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  • Writer's pictureJenna King


There is no need to step inside a museum to enjoy art in Boise. You can find more than 800 pieces of public art pieces scattered around the City of Trees, from the innovative Traffic Box project wraps to towering sculptures. Now is the perfect time to take a stroll through the streets of Boise to enjoy the gorgeous Spring weather while admiring works from local artists. I’ve created an art walk through downtown Boise that will take you by some of the more famous public installations.

If you’re looking for the perfect photo spot, then you’ll want to swing by the Seated Lincoln statue in Julia Davis Park. The 9-foot high bronze statue weighs in at 6,500 pounds and depicts the President who signed the bill designating Idaho as a territory.

Head north up Capitol Boulevard toward the state capitol building and you’ll spot the River Sculpture carved into a wall of the Grove Hotel. Meant to emulate the series of canals that were discovered under the streets of Boise, the artist, Alison Sky, first created the sculpture using granite, aluminum, fog, and neon lights. The iconic piece of artwork recently underwent a renovation to replace the existing materials with new ones that will withstand the elements longer.

Wander past the River Sculpture to the Cottonwoods, seven soaring steel structures that are meant to represent the trees lining the Boise River. The Cottonwoods, created by Dwaine Carver and Zachary Hill, were a part of the City Hall Plaza’s 2018 remodel. Whether you take them in with a quick driveby or explore them the way they were created to be by wandering among the lofty installation.

Freak Alley Gallery in Boise is a must-see for visitors and residents. While the artwork in Freak Alley rotates often, there is one piece that always remains to serve as a cornerstone of the outdoor gallery. Created by Kerry Moosman in 1992, Alley History is a collection of ceramic tiles collaged with hand-painted signage that represents the culturally diverse history of Idaho.

Perhaps best viewed at night, Grove Street Illuminated and Boise Canal are two installations that serve as a “gateway” to the city’s Greater Boise Auditorium District. The three large rings that illuminate at night are a reference to the cycles of time and how Grove Street has evolved. While the ten “manhole” covers are a call to the underground canal that runs under the street.

Next, you’ll want to turn your steps to the west and the Bike Trio installation next to the Linen Building. This is the most interactive art on the tour! Hop onto one of the three bikes lining the sidewalk and take a ride. While you won’t actually travel anywhere, your peddling will instead activate and play mechanical instruments located within the columns that the bikes are attached to. You and your walking buddies (or grab some strangers on the street!) can make beautiful music together with some imagination and exercise.

The last stop on the walking tour is the Rhodes Sculpture Land. Installed in 2017, this funky, fun signage was installed when Rhodes Skate Park was overhauled. Not only will you get to view the oversized letters and bright colors of the sculpture, but you’ll also get to catch some skaters practicing their skills at the 1.28-acre park.

I hope you enjoy that art walk through downtown Boise! Consider this a starting point to the numerous other public art displays there are to explore.

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