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Art stops traffic (on traffic boxes)

****slate grey traffic box****

Who said art has to be in a gallery to be considered art? Boise state art instructors Kirsten Furlong, Jill Fitterer and Matt Laurance have expanded displaying their art in the traditional gallery setting to the city streets on downtown traffic boxes.

There are 70 wrapped traffic boxes in the downtown area, with others in high traffic locations like Juanita Street. The traffic boxes started being transformed into artistic pieces in 2009, as part of Mayor Dave Bieter’s Neighborhood Reinvestment Program.

Fitterer and Furlong said they appreciate that the traffic box project brings fine art out into the community for many people to see, including those who normally wouldn’t make it into a gallery or museum.

 “It brings fine art directly to the streets and the public,” Fitterer said. “It personalizes those corners and makes the city more beautiful.”

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 If you’ve traveled down University Drive you may have noticed Laurance’s work on the traffic box at the corner of Juanita Street in front of the Administration Building. Photos of three of his mud sculptures were printed onto vinyl and wrapped around the box.

 As part of his master’s thesis, Laurance explored the concept of “impermanence” and “interconnectedness” in life and translated those themes into his art.

 “What interdependence is pointing to is the ontology of the infinite,” Laurance said. “You can find it on campus if you go look for it.”

 If you look at Laurance’s art on the traffic box, you will see crows, an angry demon dog and two humans meditating. Laurance said each sculpture embodies a piece of himself, and are in a way self-portraits of a temporary state or mindset.

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 Furlong also explored interconnectedness with her approach to looking at how animals and people interact in Boise city limits.

 While walking downtown around the Idaho and Main Street area you may have seen Furlong’s box on 9th Street.

 Furlong said her piece alludes to a field guide of shadows cast by creatures seen in the city like the coyote, the mountain lion, and the person (represented through objects like shears or a purse).

 “It’s their place as much as ours. I don’t really see it as being separate,” Furlong said. “That’s one of the great things about Boise; we’re all here, the people and the animals.”

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During a stroll through Capitol Park you’ve probably noticed Fitterer’s brightly colored box standing out against the stark white Givens Pursley building on Bannock and 6th Street.

 In addition to popping colors and a haiku, Fitterer utilized the concept of line through etching with her background in print making, which she said she felt was unique to the traffic box concept; no other artist had done an etching for a traffic box.