Preserving The Home Of Idaho Artist James Castle

Sep 29, 2016

The City of Boise is working to preserve the property where Idaho artist James Castle lived and worked.

Castle is known worldwide for his drawings, many of which he created in Boise from the 1930s until his death in 1977. He was deaf and used his homegrown art to communicate.

Rachel Reichert is the James Castle House Manager for Boise’s Arts and History Department. She’ll be giving a talk on Castle Thursday. She says the city is working to preserve the house and shed in the Pierce Park neighborhood where he drew pictures and landscapes for so many years.

"He is well known for working on found materials and more importantly, scraping soot from the fireplaces ... and mixing it with his saliva and creating an ink from soot and spit," says Reichert.

His found material included magazine clippings, cardboard boxes, butter wrappers and matchbooks.

Castle's home, circa 1970.
Credit Copyright James Castle Collection and Archive, L.P.

Reichert says the city bought Castle's house last year. They plan to have an artist-in-residence program, a studio on site and an exhibition space. She says preserving that space, and the shed where he created his art, is something Boise is committed to doing.

"I think it's very important for us to say that we are the home of James Castle," she says.

Reichert will hold a free talk about preserving the James Castle House Thursday night at 7 at the Boise Public Library in downtown Boise.

Boise has put together a virtual tour of Castle's house as they work to preserve it. Take the tour below: