University of Idaho Unveils New Home for Idaho Capitol Murals

Friday, June 18 2010

MOSCOW, Idaho – With ceremony and a sense of place, the University of Idaho today unveiled the new home for the Idaho statehouse murals. Remarks by dignitaries, an Honor Song presented by a Native American drum circle and other special features marked the ceremony adjacent to the terra cotta-colored walls in the Idaho Commons building on which the murals are displayed.

“The University of Idaho is delighted to welcome the statehouse murals to our Moscow campus,” said University of Idaho President Duane Nellis, in a statement read during the ceremony. “The state’s land-grant institution is woven into the historical fabric of Idaho’s state government in distinct and numerous ways: it predates Idaho’s statehood; it has produced generations of leaders who have proudly served the state and beyond; and its statewide mission includes research and service that drives Idaho’s economic engine.”

In 1989, the Idaho State Murals Project, led by Peter Johnson and the Idaho Community Foundation, raised funds to commission art for Idaho’s state centennial. Artists throughout the west were reviewed by the Historical Statehouse Murals Committee and the Idaho Commission on the Arts.

Dana Boussard, an artist from Montana, was selected to create three murals, each depicting the history of each region – north, southwest and southeast. She titled the works “A Legend of Dreams: The Idaho Historic Statehouse Murals.” Each mural is divided into three horizontal sections, or bands. The top band is a time line that tells a symbolic narrative of Idaho’s history. The middle captures the beauty of the Idaho landscape through mountains, water and trees. The bottom band reflects the natural and environmental events that have played a critical role in the development of each area.

“In creating these inspiring works, mural artist Dana Boussard wove together geographical and historical impressions of Idaho’s regions to tell the Gem State’s story in a direct and compelling way; it is the story of all of us,” said Nellis.

The Idaho statehouse murals were installed in the Capitol building in 1993, where they remained on display until 2007. They were removed to safeguard them during the Capitol Renovation Project, which restored the statehouse to its original style and now features contemporary works of art.

The Idaho State Historical Society and key stakeholders reviewed several places across the state to house the murals. The University of Idaho was chosen to display the works, in part because of the institution’s commitment to art through its College of Art and Architecture. The Idaho Commons, on the university’s Moscow campus, serves as a forum for art, showcasing public artwork in a building seen as a converging point of students from various majors.

“We are honored not only to welcome the murals now installed here, but to welcome the thousands of Idahoans and visitors who will learn about our state by visiting here and viewing them,” said Nellis.
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. The university is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For information, visit

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit