Slideshow: Dressing Windows for the Holidays 

"I've done it so long that they just let me use my artistic creativity. I just show up at the window and do what my brush tells me to do."

click to enlarge unknownartist_cassidyrichey.jpg

Cassidy Richey

Who can say if it's the Christmas lights casting their glow over downtown or the first flakes of snow making landfall that's the source of the holiday spirit, but for a lot of businesses across the city, it's washable winter-themed window decorations that call out the season.

"It makes you feel warm and happy. It makes everyone jolly," Ashley Dreyfus, a local holiday window artist, said about decorating windows with holiday-themed art. Dreyfus is a newcomer to this seasonal work—she just started painting windows this year. "I always loved painting, but I never did [it] on such a large scale," she said.

Ahead of the 2018 Treefort Music Festival, Dreyfus first tried her hand at window murals as a way to earn tickets in exchange for community service for local businesses.

"It was interesting in getting into that and challenging myself," she said. For the holiday season, you can see the characters she calls "alter egos" drinking coffee and building snowmen on the windows of downtown businesses—all in bright and vibrant colors. "They're androgynous beings that live their lives with no comfort zones. They're just generally happy all the time," Dreyfus said.

Their happiness mirrors her attitude toward her own artistic contributions.

"I just love working in the community. I've done a lot of volunteer work in Boise, so it's always fun to get out and paint on a larger scale and have my work as public art," she said.

Seasoned holiday window artists like Julie Rumsey, who has 25 years of experience under her belt, have similar feelings.

"I enjoy all the facets of it, and that's why I continue to do it. Not only do I get the business side of it, but I also get the creativity end of it," Rumsey said. Her paintings can be seen throughout the valley—most notably on the windows of Zions Bank and the Boise Centre.

"I've done it so long that they just let me use my artistic creativity," Rumsey said. "I just show up at the window and just do what my brush tells me to do."

Sometimes her brush tells her to paint the cheerful faces of her own children skiing; other times it says to illustrate graceful silhouettes.

"I try to put my whole heart and soul into every client's window I paint," she said. "There have been some that aren't as enjoyable, but there haven't been many. I try to make them all shine."

Art like Rumsey's is highly sought-after by local businesses—especially those downtown whose decorated windows contribute to Boise's holiday festivities.

"Generally, people appreciate when local business participate and make downtown festive for the holidays," said Kate Seward, who owns both Form & Function and The District Coffeehouse. Seward hired Dreyfus to paint The District's windows this year, and said she couldn't have been happier with the product.

"It brings Christmas spirit to downtown," she said. "It gives [people] joy when they see the lights up and the painting on the windows. It makes downtown a cheerful place."

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