Art isn’t just in JUMP project’s future, it’s adorning the work site

krodine@idahostatesman.comOctober 17, 2013 

Drive by the JUMP construction site at the western edge of Downtown Boise, and the screened perimeter fence calls out to you: “Uncover Your Talents.” “Surprise Yourself.” A Rube Goldberg-style contraption adorns a newly erected billboard, with images of various devices spelling out JUMP. An adjacent sign at the corner of 9th and Myrtle streets gives a less cryptic account of what the $70 million Simplot family project is all about: “Creating an environment for inspiring human potential.” Farther along the Myrtle fencing, looping shapes and the initials LLFR signal a piece by fabric artist Lisa Flowers Ross. The painted “talents” and "surprise yourself” panels were crafted by local artist Stephanie Inman.

Much more like this is yet to come, said Kathy O’Neill, community engagement director for Jack’s Urban Meeting Place, aka JUMP, a nonprofit creative center and community meeting place set for completion in 2015. One of O’Neill’s goals is to answer the question many Treasure Valley residents have: What will JUMP be, exactly?

“We’re slowly releasing what we’re all about,” she said Wednesday. “It’s such a unique project that it’s really difficult to tell people what it is.”

In a few weeks, many more fence panels around the 7.4-acre site will sprout artwork, she said. Before the project is completed in mid-2015, the whole fence will likely be adorned, she said. “JUMP is all about showcasing the creative individuals in our community” O’Neill said. Already under construction for more than a year, the project, an expression of late potato baron J.R. Simplot’s legacy, covers the area between Myrtle and Front streets and from 9th to 11th streets. Five studios encouraging varied types of creativity, from multimedia to cooking, will take up much of the 65,000-square-foot main building. A park, amphitheater and antique tractors also will grace the site. The largest piece of creative expression currently at the site is “JUMP Machine,” the billboard erected in early October at the corner of 9th and Myrtle. It was the winner among 47 entries JUMP’s billboard contest. The black-and-white billboard by Boise artist Mark Allen Campbell features a cowboy boot — a nod to Simplot’s agricultural innovations — kicking off a variety of gadgets, each ready to set the next into motion.

“I suspect there will be no shortage of (momentum) in JUMP,” Campbell said. The nonwinning designs are displayed on the Jack’s Urban Meeting Place website. Each artist received a T-shirt bearing his or her design, Simplot family spokesman David Cuoio said.

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