, 2013 

The city of Boise is preparing to select artists for three major public art projects: A large-scale sculpture for the soon-to-be-revamped plaza in front of City Hall and two pieces for the Boise Airport, one in the ticketing area, the other on a pedestrian bridge.

To select the artists, a city committee narrowed the applicant pool and then put selected artists’ proposals out for public comment. Public opinion will be one factor in the final selection; the chosen artists will have several hurdles to jump before the Boise City Council gives final approval.

The City Hall plaza and Boise Airport ticketing area mural proposals are out for public review now. The Boise Airport pedestrian bridge proposals will be available June 19.


In conjunction with the Boise City Hall plaza renovation, the city is commissioning a large-scale outdoor sculpture. The project’s budget is $200,000, with half coming from the Capital City Development Corp. and half from the City Percent for Art program.

After receiving 54 proposals from artists around the country, a panel of city and community representatives selected three finalists. Their proposals are on display in the City Hall lobby and online for public comment until May 28. The project is slated for installation next year.

1. “Boise Globe” by Volkan Alkanoglu, Atlanta, Ga.: A sphere with 1,500 aluminum flaps. A hundred or so Boise cultural references would be engraved on some of the flaps.

2. “Eyrie” by Re:Site with Metalab, Houston: Stainless steel swirling form with reflective bands elevated above the plaza.

3. “Brilliant” by Actual Size Artworks, Stoughton, Wis.: Stainless steel tree with its branches encasing a glass gemstone.


The city is commissioning a $30,000 mural commemorating Boise’s Sesquicentennial for the airport’s ticketing lobby. Four proposals by three Boise-area finalists are on display in the airport’s ­second-floor lobby and online for public comment until May 20. The mural will be installed this fall.


On June 19, the city will offer for public comment three proposals for art for the pedestrian bridge to be installed next year.

The three finalists for the $50,000 Boise Airport Percent for Art project are Seth Palmiter, Vermont; Phil Daniel, Minnesota; and ­Urban Rock Design, Los Angeles.


Since 1985, Boise’s public art program has employed 85 Idaho artists and 15 from other states as well as numerous subcontractors such as metal fabricators, sign makers, electricians and engineers, according to Karen Bubb, the city’s public art manager.

Under the city’s Percent for Art program, created in 2001, 1.4 percent of the construction costs of city projects is set aside for public art.

Boise’s public art collection is valued at nearly $3.5 million. The city has 94 permanent works and 57 traffic boxes, which are considered temporary works.

Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @CynthiaSewell

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