Idaho artists fail to qualify in Boise City Hall art contest

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- A City of Boise selection committee has nailed down three finalists in the nationwide competition to design a $200,000 large scale piece of art for the front of Boise City Hall -- and none of them is from Idaho.

"Fifty-four people applied, and there were five Idaho artists among those," said Karen Bubb, the city's public art manager. "But none of them had done projects over $50,000, so they had not done work on the scale we're looking for."

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. After all, the City of Boise's embrace of public art came relatively late.

It may be hard to imagine now but the first piece of public art ever commissioned by the city was in 1978. Called "North By Northwest" and created by a California artist, it was placed at city hall.

It wasn't very popular and in 1990, and it was removed from city hall property and brought to the Boise Art Museum in Julia Davis Park.

Now there are some 150 pieces of public art in the city, Bubb says.

By the way, this large-scale artwork is not being commissioned on a whim.

City Hall Plaza is leaking water into the parking garage below, so the entire plaza will be remodeled. The water fountain and state flags will also be removed.

It will be interesting to see what takes their place.