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Public art honoring Central Addition history coming to Broad Street in 2021

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City Council Tuesday with Margaret Carmel

A new public art piece is coming to Broad Street next summer. 

On Tuesday, Boise City Council approved a contract to use $75,000 in urban renewal funds from Capital City Development Corporation to construct a public art project in the Central Addition. The project, set to be installed in summer 2021, consists of two sculptures on the corner of Broad Street at the intersections of 5th and 6th streets. 

[Name picked for new downtown park, but agency decides to try again; art concepts revealed]

The steel sculptures will be installed on the sidewalk and feature historic information about the businesses and trades that used to be in the area. Boise’s Arts & History Department said the goal for the project is to “to celebrate and remember the history and the people of the Central Addition,” a memo to Mayor Lauren McLean said. 

History erased

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The Central Addition was one of Boise’s earliest residential neighborhoods, but is now mostly parking lots or modern buildings. Boise’s Public Works Department designated it the city’s first LIV district in 2017, which means it has extensive environmentally friendly infrastructure pre-installed in the hopes of luring development to this section of the downtown core as the city grows. 

“The sculptural forms serve as entry bookends to the block and feature historic interpretive information focusing on past businesses, places, people, and occupations that have since been erased from the physical realm of the Central Addition,” the memo said. 

CCDC planned to fund a public art project in the district in 2017, and selected Chicago-based art firm Krivanek + Breaux last year. $60,000 is for the artist contract and $15,000 is budgeted for a contractor to install the sculptures. 

Multiple proposals

Public art staff did presentations to the Central Addition Stakeholder group in 2017 and 2018 and a sub-committee formed to work on public art projects for the area. The stakeholder group released a request for proposals searching for an artist in 2018 and requested a project for the area to bring visitors into the block and focus on the “almost total loss of the historic fabric of the place.”

In 2018, a selection committee of the Central Addition Stakeholder sub-committee focused on public art, CCDC, Boise’s Art’s & History Commission, Boise’s Arts and History advisory team and Boise’s Public Works staff selected Krivanek + Breaux to complete the project. Matt Grover, a Boise-based artist who has installed a piece at the Boise Water Shed, was a finalist, but not selected. 

Krivanek + Breaux submitted two designs to the selection committee in early 2020, but after three weeks of public feedback and review, they were rejected. The firm returned later in the year with three new concepts that were more favorably received.

Margaret Carmel
Margaret is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at margaret@boisedev.com or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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