Boise’s Basque Block has its iconic mural thanks to The Letterheads, a group of sign artists who began meeting some 40 years ago in various cities to celebrate their craft and preserve traditional sign making skills. Boise sign artist Noel Weber, whose shop Classic Design Studio on 6th Street is near the Basque Block, is one of the group’s original members.
The Letterheads have a tradition, meeting in cities across the U.S. and leaving hand-painted murals behind. Boise was the recipient of three Letterhead murals in 2000 — one at Hannifans Cigar on Main Street, one at the Adelmann Building on Idaho Street, and one on the Basque Block at the end of Grove Street.
Between 15 and 20 Letterheads worked on the Basque Block mural, completing it in just a few days, said Weber. Because the Letterheads are professional artists, there were few technical challenges in creating the oil mural, despite its considerable size, he added. He credits Letterhead Bill Hueg, a sign artist from Minnesota, as the mural “team leader.” Hueg was able to make the piece cohesive, despite its many contributors, with a brush stroke here, or a shadow there, said Weber.
Each image in the mural, which hangs on the western end of Grove Street, facing Capitol Boulevard, is significant.