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The Center for the Visual Arts building honored by City of Boise

The Center for the Visual Arts, Allison Corona photo.

The Center for the Visual Arts building was named Best Overall Project in the 2020 Building Excellence Awards presented by the City of Boise.

Each year the city partners with Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Idaho to recognize organizations, businesses and individuals that built a new building or completed a building remodel that made Boise safer, more accessible to citizens, featured a unique design or was environmentally sustainable.

In her remarks announcing Boise State’s award, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean called the structure a “unique and gorgeous” building that “helps increase the artistic, cultural and historic value the university shares with our community.”

Located on the west end of campus along Capitol Boulevard, the Center for the Visual Arts is a work of art itself. The building brings all of the university’s visual art programs – history of art and visual culture, art metals, art education, ceramics, graphic design, illustration, photography, printmaking, sculpture, drawing and painting – together under one roof. It also features public art galleries and will soon include the World Museum, a high-tech, high-touch immersive space designed to bring virtual and experimental arts experiences to Boise State and the community.

“The site opens our community to new perspectives through design, innovation and opportunities to see art from around the world,” McLean said. “I love biking, walking and driving by this building at all times of day as it shows the impact that light has on surfaces and reminds us what a truly special place and a special university we have here in Boise.”

Center for Visual Arts, building shoot at twilight, Allison Corona photo.

Construction of the building began in May 2017 and was completed in August 2019. The facility consists of two interconnected buildings: the five-story curved limestone and glass-clad structure that serves as studio space and faculty offices, while the blue stainless steel shingle clad structure houses galleries, classrooms and administrative functions.

“The arts and humanities are vital and crucial to the success of our city, state and region now more than ever before,” said then Boise State President Bob Kustra during the May 2017 groundbreaking. “With Boise State’s STEM focus and the Center for the Visual Arts, we will position our students to meet at this intersection of the arts and technology where anything is possible.”

Under Kustra’s leadership, the university financed the $42 million building with a combination of philanthropic donations, money from the State of Idaho permanent building fund, university bonding and internally reallocated funds. The building welcomed its first students in fall 2019 and was unveiled to the public in an October 2019 ceremony presided over by current Boise State President Marlene Tromp.