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The Capital City Public Market »« Old Boise Penitentiary

Freak Alley and Boise’s Public Art

Check Out The Street Art In Buenos Aires

When you think of “Boise”, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t a thriving public art scene. But perhaps it should be. On almost every corner of the city, hidden in alleys, plastered across electrical boxes and even engraved in sidewalks, fascinating artwork can be found. There are bold, unmissable sculptures and paintings, but also subtle pieces which you might not even notice unless looking for them.

Public-Art-Idaho

We took a tour of Boise’s public art, starting in the aptly-named Freak Alley between Bannock and Idaho Streets. Graffiti is a part of life in any city worth its salt, but usually it’s not all collected in one place. Boise decided to give the city’s street artists a huge canvas to play on, and the result is an open-air gallery of some exciting work. Although the artists have to apply for permits to work here — an act of buerocratic compliance not often seen in the anarchic world of graffiti — they’re given free rein. One of the more striking works features a blood-thirsty Uncle Sam ripping the heart out of a US soldier; a piece of political agitprop that I can’t imagine the city fathers are thrilled about.

Freak Alley houses the most visible of Boise’s public art, but there’s much more to be found throughout the city. Artists were commissioned not just from Idaho, but from all around the country. Look at the bus stands, which have been individually designed in modern patterns. Or the electrical boxes all around Boise: each one has a different painting wrapped around it.

On 9th and Idaho, look at the ground; there’s a string of leaves etched into the concrete, leading from tree to tree. At Grove Plaza, take a second glance at the statue of herons fishing in the river; if you get on your knees, you’ll find something hiding in a log. On Grove and 9th, there’s a wonderful tribute to the city’s canals which glows green at night. And nearby, a series of streetlamps contain miniature robots which play music as pedestrians pass by.

Idaho-Spud-Tile-Art
Alley History by Kerry Moosman

Upside-down trouts, disembodied bear heads, multi-paneled postcards, a gold prospector made of barbed wire… we saw a lot of fun art during our tour. Perhaps my favorite was a piece called Alley History, by Kerry Moosman. This giant mural on the 9th Street Alley between Bannock and Idaho combines old street signs, ceramics, Chinese calligraphy and more in a wonderful tribute to the city’s history.

Boise’s commitment to the arts is amazing. I always made sure to keep my eyes open while walking the streets of the capital, and spotting new art became almost like a game. It can be found everywhere, and life in the city is undeniably better for it.

-Graffiti Art Books

Art-In-The-City
Art-Walk-Boise
Art-Clown
Dancing-Star-Boise.
Homeless-Graffiti
Let-Us-Die-Young
9th-Street-Boise
Boise-Killer
Captain-America
Dinos Idaho
Dirty-Sanchez
Fish-Graffiti
Foam-Art
Freak-Alley-Boise-Idaho
Get-Weird-Boise
Hapiness-Is-Spoken-Here
Holy-Wolf
MeatBag
Screaming-Pole-Boise
Urban-Art-Idaho
Snow-White-Evil
Idaho-Native-American-Tiles
Jimi-Hendrix-Art
Mirror-Art-Boise
Tiled-Floor-Boise
Tresor-Door
Tubes-Boise
Art-In-Boise
B-For-Boise
Boise-Bears
Red-Iron-Boise
Sculptures-Boise-Idaho
USA-Kranich
Uch-Ros
Marble-Player-Statue
Leave-Walk
Noise-Lamp
Gold-Washing-Boise
Small-Town-Boise
Electro-Box-Art
Boise-Stage
Girl-Band-Boise
Deer-Bus-Stop-Idaho
CCC-Art-Boise
Boise-Plant
Boise-Postcard
Egyptian-Theater-Boise
Egyptian-Theater-Boise-Idaho

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January 7, 2013 at 7:57 am
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