Boise Mayor David Bieter was recently joined by city council, participating artists, and community partners in celebrating the grand opening of the newly completed Boise WaterShed River Campus. The two-acre complex is being recognized as the largest concentration of public art in Idaho.
Designed and planned by a team of artists, engineers, and educators, this unique educational and cultural destination tells the story of the Boise River watershed through public art, landscaping, water features and interactive exhibits. The park-like setting allows visitors to discover water’s many roles in cities and agricultural areas and how citizens can protect and conserve these resources for the future.
“The Boise River is an integral part of who we are as a community – it’s one of the things that makes Boise so special,” said Mayor Bieter. “By educating future generations on the vital importance of our water, we can help give our community a view of just how important this precious resource is to our community and its sense of itself.”
Located at the West Boise Water Renewal Facility (formerly referred to as the Wastewater Treatment Facility), the $3.1 million dollar project was funded by the City of Boise’s Department of Public Works, Department of Arts & History and the Percent for Art Program, and Boise WaterShed Exhibits, Inc. As part of the larger Environmental Education Center, the Boise WaterShed River Campus will help promote water stewardship through free tours, hands-on education, and year-round programming. Inside the newly renovated exhibit hall, visitors will find over 30 engaging and innovative exhibits. In 2016 alone, the Boise Watershed provided education to nearly 23,000 Treasure Valley residents, many of which were school-aged children.
The public art was completed by 14 local artists and tells the story of the Boise River, from the headwaters in high mountain streams, to Lucky Peak Reservoir, flowing through Boise and downstream communities, before eventually joining the Snake River.
“Public Art is something that every community should cherish. This project represented the best of collaboration, bringing together a diverse team, leveraging art and science to really achieve something special,” said Boise Arts & History Director Terri Schorzman.
By positioning the education center at the West Boise Water Renewal Facility, city leaders and partners hope to engage residents in the process of where their water comes from and what happens after it goes down their drain or after they flush. The exhibits focus on capturing and reusing resources and putting it back into the river clean.
“For too long, treatment of used water has been considered out of sight, out of mind,” said Boise Public Works Director Steve Burgos. “These exhibits will help us change the way we talk about our resources, how we manage them, and the ownership that we must all feel in ensuring they are here for future generations.”
The public is invited to experience the Boise WaterShed River Campus and Education Center on Saturday, April 15 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. for a free event with games, food and guided tours.
The Boise WaterShed is a public/private partnership between the City of Boise, and the nonprofit organization, Boise WaterShed Exhibits, Inc.