One City Block, 150 Years of Stories

Before Boise City Hall was constructed in its present location, this city block was host to a truly eclectic mix of businesses, living quarters, dark alleys, scandals, and Wild West characters. The public art installation, “Four Stories”, inspired by these distant narratives and lost buildings, gives present-day citizens a glimpse into their city’s past along with a deeper understanding of what lies beneath our modern downtown.

The shape and configuration of City Hall’s running-bond brick wall is the foundation of the piece, both literally and conceptually, and provides the backdrop on which the dimensional piece casts dynamic shadow patterns. Undulating brick-shaped frames propel shadow-casting and colored plates containing clues to the historical narratives that the construction of City Hall in 1976 was supposed to bury.

The artwork extracts four specific stories representing an historical cross-section of the site from 1881-1956: the Bohemian Brewery, the Idaho Statesman newspaper, female boarding houses (also known as ‘cribs’), and the location of Boise's first Chinatown. These stories run the gamut of the early Boise experience, representing minorities and the marginalized, entrepreneurship and journalism, recreation and reprobation.  These narrative threads, these very bricks in a foundation, are coaxed from the walls of City Hall.

 

 

"Four Stories" at Boise City Hall

Date
2016 - 2017

Located
150 N. Capitol Blvd
(Sixth Street Side)
Boise, Idaho

Client
City of Boise

Services
Public Art
Design

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"Four Stories for Boise City Hall is an excellent example of how Byron works with a limited budget and challenging site to create something of meaning and beauty appropriate for the place. Working on an existing building with a dominating monotony of form, Byron was able to design an artwork that complemented and activated the dull brick surface with cryptic but readable elements that brings the history of the site alive. Small nods using symbolic language hopefully ignite the viewers interest and encourage them to learn more about Boise’s history.”

— Karen Bubb, Cultural Planner, Boise City Dept. of Arts & History. 2018.

 

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