Eco Art Series
on 8th Street
CCDC invests in public art and cultural programs in downtown Boise as an economic development strategy, guided by the 2002 Cultural Investments Policy and the 2007 Downtown Arts & Culture Plan. Most of the agency’s cultural investments have been made through its partnership with the Boise City, with the Department of Arts and History providing administrative and management services. The EcoArt Project is one of these partnerships.
In 2010, CCDC embarked on a concept planning process for 8th Street between Main Street and the Boise River. The purpose was to take a wholistic view of this important pedestrian-oriented street that runs from the State Capitol to the river and links together the downtown business core, 8th Street Café District, The Grove Plaza, BoDo and the Cultural District. This process generated a variety of ideas about how to enhance this street to create a unique ambience, liveliness and synergy. One of the ideas that emerged was to invest in public art having an ecological focus.
The EcoArt Project consists of three large-scale environmental artworks along 8th Street as suggested in the 8th Street Concept Plan. The design concept for each artwork are illustrated below and can also be found on the Public Art page.
“Heliotrope,” proposed at the north entrance to Grove Plaza, will literally “green the Grove.” The project features a 16’ high steel structure that mimics the skeletal structure of a plant. It is heliocentric and composed of hyperparabolic (compound curvature) geometry. The trellis will be planted with a variety of vines and climbers providing seasonal effects. Four to six feet in diameter at its base, the canopy is elliptical in plan and asymmetrical to its base. The work shows relationships between geometry and natural plant forms, provides a habitable north gateway to the Grove Plaza, a comfortable microclimate, a respite from harsh sun, a partial shelter from rain or snow and a hanging garden that demonstrates stormwater reuse.
“Virgo” celebrates the constellations of the autumnal equinox, and an awareness of the seasonal cycles governed by the movement of the sun, stars and moon. The work lies in the ground plane at the plazas at 8th and Front streets, and across Front at the entrance to the Grove. It consists of steel engraved discs inset into the brick pavers representing the brightest stars of the constellations that might be visible on the autumnal equinox if Boise was “dark-sky friendly,” with no light pollution. Lines connecting the constellations are sawn into the pavement. The focus constellation is Virgo, associated with fertilitily and the autumn harvest. The project increases awareness of the night sky, connecting modern humans to our ancestors, and reminds us of our responsibilities as stewards of the earth.
“Litharacnium” is a 20’ high steel sculpture at 8th and Broad streets designed to build awareness of natural ecosystems and the way humans impact the environment. Idaho is far from the ocean now, but 100 million years ago it was underwater. Litharacnium is a microscopic zooplankton, a single-celled marine animal. Tiny plankton in a myriad of forms underpin the oceanic food chain, provide 50% of the world’s oxygen through photosynthesis, and play an essential role in the global carbon cycle.