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Larger still: Huge new mural takes shape on Downtown Boise building

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Artist David Carmack Lewis keeps leaving his mark on Boise. And each time, that mark gets larger and larger.

It started with The Big Back Yard on the Watercooler. Then moved to Absence and Presence on The Fowler – which we called one of the largest in the state.

Now, Lewis’s paintbrushes will grace the Key Financial Center building with an even larger work: 11 stories tall.

“Right now the working title is Over The Valley,” he told BoiseDev during a break Friday morning. “It’s sort of a stylized look at the south fork of the Payette.”

Lewis said he drove up to the area on his last visit to Idaho when he painted the Fowler mural.

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“I love that road. It’s kind of funny, this is such a tall building. The viewpoint is looking down at the valley, even though you are looking up at the mural.”

He said Key Financial Center’s owners put out a call for artists, and he said they selected his because it left the architectural framing at each of the stories intact.

“They saw my other murals. One of the things they liked was I wanted to leave the architectural elements in place. I almost wanted it to be a window. They liked that I took that into account,” he said.

Building co-owner Scott Schoenherr said they looked at more than twenty artists and asked six to submit proposals. He said he liked the creative nature of Lewis’ proposal. He pointed to a detail in the rendering as giving the project a little something extra.

Rendering of the finished mural. Via Scott Schoenherr

“The reason he put the chair there is he wanted people to envision sitting there and looking out over this scene,” Scott Schoenherr of building owner Rafanelli-Nahas said. “I think it’s neat. You want to do something that’s more than just a landscape but has some creativity.

He started work on the project about two weeks ago. He hopes to finish by June 22nd.

“My wife is working at home with the kids. I keep telling her ‘I’ll finish as quick as I can!'”

“We have public art at all of our projects and we didn’t here and we’ve been looking to do something here – and saw a big mural like that at a meeting in Detroit a few years ago and came up with the idea based on that,” Schoenherr said.

Over The Valley is the tentative name for this mural from David Carmack Lewis. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

History and changes

The building’s owners started work on a number of exterior upgrades, including new signage for key tenant Key Bank.

The building, first built for Boise National Bank in 1963, went through a number of changes and tenants over the years. It once featured a large digital clock on the side. In the 1990s, the building saw a major revamp of the exterior, with the brick painted and the architectural frames added to break up the façades.

1960s view of the building, via Idaho State Historical Society

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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