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Take a Look at Newly Renovated Boise River Sculpture

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Boise's River Sculpture underwent a major facelift through much of 2014 and 2015. - KELSEY HAWES
  • Kelsey Hawes
  • Boise's River Sculpture underwent a major facelift through much of 2014 and 2015.


Motorists and pedestrians in downtown Boise noticed something old, something new, nothing borrowed and something blue this weekend.

A reinvigorated River Sculpture—one of the highest profile pieces of public art in Idaho—has been lit up at the corner of Capitol Boulevard and Front Street following a nearly two-year renovation.

Disrepair and wear-and-tear
prevented the sculpture's lights and the misting system from working since 2009, and in 2013, the city had to decide whether to repair the sculpture—commissioned in 1999—at considerable cost or rip it from its anchor in front of the Grove Hotel.

Josh Olson, the city's Cultural Asset Program Manager, likened the project to re-creating a "layer cake" of huge granite slabs from a specific quarry in Finland.

Among the multiple improvements to the River Sculpture are:
  • Installation of 140,000 one-inch glass tiles, resistant to fading, peeling or corrosion, which can be easily repaired or replaced as needed;
  • Replacement of the original neon components with LED lights, rated at 50,000 hours, which lowers the sculpture’s energy consumption;
  • Installation of a reverse osmosis water filtration system to remove damaging effects of water deposits on the sculpture;
  • Wall surface upgrades;
  • 90 percent of the existing granite slabs cleaned, retooled and reused; 
  • Restored cast glass “gems”; and
  • Fabrication of a reinforced hardware system for visual materials such as lights, granite and gems.
City officials said the sculpture will now be easier to clean and maintain while increasing the project's energy efficiency and giving the art a "modern look with more solid construction."

BOISE ARTS & HISTORY
  • Boise Arts & History