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Arts & Culture

After Criticism, Boise Searches For An Idaho Artist

Volkan Alkanoglu Design

Boise’s arts and history department is calling – again – for artists to submit sculpture proposals for a revamped City Hall Plaza. The announcement comes after the Capital City Development Corporation [CCDC] threw out the finalists the city had previously endorsed.

During a public comment period in May, those proposals came under fire because none of the finalists were from Idaho.

As KBSX reported previously, part of the reason Idaho artists weren’t seriously considered to be finalists had to do with the competition’s criteria. The first call for artists began with a request for qualifications – and so if an artist’s resume didn’t meet those standards they weren’t considered.  Here’s how arts and history public art manager Karen Bubb explained it in May:

“We did have five local applicants, but the project is a $200,000 budget and we’re looking for an iconic significantly sized sculpture," said Bubb. "Artists had to have experience doing work that was in that budget range or had iconography that was strong. And the five artists who applied from Boise had not done works at that scale.”

According to a press release sent by Bubb's department today, this new call for artists will take a closer look at proposals -- even if an artist's qualifications may have previously disqualified them. 

The new process will start with an open “Request for Proposals, (RFP)” which will call for specific proposal concepts from any artist (or artist teams) interested in applying. This process allows for all artists to put forward their ideas, including those who have not had the experience of doing a large-scale project. Due to the budget size of the project, a national call for proposals is required. The revised criteria will provide Idaho artists another chance at receiving the commission. A workshop will be conducted for interested artists to receive information on what the City is looking for in the project. All project proposals will be displayed for public viewing in an exhibition/gallery format, with extensive opportunity for public comment. A selection panel will consider public input, interview candidates and select the concept/artist to recommend for City Council approval. The approved artist will work with the plaza design team to integrate the art into the plaza design.

The City of Boise and the CCDC are splitting the cost of the $200,000 sculpture project.