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Boise Gets Gateways to the Past


It seems like every time we turn around, the city is getting a sprucing up in the form of new public art--and it seems like every time that new public art appears, the artist creating the art is local retro-fave Ward Hooper.

Thanks to Boise Parks & Rec and the Boise City Arts Commission, Hooper's lovely vintage ad-styled aesthetic will grace yet another corner of Boise, in the form of two new signs on Vista and Broadway avenues, visible to freeway traffic traveling toward downtown. The two powder-coated turn-of-the-20th-century-reminiscent steel signs--a couple of nouveau Welcome to Boises at 7 and 9 feet high and a weighing in at a healthy 375 pounds each--were recently installed on medians in the two roadways.

The project was envisioned by the city clear back in 1997 but it wasn't until 2003 that the city council allocated the 25 grand required to get the signs designed, manufactured and installed. The sign on Vista features an added art element and text referring specifically to the Vista neighborhood and received additional funding from the Mayor's Neighborhood Reinvestment Grant program.

The signs are intended to be a decorative, inviting "welcome to Boise." More such cheery signage is planned for other highly traveled areas when funding for them is available.