Moscow Public Art

The City of Moscow’s public art collection began in the 1990s, and is supported by a 1% for the Arts fund established by ordinance in 2004. This resource furthers the City of Moscow’s goal of economic development by ensuring the ability to invest the arts. Guided by a Public Art Master Plan adopted in 2015, the public art collection is ever-expanding, with artistic direction crafted in collaboration between City Arts staff and the Moscow Arts Commission. The collection is comprised of both temporary and permanent features. Artworks in the permanent collection range from mosaic murals and sculptures-in-the-round to framed pieces in the City’s portable collection. Each new piece in the permanent collection joins others by celebrated regional artists including Harold Balazs, David Govedare, Miles Pepper, Robert Horner, and Melissa Cole. Temporary artworks include vinyl-wrapped utility boxes and bus shelters as well as a sculpture garden featuring artworks on loan to the city. 

Moscow is a city rich with diversity of thought, inhabited by minds open to possibility and creative interpretation. As such, the City’s public art program not only celebrates the artist as a professional and valued business partner, but also welcomes a broad range of appearances, media, and art-making processes into its collection.

New Public Art Installation

Artists Jennifer Corio & Dave Frei of Cobalt Designworks have been selected to create a new public art piece for the couplet located at C & Main Streets. Their artwork The Homecoming will be installed later this year.

Artists Jennifer Corio and Dave Frei

We are Jennifer Corio & Dave Frei of Cobalt Designworks. Dave and I have been creating metal sculptures together for fun since 2001, and as a business since 2008 out of our studio in Vancouver, WA. In our partnership I do the conceptual development and design, and Dave brings them to life in his metal shop. We love using bold colors and playful forms to brighten landscapes and lift moods. 

We are honored and excited to create The Homecoming for the C & Main Street Couplet. It is especially meaningful since Dave grew up in Moscow and graduated from Moscow High and U of I. This project is a wonderful way to pay homage to the place where Dave was born and raised.

The idea for this piece came to me one day as I was watching a flutter of bird activity in my backyard. It was an early fall day with cooler temperatures; the kind of day birds seem to love. There were about a dozen different species interacting. To a backyard birder, this is very exciting!

There were the usual suspects; the house finches, goldfinches, sparrows and juncos. These songbirds grace us with their presence every day. These are the local residents. 

There was a northern flicker eating from the suet feeder. It had been hanging out a lot the past few weeks, but sometimes I can go months without seeing it again. Kind of like college students where you see them for 9 months of the year, but then they disappear each summer only to return as school kicks off again in fall.

Particularly exciting was the fact that two fresh faces flew in, familiar but not common in our backyard. Cedar waxwing and spotted towhee.  I only see them a couple times a year in our backyard, as if they are dropping by from out of town to visit their friends and relatives.

Then there was a warbler, a non-native migratory bird, beginning its long journey heading south, passing through, stopping for a drink, a bite and a bathroom break before heading to its final destination.   

Entranced watching them all, I think to myself, “It’s like a HOMECOMING.” The light bulb went off and in an instant I had the idea for the C & Main sculpture. 

I imagined an abstract representation of the Palouse hills as the backdrop, creating the multi-colored, peaceful, undulating and richly layered familiarity of the local landscape. In the forefront I saw birds on a wire; after all, we’ve already got these utility looking poles that are a required design element for the site! 

Birds, which are very social creatures, become a metaphor for Moscow residents, visitors and passersby. The sitting birds are taking a break from the busyness, enjoying each other, people watching, feeling a sense of community, a sense of belonging.  

A flock of birds is flying in, evoking a visual sense of deceleration in order to slow down and join the others, a symbol for what’s happening at this intersection as people come off Hwy 95 and head into the heart of town.

A small farmhouse sits atop the hill as a nod to both HOME and Moscow’s farming heritage.

As motorists, cyclists and pedestrians move around the intersection, the ‘landscape’ shifts in depth and dimension, just like the Palouse hills and their changing relationship to each other. Even the backside holds the integrity of the undulating hills. Our hope is that together the elements create a scene that conjures feelings of home, familiarity, community and joy.

Permanent Collection

Temporary Collection

VINYL-WRAPPED TRAFFIC SIGNAL BOXES

Artworks featured on vinyl-wrapped boxes have been a part of the City of Moscow’s temporary public art collection since 2012. This project provides public space for artists to share their two-dimensional work with the public, and beautifies street fixtures throughout the community. 

Each year, a selection panel chooses several artworks to be displayed at locations throughout Moscow for a period of up to 5 years. These works are enjoyed by Moscow’s visitors and residents alike, and have become a cherished element of the visual landscape. 

INTERMODAL TRANSIT CENTER SCULPTURE GARDEN

The Intermodal Transit Center Sculpture Garden was created by the City of Moscow Arts Department in 2012, and it provides art viewing opportunities for the public as well as exhibition space for emerging regional artists. Each year, a selection panel chooses five sculptures to be displayed at the Sculpture Garden for approximately twelve months. These works are viewed by travelers utilizing the many modes of transportation supported by the Intermodal Transit Center.

The sculptures currently on display were created by University of Idaho students: 

  • Sarah Ashby, "Perspective"
  • Hanna Lay, "SS Luna"
  • Phillip Lerum, "Vulpes Pyro"
  • Ocean Locke, "Ourapteryx sambucaria"

BUS SHELTERS

Bus shelters throughout Moscow have featured artists’ designs since 2008. At the intersection of aesthetic and utilitarian function, these public artworks create a sense of place for those traveling through the city.

Portable Art Collection

The Portable Collection is comprised of over 80 works, which are prominently displayed in City of Moscow buildings. It represents a broad spectrum of artistic media and styles and reflects the City of Moscow’s commitment to the arts.