A visit to downtown Boise is not complete without exploring the Freak Alley Gallery, the largest outdoor art gallery in the Northwest United States. The ever-changing space is known for its impressive street art that features local artists from Boise. There is an indoor gallery as well, which also promotes local artists and sells art inside. The artwork is changed regularly, ensuring new experiences every time you visit.
In 2002, local artist Colby Akers painted the back alley doorway of Moon’s Cafe in downtown Boise, Idaho. When businesses next door saw his work, many were so impressed that they to wanted the artist to paint their buildings.
So began Freak Alley. In the time since its establishment, the alley has blossomed from a single drawing to include an entire alley and adjacent parking lot of art. It’s now filled with an extraordinary range of beautiful murals and vibrant graffiti for the public to enjoy. Along the way, Freak Alley cemented itself as a beloved city landmark.
Traditionally, most of the art in Freak Alley last one to two years with a few notable exceptions, such as the popular Jimi Hendrix piece at the alley’s heart. This continuous introduction of new art has kept the project fresh. The process of changing the art each year formalized into an annual event held in early August when the new murals would be painted.
In 2019, Akers handed the reins of the project over to a new director, Melissa Nodzu. While new art was not added to the alley in 2019 during the transition period, as of August 2019, Nodzu was accepting email submissions from artists for 2020.
Nodzu has expressed a commitment to staying true to Akers’s founding vision of the art gallery. However, she also hopes to utilize the alley to host art events in the coming years.
Know Before You Go
The gallery is free and open to the public 24/7.
The entrance to Freak Alley itself is on the west side of North 8th Street midway between West Bannock Street and West Idaho Street (with some additional art housed indoors at the 9th Street address).