Walk Downtown Boise’s streets this time of year, and you’ll find a city decked out with scenes of good cheer on the windows of many businesses.
From whimsical gingerbread men to elegant icicles and tidings of joy, the seasonal images are the creations of local artists and presented by the Downtown Boise Association’s 10th annual “Winter Window Gallery.”
This year, there are 23 decorated windows in a friendly competition for your votes. (Note: Not all of the decorated windows Downtown are a part of the official DBA gallery.)
How to vote ▪ Go to the DBA’s Facebook page and click “Like” on the photo of your favorite window.
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The project started in 2006 as part of the DBA’s “Christmas in the City,” which promotes Downtown retail and dining during the holidays and even brings a Santa to the mix.
The first years of the gallery were produced in collaboration with the then-Boise City Arts Commission (now named the Department of Arts and History). The commission found the artists.
But over the years, the DBA took it on as a solo project and now does the work of booking the artists for its business members, paying the artists and providing the prizes. Artists win $75, $50 and $25 Downtown gift certificates for first, second and third place.
“It’s such a gift to not have to do all the leg work for (each) job,” says artist Julie Rumsey.
Rumsey, whose business is Julie Art Window Painting, has participated in the annual event since it started in 2006.
With four of her windows in the competition, the challenge is to make each of them different, Rumsey says.
Sign painter and graphic artist Brian McCarthy moved to Boise two years ago. He works with Red Feather Lounge and Bittercreek Alehouse doing graphics and signage. This is the second year he has taken on windows in the DBA’s program.
This year he felt inspired to spread some “Love” for the season.
“Call me sentimental, call me corny, but I thought that the world is so terrible right now and the social and political climate is so negative,” McCarthy says. “I wanted to create something that made people happy. I thought the word ‘Love’ very large might be uplifting and a way to combat the negativity.”
The windows enliven Downtown Boise, and, with the city’s many glittering lights, help set the right mood for the season.
“I don’t know of any other place that does windows like we do here in Boise,” Rumsey says. “It’s really about adding cheer to the community for the holiday.”