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Freemont Street getting a big splash of art

Art is making a Boise Bench neighborhood feel safer.

BOISE — Art murals are popping up all around the Treasure Valley and one Boise Bench neighborhood decided it was what they needed in order to feel safer.

The murals are in progress on Freemont Street behind a strip mall with businesses like the Stage Coach Theater and Emerald Lanes bowling alley. The effort is called the "Emerald Orchard Walkability Project."

Local artist Jesse Bateman is the lead on the project. He is working with several other artists to bring his sketches to life. The group connected through the Treasure Valley Artist Alliance. Residents around Freemont Street asked the group for help to spruce up the space.

"We are very happy about what they're doing here," said Deborah Mullner, who is a neighbor. "This mall was built with the back side having no windows so people find it unsafe walking here, but with these beautiful murals people feel they belong here."

As the murals continue to multiply the hope is the positive difference they make will be long lasting and the mural art will continue to spread.

"It's nice to bring the art out of downtown and to the rest of Boise as well," said Ali Mullin, who is an artist.

"It's just neat to see how vibrant the whole thing is getting, really, and it's very cool to be a part of that," said Jill Storey, who is an artist.

All of the artists are volunteering their time to the project. Much of the paint was donated as well. Neighbors have chipped in to cover any other costs.

The project is expected to be completed in a couple of months.