Riding a bike on your own through Garden City, you may pass some interesting sights—including a gargoyle-festooned house on 36th Street and a lawn strewn with metal sculptures—but you won’t get the full story of the pathways made from recycled park benches or the family connection behind the metal without a bit of help. Jodi Eichelberger, program coordinator of Surel’s Place, said individually owned art spots like those, as well as behind-the-scenes visits to the studios and galleries of local artists, are the main draws for the artBike Tours he guides through the Surel Mitchell Live-Work-Create District. The next tour is scheduled for Saturday, May 19, from 1:30-3 p.m., overlapping with Boise Bike Week.
The upcoming tour will more or less stick to the artBike Tour model that Surel’s Place uses on each of its six annual tours. There are 16 total spots available at a cost of $10 per person, and Eichelberger will guide the tour on his beloved St(r)eam Coffee and Tea Bike. However, since this particular tour starts at the new local coffee shop Push & Pour, Eichelberger said he won’t be pouring any drinks, at least not until later in the day.
“The bike still leads [the tour],” said Eichelberger, “It still has all of the steampunk styling about it, and we’ll probably make some coffee when we move a little further west and we’re away from the coffee shop.”
Half a dozen Garden City-based artists have volunteered to let the peddlers into their studios, including photographer Susan Valiquette, jewelry designer Kay Seurat, ceramic artist Fred Deibel, painter and mixed-media collage maker Samuel L Paden, metal sculptor Ken McCall and textile artist Marguerite Jay Gignoux, who is the current artist-in-residence at Surel’s Place. Plus, they’ll also get a peak at the “big green box” that past Surel’s Place Artist-in-Residence Clarissa Callesen filled with found object and textile pieces as part of her farewell exhibition, Fertile Remnants. The tour is kid friendly, but participants are warned that it will wrap up at the Visual Arts Collective, which caters to a 21-and-older crowd.
All of the artists except Callesen, who has moved on from her residency, will meet the bikers in person to discuss their work. While some of the artists have opened their studios for past tours, Eichelberger said he tries to only spotlight them once a year unless they’ve had major career changes. Ken McCall, who moved from largely collaborative metal fabrication to more individual work, is one example.
“Because you’re approaching this art by bike, it makes it more accessible,” said Eichelberger, “It makes it seem more like something you can be part of for a lot of people, as opposed to an experience where you’re doing wine and cheese in galleries.”
Online registration for the Saturday artBike tour is ongoing, but spots are filling up fast. If you want to wade into the local art scene, grab a ticket here before they’re gone.
Phvntom, Inc. is a digital marketing company located in Boise, Idaho that creates websites, apps, and full-scale promotions/campaigns for other businesses. The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of its authors and were not written by Phvntom. This article was originally published by Boise Weekly.