Boise State welcomes the Stein Luminary, an interactive art experience

Photo by Claire Keener
By Amanda Niess and Julianne Gee

Boise State University welcomed the Keith and Catherine Stein Luminary to campus in the Center for Visual Arts Building just in time for the fall 2021 semester. 

The Stein Luminary is an immersive, fully digital art gallery with high-resolution images of art from around the world that can be moved and zoomed in on. This level of interactivity is accomplished with the 87-foot digital touch-activated glass walls.

“It gives people an opportunity to view things they wouldn’t be able to otherwise,” said Cassidy Gilman, a visual arts major and former intern for the Stein Luminary. “You could find a painting that’s in a famous museum that you wouldn’t normally be able to see and then blow it up and see it in all its details.”

Stein Luminary, an 87-foot interactive art experience on Boise State campus
[Photo of two people exploring the Stein Luminary’s interactive touchscreen exhibit]
Photo by Claire Keener | The Arbiter

Lisa Hunt is one of the masterminds behind the creation of the Stein Luminary. Hunt serves as the interim director of the Keith and Catherine Stein Luminary and visiting assistant professor in Boise State’s School of the Arts. 

“The initial vision was to bring art from around the world, to students and young people in Idaho,” Hunt said.

Hunt and her colleagues hope to open the minds of students and young people in the community with this exhibit. The pandemic caused many businesses, including museums, to shut down which led a variety of digital alternatives to surface. 

“Museums started to release images of their artworks out of their collections with copyright clearance and with high resolution,” Hunt said. “The timing was perfect to create software that would allow us to take advantage of that data.”

According to the Stein Luminary’s vision, the exhibit aims to “illuminate perspectives, transform perceptions and spark imagination.” With that, Hunt aims to connect the students to Boise State’s campus and the art that the community has to offer.

The Stein Luminary is more than just an intercampus connection, however. It has art from all corners of the world that visitors can interact with, up close and personally. 

“I think for the state and for our community, and for our university community especially, we want to broaden your horizons, but the way we put it is to illuminate perspectives,” Hunt said. “We want you to learn about places outside of our state and also to think in new ways about places inside our beautiful state.”

These connections go even farther than the places and cultural perspectives being presented. Aside from the interactive art exhibited in the Stein Luminary, the space can also be used to exhibit other artistic features. 

Connor Hopkins, a current work-study intern and illustration major, mentioned an event that blended art and music. The Boise Philharmonic collaborated with art students and students in the Gaming, Interactive and Mobile Media program to create a “See the Music” event. The event can be watched on the Boise Philharmonic digital stage.

“The entire space is extremely versatile beyond presenting objects. People come in and play music in it, and artists would create things on the screen that would react to the music,” Hopkins said. “The digital nature of the space creates the potential for all kinds of collaborative projects.”

Currently, the Stein Luminary is only open to campus groups, university classes and faculty consultations by appointment. Open-house hours will be posted when conditions permit. A grand opening is planned for January 2022.
For more information visit their website at or email

  • Stein Luminary, an 87-foot interactive art experience on Boise State campus
  • Stein Luminary, an 87-foot interactive art experience on Boise State campus
  • Stein Luminary, an 87-foot interactive art experience on Boise State campus
  • Stein Luminary, an 87-foot interactive art experience on Boise State campus
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