Artists celebrate Treasure Valley history with new mural series

Posted at 11:54 AM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-08 13:58:57-05

BOISE, Idaho — As new buildings pop up in downtown Boise, many business owners are hiring local artists to create one-of-a-kind murals for their new spaces.

The artists behind Sector Seventeen have been part of the Boise art scene for decades. From indoor lobby spaces and building exteriors to parking garages and Freak Alley, you can't go far in downtown Boise without seeing some of their work.

"Some come and go, some are bigger and more permanent than others, but it's just about every block," artist Hawk Sahlein said.

The artists recently completed three new murals across the Treasure Valley celebrating the past and present of Nampa, Meridian, and Boise.

The artwork along the parking garage at the Nampa Public Library celebrates the city's Hispanic roots showcasing dancers and migrant farmworkers next to a stack of books.

In downtown Meridian, a mural off Main Street shows city hall's iconic clock tower, horses, and a train, tying in the suburban town's past and present.

Adding to their long list of large murals in downtown Boise, their latest installation on the side of Murraki Salon shows a scene of the Boise foothills, native plants, vibrant colors, and an image of a Boise violinist.

"It's really cool to have the local artist connection: with us, the photographer, and the musician," Hawk Sahlein said.

Every mural has a story. Most have meaning before brush meets brick, but Sahlein leaves the message up for interpretation. Revisiting past paintings takes Sahlein back in time.

"It's kind of mile markers for my life, so I look back on a photo of a painting I did and I remember what was going on in my head, or in my life, or around town, or as a country," Sahlein said. "It really makes me think about those periods in time."

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Like most Boise natives, looking back at the last few years, he sees how the city is changing but chooses to view the growth as an opportunity for new art.

"I spent a lot of time skateboarding out and around the city and looking really hard at the city in a way that probably most people don't necessarily," Sahlein said. "I always wanted to have some part in affecting how that looks."

Now, as new projects pop up, Sahlein and his painting partners step in to help make otherwise boring buildings become a part of beautiful Boise.

"It really makes it a part of a city I love to live in," he said.