Explore the Forgotten Art in Downtown Boise’s Underground Tunnels (Gallery)
There are tunnels under Downtown Boise. Some have been closed or sealed off but there is a main walkway underground with a lot of off shoots hallways, storage areas secure areas, offices a café and more. The underground tunnels are mostly used by government and state employees. The tunnels go under streets, sidewalks and buildings mostly in and around the capitol in downtown Boise. Being friends with a well respected Idaho employee allowed me official granted access to explore these tunnels and what is hiding from the public eye.
I took a trip in the tunnels a few months ago and was astonished by the old paintings and mini murals that lined the walls. I only had snapped a couple of pictures the first time around but went back this week and took photos of all of them along with closer shots of the artists names and dates. Most of the original paintings are dated from 1986, 1987, and 1988. There is a 1992 one in there too along with a few newer ones from 2012. The original art has been hiding from the public in these underground tunnels for close to 35 years. I felt drawn to share them and hopefully get a few stories from the artists. If you are one of the artists, or know one of the artists please reach out to me with the feedback box below.
What I have been told so far is that they were done by high school students. There have been rumors that when the capitol went through its renovations that the tunnel was also going to be renovated and that these would be painted over. I am personally happy that that did not happen and that the original paintings are still there. If state officials want to put up new murals that's great, there are still plenty of blank space. I love that the history of these murals -for now- has been preserved. Don't get me wrong most of the art there isn't monumental, after all it was done by high school students, but it tells a story and holds some history.
Take a look at all of the art that adorns the tunnels, new and old and reach out if you know any of the artists, I would love to learn more about how it came to be.