State of Downtown Boise: 'Art is Smart' 

click to enlarge LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
With a theme of "Art is Smart," the Downtown Boise Association hosted its annual State of Downtown event April 10, in front of a sold-out audience at Boise Centre East on the Grove Plaza.

"We, in cities all across the nation, work so hard to find a way to make our cities unique," said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter in opening remarks. "We've done that here in Boise, primarily through our arts and history."

DBA Executive Director Lynn Hightower pointed attendees to a just-released survey of downtown business and property owners on the role of arts and culture in Boise. The study, conducted by Drs. Amanda Ashley and Jeffrey Lyons of Boise State University, revealed respondents feel both events and cultural organizations/nonprofits/businesses are important to the economic well-being of downtown Boise. When asked whether they thought there were enough cultural programs and events in downtown Boise, the survey found that most respondents (53 percent) believe there are not enough.

Singer/songwriter Dar Williams provided entertainment for the event, opening with an acoustic performance of her song "Emerald" and then referenced her bestselling book, What I Found in a Thousand Towns (Basic Books, 2017), part memoir and part thesis on urban planning.

"I honestly think Boise pushes back on the growing tide of same-ness," said Williams. "By the way, in case you were wondering: Boise is hot. All my friends want to come and play in Boise."
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