Center for Visual Arts wins ‘Project of the Year’ at 2020 Top Projects People’s Choice Awards

Boise State University’s Center for the Visual Arts won the Project of the Year in the public category at the annual Top Projects People’s Choice Awards for local architectural designs. Idaho Business Review, a business news outlet based in Boise, released an article announcing the winners for five categories. 

The award ceremony decided to use an online survey for voters rather than an in-person ballot, due to unusual circumstances this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. People voted on Survey Monkey on Aug. 28 and ended at 12 p.m. on Sept. 16.

Shawna Hanel, a photography lab manager in the art department, was appreciative to hear about the news. 

“It’s great to have a building supported by the community,” Hanel said. “Hopefully that translates into support for the arts in a broader sense, it would be great for our students and the faculty.”

According to Hanel, the structure of the building is unique and gorgeous, as well as where it is situated in Boise. 

“The location of it is a nice complement to the Capitol building. As you’re driving down Capitol Boulevard, you can see the Capitol straight in front of you, but then as you’re passing the university, you have this forward-leaning modern architecture.”

[Photo of the award winning Center for Visual Arts on Boise State Campus]
Photo by Mackenzie Hudson | The Arbiter

Hanel said that before the Center for Visual Arts was built in 2019, it consolidated the art department, which had previously been housed in multiple locations around campus. This meant that art major students were scattered all over the campus and forced to travel across campus with large, heavy equipment. Hanel also noticed that students didn’t get the chance to interact with one another as much. 

“Now that they are all in the same building, they are already interacting more with one another,” Hanel said.

Valerie Olsen, a graphic design major, continues to be optimistic and interpreted the award as good news. 

“During these unprecedented times, good news like this keeps my high hopes that someday the pandemic is going to be over and everything will go back to the way it used to be,” Olsen said.

As a creative person, Olsen was impressed by the exterior design of the building.

“Whoever designed this building, has my huge respect because of his or her exceptional talent,” Olsen said.

Faith Ansay, an alumna who plans to return to Boise State to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a photography emphasis, noted that the Center for the Visual Arts deserves the recognition it has received. 

“The building itself is an art on its own,” Ansay said. “Even the structure of it makes it recognizable to people that it is actually an art building. It is truly a masterpiece at the center of Boise.”

When Ansay graduated from Boise State, the Visual Arts building was only under construction. 

“It is great to know that my alma mater will always find a way to move forward and progress. I am excited to go back to Boise State to pursue my real passion. I have always been proud to be a Bronco,” Ansay said.

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