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Just Off State Street, a Pop-up Exhibit Will Offer 2,400 Square Feet of Art

'Let's just fill it up!'


Hidden in back of the Sweet Valley Cookie Company complex on the corner of State and Lander streets is an empty storefront that has served as painter Jim Spicka's art studio all summer. The space is unconventional, but for Spika it's perfect—his friends Randy and Kam Garner own the building, and offered him use of the space until it sells. With the date of his return to Mexico looming, Spicka decided to close out his time in Boise in style by hosting a joint pop-up art show in his temporary studio.

"We've got about 2,400 square feet and just tons of blank wall space, so I said, 'Let's just fill it up!" said Spicka.

The pop-up is a tale of three painters: Spicka, a Boise artist who spent years producing splashy paintings of tropical fish and foliage in Mexico, and still winters there; Kellie Cosho, one of Boise's tentpole painters who has been turning out abstract work for more than half a century; and Tarmo Watia, who draws on his childhood in Detroit for colorful animal portraits, abstracts and still lifes. Though very different, the three are united by a mutual respect for each other's work, which made a collaborative show feel natural.

"Alive After Five" is one of Spicka's Boise-inspired pieces. - COURTESY JIM SPICKA
  • Courtesy Jim Spicka
  • "Alive After Five" is one of Spicka's Boise-inspired pieces.

Cosho said she plans to have a total of 40 pieces for sale at the show, which will pop up on Thursday, Sept. 20, from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 22, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Spicka will have 18, and he expects Watia to contribute another 25-30.

Though Spicka's art took inspiration from the tropics while he lived in Mexico, in Boise he's been "experimenting with themes more conducive to the local sensibilities," capturing iconic events like Art in the Park, the Race to Robie Creek and the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic in acrylic paint. Cosho too has seen an evolution in her style, although she'll show mostly older acrylic pieces at the pop-up, saving her newest work for BOSCO's Boise Open Studios event Friday-Sunday, Oct. 12-14.

"I have been painting for over 70 years, so I have a lot of, we'll say, 'experience,'" Kosho said with a laugh. "My works today are probably very different from what I was doing even last year. They've evolved into very abstract, very bright pieces."

With all of that space to fill, prolific, colorful paintings should be be just the ticket.