Boise is about to get Idaho’s first on-street mural. The colorful geometric mural by artist Jason Keeble will be painted directly onto the intersection of Eighth and Fulton streets in Downtown Boise’s Cultural District.
The intersection is at the core of Boise’s most creative areas. It’s steps away from the campuses for Ballet Idaho, Boise Philharmonic and Opera Idaho on one side and the Boise Art Museum and Idaho State Museum on the other.
As Keeble and his team work from Wednesday, Aug. 15, through Friday, Aug. 17, the intersection will be closed to traffic.
Keeble has done other public and private art pieces through Trademark, a Boise-based design, branding and fabrication company he co-owns, but this is his first solo project.
His design pays homage to the closeness to natural environment found in Boise with vivid colors of blue and green.
“The trees, the sky, the water and the trees again,” Keeble says. “It’s all right here.”
This kind of mural painted directly on a street has been done in a handful of places in the country, most recently on New York City’s Doyers Street where artist Chen Dongfan painted a 200-foot long mural on one of New York’s Chinatown’s most infamous streets.
But this will be the first in Ada County, says Jennifer Yribar of the Boise Department of Arts and History. The department is working with Capital City Development Corporation on the $8,000 pilot project to see how this kind of public art enlivens an area and engages the community.
It’s a collaboration with Ada County Highway District, the second for the city. The city’s popular Traffic Box Mural program that wraps signal boxes with an artwork transferred to a vinyl warp, is a collaboration with Downtown Boise Association and ACHD.
The mural also is an experiment. It’s scheduled to be in place for one year but no one really knows how the wear and tear from cars and the weather will affect the paint.
The process putting this together with the two agencies has been more complicated than Keeble anticipated. There are a lot of unknowns and meeting Federal Highway Administration standards proved challenging.
The choice of paint also took time to figure out. It had to be non-reflective and be approved by ACHD.
“I had to stay away from reds and yellows, and any kind of design that would make people think it’s directional,” Keeble says.
He settled on Sherwin Williams’ heavy water-based concrete stain rather than oil-based paint because of drying time.
Keeble plans to degrease the surface, and paint it a solid gray so colors will pop. Then he will roll the street with thick coats of concrete stain. Drying time will be the key. Some colors need longer to dry that others, but each section will need at least 12 hours to dry.