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Downtown Boise Experiencing an Art Movement... Quite Literally

When construction ramps up downtown, some high profile public art pieces will have to move


As Gardner Company officials prepare to stand before Boise's Design Review Committee Wednesday, May 7, when they'll ask for permission to move forward with plans to continue changing the city's downtown core, another important but little talked about question will also need to be addressed: What should happen to some of the public art at the Grove when Gardner's demolition of the area gets under way?

"It's my understanding that it's an inevitability," artist Dwaine Carver told Boise Weekly. "We're talking about a permanent relocation."

Carver's 16-foot-tall "Heliotrope," which he designed with Trout Architects, hasn't even stood at Eighth and Main streets for a year (it was installed in summer 2013), and already it's going to have to move.

"I have some favorite locations, but it's sort of complicated to get all of the stakeholders and property owners on board," he said. "Honestly, this is a pretty interesting backward way of doing things. I actually kind of like this problem."

But it's a problem nonetheless, and Karen Bubb, public arts manager with the Boise City Department of Arts and History, doesn't have a lot of time to solve it.

"It will be happening in May," Bubb told BW. "We're working with Dwaine to determine what's best for it."

And Bubb has a definite preference.

"This is one of three projects running along the Eighth Street corridor," she said, referring to "Litharacnium," which was recently installed at Eighth and Broad streets (BW, Arts, "Planting the Seeds," March 26, 2014) and the soon-to-be installed "Virgo" at Eighth and Front streets.

"Our preference is to keep 'Heliotrope' on Eighth Street as well, somewhere between Bannock and the Boise River," Bubb added.

And that's not all that needs to move. A red historical viewer also designed by Carver and "Keepsies," the popular bronze sculpture of children playing marbles, both currently stand in the middle of the Grove Plaza--they'll be temporarily relocated during the construction.

What's more, BW readers already know that Alive After Five organizers will soon have to determine where to relocate their summer concert series once the bulldozers move in (BW, News, "Plan B or Plan C?" Feb. 26, 2014).

Take a quick picture Boise. Things are changing... fast.