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Arts & Culture

Wanted: Idaho Artists

Volkan Alkanoglu Design

Boise is looking for artists to create the city’s first sculpture on a traffic roundabout. The Department of Arts and History is accepting proposals for a project at the new 30th Street extension.

If selected, the artist will be paid $30,000 through a neighborhood reinvestment grant.  

Public art manager Karen Bubb says once the proposal period is over, a neighborhood panel will select finalists. At that stage, members of the public will be asked for input – and then the panel will make the final decision.

But Bubb’s department has taken some heat recently about this proposal process. Today is the last day for the public to comment on the finalists for a sculpture project that will replace the fountain in front of City Hall. Some people question why none of the finalists for this $200,000 project are Idaho natives.

Bubb explains that when a project is worth more than $25,000, it needs to go through a national bidding process. In the case of City Hall, Bubb says one of the criteria for finalists was previous experience with a project of that scale. She said none of the Idaho artists had the resume they were looking for.

But Bubb is hopeful with the roundabout project, an Idaho artist could be selected.

“A project of this scale – which is $30,000 – is well within the range of many Idaho artists," says Bubb. "And even if you haven’t done a project previously, you can put forward your application. Because this is a sculpture project, if you have sculptural experience that will contribute to supporting your criteria for this competition.”

She says the art at the roundabout will be a marker for the diverse cultural neighborhood at the 30th Street extension. Proposals will be accepted until July 13.

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