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Inspiration Alley in Downtown Boise looking to add more faces and bigger reach

Creator of the alley wants to add 7-9 more murals, create an online presence to reach and teach more people and support local artists through fundraising.

BOISE, Idaho — Created nearly two years ago, the Inspiration Alley in Downtown Boise continues to expand and promote positivity through its murals. Creator of the alleyway, Ross Stoddard, wants to add more "inspiration champions" and share the stories of those on the wall through a new fundraiser.

"We have an opportunity to move some people at a time when the planet and society really needs it," said Stoddard. "Any small amount of inspiration that can move people in this way is perfect."

Stoddard said he had the idea to do something to the alley for several years, but when the pandemic hit in 2020 he felt it was time to enact it. He got help from Collin Pfeifer and Hawk Sahlein with Sector Seventeen, an artist collective in Boise, to paint two murals of Colin Kaepernick and Maya Moore in September 2020.

"I like the idea of Boise being a more inclusive place," Sahlein said.

About two months later, Stoddard and Sector Seventeen expanded to four murals, adding portraits of Dolores Huerta and Malala Yousafzai to the walls of the Oliver Russell Building on 11th St.

"It allows us to reach and teach people about the work of a lot of unsung heroes, some famous and some not so famous, are doing around the world," Stoddard said.

Since then it's been able to attract attention from people all over the world and is visited daily. Stoddard said people will take selfies with the murals and school classes will take field trips to learn about these characters in history. He said the reaction and attention from the public have exceeded his expectations.

The wall was also featured in ESPN's 30 by 30 documentary on Moore.

"It's rad. It was unexpected and it kind of made me see our work how other people might see our work," Sahlein said.

Stoddard said since it has been over a year and a half since they last added to the wall, and there are new challenges the world is facing, he wants to expand Inspiration Alley and reach more people.

"Our goal for this next phase of the Inspiration Alley Project is to expand it to create more murals, support local artists, and create a companion online experience so that we can reach - and teach - others about these remarkable and inspirational people," said the GoFundMe for Inspiration Alley. 

Stoddard said they're hoping to raise $20,000 to add 7-9 murals. He said he's received a few nominees of people like Dolly Parton, Chef Jose Andres of World Central Kitchen, Homero Gómez González, and more.

People can also nominate others they think would be great additions to the alley. Stoddard said the more money they raise the more murals we can paint, and the more compelling we can make the educational web experience. 

"If we're super successful, we'd even like to explore lighting the murals so that they can inspire people 24/7," the GoFundMe said.

Those interested in donating can do so through Inspiration Alley's GoFundMe.

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