Walking through Rick Friesen's compact North End home and stepping into his small, light-flooded kitchen, you can hear the faint flutter of flutes begin to grow louder. As Friesen yanks on the door knob to his backyard studio, a puff of cool air and the wail of classical music exhales through the open door. But inside, things look oddly familiar--his still-life paintings depict the same living room, kitchen, even street sign that you've just passed on your way into the studio.
"Many of my pieces I actually painted looking outside of the living room window," says Friesen. "A lot of them are really influenced by the area because it's close by and convenient."
Friesen is one of 32 artists who will fling open their studio doors and welcome in strangers for the seventh annual open studios event put on by Boise Open Studios Collective Organization. From Friday, Oct. 2, to Sunday, Oct. 4, map-toting art-appreciators will caravan around town, poking their heads into various artists' studios to get an insider's look at the artistic process. Though the majority of Friesen's work is a literal interpretation of his immediate surroundings, there are still some surprises in store for BOSCO visitors. Behind Friesen's house, which backs up to McU Sports on Bogus Basin Road, he's covered the entire back alley wall with massive murals.
"I've just stared at this wall for a long time, and I've just been painting it for the last little over a year, so that I have a better view," Friesen says. "But I'm getting carried away."
Friesen painted a huge Where the Wild Things Are mural and an old-fashioned theater stage--complete with cascading red curtains and ceramic animal heads--for his neighbor to project movies on. It's quirky surprises like these that people don't stumble across in a gallery setting. BOSCO organizer and photographer April Hoff made some changes to the event this year to help facilitate more of these unique open studios experiences.
"This year, we actually changed the way we did the map," explains Hoff. "Instead of a big city map with dots and numbers ... I picked sections of town that I could fit five or six--or two or three--of the artists' little dots ... We have a girl that's up in Wilderness Ranch so she's got her own map. But that's where she is, so if you want to see her, you've got to go there."
And a good number of people have made that trek in the past, according to three-year BOSCO participant, porcelain clay sculptor Angela Kelly Neiwert. Neiwert lives in a log house up Highway 21 in Wilderness Ranch. To help guide the 30-or-so visitors who come out to Neiwert's place each year, she puts up signs along the three-mile stretch of curvy dirt road that winds up to her house.
"It's a great way to connect with the art public and really ... tell them about what inspires you," says Niewert. "It's kind of a trek up there, but it's totally worth it. Driving up in the mountains, enjoying the fall color, the fresh air."
This First Thursday, Boise Art Museum is hosting a preview of work from 25 artists involved in the 2009 open studios. From 5-8 p.m. you can admire some art, watch a looping slide show and pick up a $10 BOSCO calendar, which includes a free artists' map. For those who can't make it by BAM on Thursday and want to sample the open studios action without gassing up the car, we've compiled some downtown-centric weekend highlights. Without further ado, here's the bicyclist's guide to BOSCO.
Friday, Oct. 2:
5 p.m.: Head north on Harrison Blvd. Take a right on Brumback St. and lock up in front of 1415 N. 15th St., the home of artist Chris Long. Check out his melted wax on white silk batik paintings.
5:30 p.m.: Go south on 15th St. and make your way to 1015 N. 10th St., near O'Farrell St., where Tarmo Watia's colorful portraits will distract you for a hot minute.
6:15 p.m.: Take a short jaunt to 605 1/2 W. Hays St. No. 1, and marvel at Molly Heyn-DeVinaspre's twine-bound ceramic books.
7 p.m.: Cross State St. and head to 2405 W. Bannock St. to bask in Tricia May's tree-filled oil paintings.
Saturday, Oct. 3:
11 a.m.: Start the morning off back in the North End at 926 Heron St. to check out encaustic artist and photographer Andrea Sparrow's work.
11:30 a.m.: Bike down to 2319 N. 16th St., north of Hill Road, and take a peek at Rick Friesen's impressionistic still-lifes. Make sure to take in a tour of his mural-tastic back alley.
12:15 p.m.: Mosey over to 2118 N. 19th St., at Good St., to check out Susan Rooke's quirky, cartoonish figurative clay pieces.
12:45 p.m.: Hit Hill Road and wind around until you reach Christine Barrietua's place at 3901 W. Twilight Court. Take a gander at her found-metal and clay sculptures.
1:45 p.m.: Pedal south on Collister Road and book it down State St. to Glenwood St. Be your way into the magical realm of Garden City to check out Surel Mitchell's acrylic, mixed-media work at her studio on 212 E. 33rd St.
2:15 p.m.: Swing by Irene Deely's Woman of Steel Gallery at 3640 W. Chinden Blvd. to gape at her rad, towering metal sculptures.
Sunday, Oct. 4:
9 a.m.: This morning, bike down Warm Springs to 2044 E. Lamar Court and let Betty Maguire Hayzlett's whimsical felted wool pieces brighten your day.
9:30 a.m.: Cruise down to 1412 E. Jefferson St., near Haines St., to take a peep at John Taye's Boston School-influenced colorful figurative paintings.
10 a.m.: Pedal your way over to Linda Berberick's house at 401 S. Pierce Place, off Lewis St., to check out her quirky sculptures utilizing clay, mirrors and clocks.
10:30 a.m.: Scoot down Broadway Ave. to Front St., take a left on Capitol Blvd., then a right on Royal Blvd. Lock up in front of 1014 LaPointe St., Ste. 2, and check out work by Amber Waite and Eric Obendorf.
11:30 a.m.: Huff up Capitol Blvd. to 2023 W. Targee St. to catch a glimpse of Jerry Hendershot's current work melding "images from the early industrial age with the universality of the teapot."
Noon: Wrap things up at 2005 S. Columbus St. with a tour of Lynn Fraley's equine sculpture workspace.
See a limited BOSCO preview, including 25 artists this First Thursday, Oct. 1, 5-8 p.m., Boise Art Museum, 670, Julia Davis Dr., 208-345-8330. More info on artists and other locations to pick up maps can be found at boiseopenstudios.org.