Arts & Culture » Visual Art

Amy Westover's 'You Are Here' Sculpture, Years in the Making, Is Finally Installed at Boise Centre East

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WARREN LASSEN
  • Warren Lassen
"You can take the person from the place, but you can never really take the place out of the person," Idaho artist Amy Westover told a crowd of family and friends at Boise Centre East on Feb. 7, standing in front of her newly unveiled, wall-sized sculpture of the City of Trees.

At first glance, the sculpture is clearly a landscape. Made from 1,036 pieces of kiln-formed and water jet-cut glass, it's based largely on 20th-century aerial maps of Boise and shows an overhead view of the City of Trees framed by farmland, foothills and mountains. But Westover described it contrarily as a self-portrait, pulled from her memories of growing up in the Boise before moving to nearby Buhl a few years ago.

"The city, the landscape, the river...It's in my bones and in my heart," she said.

- Amy Westover spoke at the unveiling of her sculpture, "You Are Here," on First Thursday. - LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
  • Amy Westover spoke at the unveiling of her sculpture, "You Are Here," on First Thursday.
For months, it was also in her house. The Greater Boise Auditorium District Board of Directors first commissioned Westover's "You Are Here" in August of 2017 to celebrate the expansion of the Boise Centre, so for the last year and a half, giant pieces of colorful glass meant for the project have colonized Westover's home.

"It certainly maxed out my studio space and a good portion of our house," she said, adding that as the months wore on the glass filled her family's shipping container storage spaces and their vehicles, too. It was nerve-racking to transport and store, and made life a bit difficult for Westover's husband, self-described "blue collar artist" Jay Blackhurst, and their 10-year-old daughter Tesla.



The family handled it well, though, and every member pitched in on the project. When installation began in December of 2018, Westover and Blackhurst often brought Tesla along to the Centre to watch as they mounted glass panes on the wall. By the time they finished months later, the Centre's staff had offered the mature little girl a job—"in a few years," as Westover put it.

"In the beginning, we start out with a space shuttle and we end up with a wheelbarrow," Blackhurst said when he took the podium, poking fun at his wife's grand artistic vision.

"We say that all the time," Westover chimed in. "When you get to the wheelbarrow, you've really got something."

Though the saying makes sense when it comes to shrinking a house full of glass to a single sculpture, at a mammoth 29 feet long, "You Are Here" just might have to remain at space shuttle status.

Those looking to visit the colorful, neon LED-lit piece can find in on Boise Center East's second floor, just right of the escalators. For a behind-the-scenes look at Westover's process, check out the video below.