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Boise City Department of Arts and History Seeks Input on Draft Cultural Master Plan

Boise City Department of Arts seeks to beautify the City of Boise

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From traffic box art to grants for local creatives, the Boise City Department of Arts and History has sought to beautify every available nook and cranny in the City of Trees and foster its creative culture. In part, it does so because Arts and History sees the arts as a gateway to making Boise more livable for residents and attractive to businesses.

Now, Arts and History is looking to the future, seeking input on its newly released Cultural Master Plan. Included in the plan is a history of public support for cultural projects; the nature of current city support, including the Percent for Art program; and its plan to keep the ball rolling with public arts and culture.

According to the plan, Boise's assets include "many established cultural organizations and facilities," "respect and engagement" of those facilities and programs, a supportive mayor and city council, and an experienced Arts and History staff that has shepherded commissions and gifts of public art.

It also highlighted what are seen as Arts and History's weaknesses, like the lack of a central arts, cultural and historical site; insufficient funds; the absence of a public archive and "overarching curatorial vision"; and decreasing contributions from corporations and foundations. Diversity among artists, administrators and staff was also identified as a weakness.

Moving forward, Arts and History will push for a revision of the 2001 Percent for Arts ordinance—its last revision was in 2009—to apply to private development. It will also attempt to centralize its organization and integrate public art into future development plans, including creating incentives for developers to incorporate or make room for public art in future projects.

The plan also calls for developing a comprehensive City Archive and Records Center, and a central cultural space for "exhibitions, workshops and public gatherings," as well as fostering cultural diversity, gathering more data on Boise's culture and creative class, and to "explore the possibility of a separate 'friends' organization" to help fund additional initiatives.

Arts and History is seeking public input on the plan, which can be viewed online. Comments may be submitted to deptofartsandhistory@cityofboise.org until Friday, June 3.