by Josh Gross
Every night this week, more than 100 artists have been hard at work on 76 new murals lining the alley that runs from Eighth to Ninth streets in between Idaho and Bannock streets downtown. And though the works-in-progress have been viewable to anyone who felt an urge to stroll through the alley, the official unveiling was Saturday during The Capital City Public Market.
This is the second year for the massive mural project in this space and the 10th year that Freak Alley has seen its walls get more decorated.
Many of this year's murals were painted over existing murals from last year's project, and others have incorporated the existing murals beneath into the new ones layered on top, such as a new painting of Boise State's Coach Chris Petersen bursting through the existing mural of reggae legend Bob Marley. Some of last year's murals, such as the Jimi Hendrix mirror mosaic piece were maintained. The same team behind that piece is installing a similar mosaic of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for this year's event.
Colby Akers, the street artist who curates the space, told Boise Weekly that it is just now starting to reach the vision that he had when he began drawing in a doorway in 2002. He also said there is still a long way to go.
"This is exactly the thing I was thinking of before I knew how to make it happen," Akers said.
His ultimate vision is to get the quality up to the point where the murals will be maintained for two-year stretches before being painted over, and then to expand the gallery to neighboring walls, as the respective building owners will allow. Akers also said that because the quality is going steadily up, next year's event may be less inclusive, possibly invite-only.