Ode to Snow

Motorcycle stuck in snow on 9th Street near Idaho Street in 1919. Man on the right is Roy Thompson. McCarty Building on the left. Photo courtesy ISHS 73-205-5

Motorcycle stuck in snow on 9th Street near Idaho Street in 1919. Man on the right is Roy Thompson. McCarty Building on the left. Photo courtesy ISHS 73-205-5

Ode to Snow
By Brandi Burns, History Program Manager

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For the Love of Boise: Traffic Box Art Wraps

 

For the Love of Boise: Traffic Box Art Wraps
by Karen Bubb, Public Arts Manager

In his book For the Love of Cities: The love affair between people and their places, Peter Kageyama asks how citizens can become more emotionally engaged with their cities. “When we love something, we cherish it; protect it; we do extraordinary things for it.”

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Hold It Local

Edmond Dantes

Edmond Dantes

Hold It Local
By Amy Fackler, Cultural Programs Manager

If you’ve ever called the City of Boise, chances are you’ve gone straight through to your intended party or you are transferred quickly to the right person. That’s because of the commitment to exemplary customer service and just the way we roll at the City.  However, we do hope that sometime when you call, your loyal civil servant on the other end of the line will need to put you on hold for just a moment. And here’s why: HOLD IT LOCAL  — “hold” music by local musicians.

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Public Art Academy

Public Art Academy

Public Art Academy by Karen Bubb, Public Arts Manager

Public art opportunities can easily intimidate even the most self-assured artists, especially  those who have never applied before. The competitive application process, developing a proposal for a specific site, and contractual issues can prove daunting. That’s why Boise’s Department of Arts & History created Public Art Academy (PAA), an eight-week course to build local artists’ skill-sets and prepare them for the challenges of public art. We are now accepting applications for twenty spots in the upcoming February/March class series.

This is the third year of the program, and thirty-eight local artists have graduated to date. The series helped some determine that public art was not something they wanted to pursue. For others, it built confidence and helped them gain an understanding of how to compete effectively. Several artists  received their first public art commissions soon after graduating from the program. Anne Peterson  received her first public art project, the 60-foot mural in the lobby of Boise Airport. She commented, “I believe the PAA was a game-changer for me, from being an applicant to actually being awarded a large public art project. The program provided knowledge concerning public art application protocol. The text (The Artist’s Guide to Public Art by Lynn Basa) is still a major source of information that I will rely on for future applications.”

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Christmas Traditions, Then & Now

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Christmas Traditions, Then & Now
By Brandi Burns, History Programs Manager

Seeing how it’s Christmas Eve, I wanted to take a look at the holiday traditions and recipes of Boise’s past. Last week on the blog we offered you the opportunity to share a family holiday photo and an accompanying story. Perhaps one of the traditions or recipes covered here will encourage you to visit that post again and submit an image and a story.

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The Good, The Bad & The Kitschy

The Good, The Bad & The Kitschy
Rachel Reichert, Community Outreach Coordinator

Everyone loves a good family photo with an equally entertaining story. We all love looking back on fabulously terrible hairstyles, matching bad holiday sweaters, and the amateur photographer’s prospective on average life. It is here where the flavor contemporary culture lies. These stories are not grand or sensational. These stories average, some quirky, some funny, some as terrible as the photograph itself.

In the spirit of bad holiday sweaters, we want to see your family holiday photo (the quirkier, the better) and hear your story. We know that finding just the right photograph can be challenging, so our staff has compiled (for inspirational purposes only) a collection of images and short stories to help rouse up those old (possibly forgotten) holiday memoires.

Your images can be shared here (photos and stories will be added to this post as they come in).

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River Street Digital History Project

River Street Digital History Project
By Amy Fackler, Cultural Programs Manager

Boise’s River Street Neighborhood is a rich microcosm of social history and critical for learning about Boise’s history, its evolution, and the present day.  The neighborhood is roughly bordered by Myrtle and River Streets (north to south), and 9th and Americana Streets (east to west).  It emerged in the 1890s when real estate speculators eyed the area for warehouses and rental properties in anticipation of the Oregon Short Line railroad’s arrival in Boise.

Between the 1890s and 1960s, the predominantly white neighborhood became home to most of Boise’s relatively small African American population.  Basque, Japanese, Eastern European immigrants and descendants, and others in the working class work force also lived in the area and built businesses. The concentration and isolation of the racially and ethnically diverse population living in the River Street Neighborhood offers a chance to explore past residents’ experiences and the role the neighborhood played in the formation of the larger Boise community.  William White—an archaeologist, archival researcher, author, and doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona—applied for and received a grant in 2014 for just this purpose.

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Public Artwork at BOI

Public Artwork at BOI
by Karen Bubb

Thanksgiving kicked off the heavy holiday travel season at Boise Airport. If you’re one of those traveling through BOI this month, take time to look at the art throughout the building. The work commissioned for this municipal airport relates to our local environment and the travel experience. In the past year, the Department of Arts & History installed two new artworks you can view before heading through security.

Along Rivers Edge, by Anne Peterson

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The Bling Isn’t Real: How Bogus Basin got Its Name

Photo courtesy of  Eve Chandler

Photo courtesy of Eve Chandler

The Bling Isn’t Real: How Bogus Basin got Its Name
By Brandi Burns, History Programs Manager

Last month I wrote about the history of the Vista Neighborhood, the place I call home. After looking at my current neighborhood, I started to wonder about other places I’ve called home. I grew up in the dredge piles of Idaho City and Centerville, but curiously, I never felt a passion for the history of Idaho gold mining. Although now that I think about it, I may have developed a mild case of Gold Fever. I was pretty eager to find a big chunk of gold all my own. When my dad took me to old mining shafts, I would peer into the darkness thinking, “If only I could go in there…I know I would find some gold.” But dad would always say no, and that would be that.

Despite this immersion in a place so heavily affected by the Gold Rush and a yearning for my own “Eureka!” moment, I missed some pretty obvious history. For example, I never stopped to wonder about the endless hills of bare rock piled on top of each other. Here a hill, there a hill, hills of stone everywhere. When I went away to college and came back though, with my newly minted bachelor’s degree in history, the plethora of rock hills hit me like a slap in the face. This is what a landscape looks like when you dredge for gold. The endless hours I spent “picking rock” washed over me—all of those rocks transforming the terrain, and for what? Every last bit of gold the miners could find.

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What is culture?

4What is culture?
 By Karen Bubb, Public Art Manager

What is culture? Where do you find culture in Boise? What Boise-based cultural experiences work? What Boise-based cultural experiences are not working? What cultural experiences would you like to see? These five questions have helped drive the conversation around Boise’s cultural planning process. So far, nearly two-hundred people have responded.

Where do you find culture in Boise?
“The Flying M. Fort Boise Community Center classes. On the street.” –response submitted through website

We have found thus far that Boiseans find culture in traditional venues such as art and history museums, theaters like the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Boise Contemporary Theater, and Botanical Gardens. They also find it in more open-ended sites like a farmer’s market, downtown alleys, neighborhoods, coffee shops, and the outdoors (Greenbelt, Foothills, and parks). Others touted  BSU, societies and clubs, festivals, and music venues as frequent locations for cultural experiences.

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