Every year since 2011, more than 80 artists have come together in the parking lot and back alley bounded by Eighth and Ninth streets between Bannock and Idaho to paint and repaint (and repaint) the aging bricks and crumbling cement in downtown Boise. On Aug. 9, artists showed up again with scaffolding, air brushes, spray paint and creative minds. Paintings range from cartoons and abstractions to realism and politically charged messages.
In August 2012, the second year of the alley transformations when the tradition was budding still, this reporter covered the event for Boise State Public Radio
, and met Colby Akers, the creator of Freak Alley Gallery. With multiple facial piercing and a facial tattoo, Colby was on a mission to curate and showcase graffiti art.
Freak Alley Gallery actually started more than a decade ago, inside a single doorway within the alley—where Akers had permission from Moon's Cafe to paint. He slowly stared acquiring permission from building owners and calling for artists to submit mural proposals.
Karen Bubb, public arts manager for the city of Boise, told Boise State Public Radio that she likes how the murals change every year.
"I think it's a sign of vitality for the arts scene in Boise," Bubb said. "It's like breathing in some ways. It's fresh again."
Today, the alley is a collective, with local artists like Tony Caprai
splashing paint over the murals from last year. His artwork often features scenes of Boise at night, and this mural was no different. Next year, it'll change again.