Art at the Library

Photo by Heather Roe.  Selection from Ustick Dreaming, by Judy Gorsuch Collins, Library! at Cole & UstickPublic art can be found in all five of our libraries, and was included as part of the design process for the branch libraries under Boise's "percent for art program," managed by Boise's Department of Arts & History.  

The Main Library has a variety of art pieces and photographs on view, and the lobby areas in the Cole & Ustick, and Bown Crossing libraries host rotating display from various artists. Arrangements for gallery displays are handled by the Department of Arts & History.

Public Art

Main Library

  • Natural Bridge - 1994, by David Berry. This rock-like steel sculpture references Native American petroglyphs found in remote areas of Idaho, the first “book” form. Located outside of the Library.
  • Pedals to Pages, Read & Ride - 2003, by Byron and Lynn Clercx. These functional bike racks and benches are public artworks inspired by old-style lead type used for offset printing. Located outside the Library.

Library! at Bown Crossing

  • Vox Poplar - 2017, by Janet Zweig. This interactive art piece consists of a large, sculptural, scroll of paper with a bas-relief image of Cottonwood trees carved into the face. The paper feeds into a manual typewriter, which local writers use to craft short stories, poems, and other works. The writing is inspired by suggestions and commentary from Library customers. A glass vitrine accompanies the sculpture, and provides a viewing area for the written works. Zweig's work is the result of a partnership between the Library, Boise's Department of Arts & History, and The Cabin

Library! at Cole & Ustick

  • Ustick Dreaming - 2009, by Judy Gorsuch Collins. Laminated and cast glass artworks incorporate historical photographs and symbols that celebrate the Ustick area. See video about our glass art, courtesy of Boise Department of Arts & History.

Library! at Collister

  • The Museum & Farm of Ideas - 2008, by Stephanie Bacon. Literary references are used to create the larger murals and smaller architectural accents on walls, columns, and partitions.

Library! at Hillcrest

  • Artifact - 2008, by William Lewis. This series of small paintings takes the old physical apparatuses associated with writing and printing (presses, typewriters, etc.) as its subject.

Other Art 

Main Library, First Floor

  • Readworthy Dragon: A "life-size" blue dragon made of fabric and stuffing. Commissioned by Hugh Myers, created by Beeb Balzer, and donated to the Library by Myers in the 1980s. "Readworthy" was the winning name in a dragon-naming contest held by the Library. Readworthy is often attired in seasonally appropriate garb, and is displayed in the Youth Services area.
  • Cinderella painting: Artist unknown. Donated in 2010, originally in the Carnegie Library. Located in the Hayes Auditorium.
  • Large mural: By Colleen Maloney, presented by the Junior League of Boise in 1973. Located in the Youth Services storywell.
  • Hide-Rack, hero of Glenn Balch novels: Illustration by Paul Bransom, originally for the cover of the February 1936 issue of "The Youth’s Companion Combined with American Boy." In 1958, the book was rewritten as "White Ruff" and sold over a million copies. Located in Youth Services.
  • Frieze: Plastic arts (?) by P.R. Caproni Brothers, Boston. Located in Youth Services.
  • Alice in Wonderland series: 1982 paintings by Carl Babcock and Tim Ceegan, based on the drawings by Sir John Tenniel. (Caterpillar, Mad Hatter Tea Party, The Gryphon and Mock-Turtle, Duchess Holding the Crying Baby, The White Night, The Jabberwock, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, The Walrus and the Gardener, The Knitting Sheep, Alice with the Lion and the Unicorn, Red Queen and White Queen Chess Pieces Sleeping, Queen Alice with the Old Frog.) Located in Youth Services.
  • Queen Ida: By Carl Babcock. Poster was commissioned for the Idaho State Centennial in 1990. Located near the checkout desk.
  • Rotating quilt display: Various artists, courtesy of the Boise Basin Quilters Guild. Located behind the checkout desk.
  • Welcome Home: Oil pastel on paper by Elizabeth Wolf. Donated to Boise City by Andrea and Said Ahmed-Zaid in memory of Angela Jewett Abdullah for her work with refugees. Located in the lobby area. 

 Second Floor and Stairwell

  • Library Quilt: Fabric quilt, designed by Jo Inzer with artwork by Memo Cordova. 1990s, donated (?) by Boise Peace Quilt Project. 
  • Sketch of Old Boise City Hall: Acrylic wash by John Collias. Donated by the Zonta Club in 1976. 

Third Floor

  • Andrew Carnegie: 1906 Remarque Proof No. 8 by Jacques Reich, signed by Andrew Carnegie. 
  • Bird’s Eye View of Boise City: Ada County, the Capital of Idaho. 1890, by Augustus Koch. 
  • Boise City, Principal Business Houses and Private Residences: Circa 1879. Lithograph by Charles Ostner. 
  • Glenn Balch portrait with green matted frame: Drawing by John Collias, donated by Balch Family and the Friends of the Boise Public Library in 1996.
  • Mary Hallock Foote's Idaho: Boise-area scenes from the late 1800s by Mary Hallock Foote. Donated by the Women’s Columbian Club of Boise. 
  • Old maps prints: Idaho 1894, Indexed Atlas of the World. Johnson’s Nebraska, Dakota, Idaho, and Montana, 1865. New Map of the State of California, the Territories of Oregon, Washington, Utah, and New Mexico, 1854. Territory of Idaho, 1879 (U.S. Department of the Interior). United States / Pacific States, 1867 (shows Idaho boundaries that never existed). Western States, 1885 (Stieler’s Hand Atlas).
  • Sketch of Carnegie Library Building: Acrylic wash by John Collias. Donated by the Zonta Club in 1976. 
  • Title unknown: 1996 pastel by Susan M. Hughes. 
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