Discovering Boise: The Art of Ward Hooper Gallery

Ward Hooper Gallery, Boise

Pushing back from the table at Goldy’s in Boise, Idaho, where we devoured a bountiful breakfast on our snowy day off  wasn’t easy.  After all, the coffee was warm, and the server kept pouring!  (Read more about Goldy’s here.) But the urge to explore downtown Boise kicked in, and we found ourselves on Idaho Street intrigued by a sign that read The Original Ward Hooper Gallery & Vintage Swank.

The Art of Ward Hooper Gallery, Boise

If you’re in downtown Boise, head to 745 West Idaho Street to The Art of Ward Hooper Gallery.

Of all of Idaho’s artists, we were perhaps most familiar with Ward Hooper whose colorful graphic posters of national parks had struck our fancy at gift shops across America.  But an art gallery in downtown Boise?  What luck!

Entry display at Ward Hooper Gallery

Interesting mix of vintage suitcases, postcards, and old metal lighting greet you at the entrance to The Art Gallery of Ward Hooper

The gallery itself exuded vintage vibes.  Filled with carefully arranged vignettes of collections — softballs, suitcases, old metal toys, fish camp stuff, and you-name-it — the shop forms a most appropriate backdrop for the stylized drawings we admire from Hooper.

Ward Hooper Gallery, Boise

Collections fill the walls of The Art of Ward Hooper Gallery

Camping memorabilia, Ward Hooper Gallery

Camping memorabilia from fishing creels to mounted deer and clothing fill a side room in Ward Hooper’s Gallery.

Collections -- Ward Hooper Gallery

Collections of metal toys and old boxes fill a bookcase.

In fact, the gallery itself could be a stand-alone antiques shop if it weren’t for the main attraction — Hooper’s art.

Art of Ward Hooper, Boise

Dark green walls showcase the art of Ward Hooper displayed alongside found objects

Collection of artwork in Ward Hooper Gallery, Boise

Against a backdrop of a vintage bicycle, Ward Hooper’s prints stand ready for review.

Ward Hooper himself was in that morning (more good fortune!), busy wrapping a canvas for shipping.  We talked to him briefly, sharing our appreciation for his creativity and productive volume of work, and he replied with comments about the Idaho he loves. We picked up on one of his favorite subjects for art:  McCall, Idaho, a resort on the Payette Lake, known for its Winter Carnival and ice sculptures, a place we had recently visited.

Ward Hooper

Ward Hooper takes time out from preparing a canvas for shipping to talk about his art and gallery.

Canine art -- Ward Hooper Gallery, Boise

A collection of canine art hangs next to two vintage leather jackets — an interesting mix of art and antiques!

But a closer look at his collections revealed his vast repertoire.  We even found artwork celebrating events in Tennessee — Moon Pie festival in Bell Buckle and Mule Day in Columbia.

Tennessee Art from Ward Hooper

Art commemorating two Tennessee festivals: the Moon Pie Festival and Mule Days.

It was hard for two lovers of vintage collections and tasteful displays to get out of there before wearing out our welcome, so we took one last look.

Collection of baseballs, Ward Hooper Gallery

A collection of baseballs in a glass cylinder stands atop a vintage bookcase

Collage, Ward Hooper Gallery

A central eye stares out from this shadowbox collage

And loved what we saw. It’s safe to say this is one of our favorite all-time art galleries — colorful, approachable, and reminiscent of simpler times.  Not only that, there’s something in every price range from magnets, postcards, stationery, and giclee prints to full-size canvases.

Collection of magnets, Ward Hooper Gallery

A collection of magnets reveal Hooper’s love of dogs and cats

On the website, artwork for sale is grouped by collections:  Across America, Dogs & Cats, Collegiate, Personality and Portraits, McCall, and Boise.  In fact, if you’re a fan of either the Boise State Broncos or the University of Idaho Vandals, Ward has you covered! Don’t see what you’re looking for?  The artist works on commission, too.

National Park art, Ward Hooper

Cards with the art of national parks by Ward Hooper

Before we left, we asked Ward about his current projects.  I’m working on a piece for the local Red Cross chapter, he said.  And we wondered if this, too, might become something with national connections.  Remains to be seen.

Ward Hooper Gallery, Boise

Don’t wait ’til you get stranded by a snowstorm in Boise.  Just head to Idaho Street and check out The Art of Ward Hooper Gallery.  We dare you to leave empty-handed!

The Art of Ward Hooper Gallery

745 West Idaho Street

Boise, Idaho

208.287.8150

Website: www.wardhooper.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/artofwardhooper

For more on what we’ve stumbled upon in Idaho and Washington, click on the Inland Northwest page at the top of this blog.  Thanks!

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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8 Responses to Discovering Boise: The Art of Ward Hooper Gallery

  1. cmmoxley says:

    Love that Mule Day poster! What a fun post, Rusha.

    • Rusha Sams says:

      Thanks so much. I had no idea he had designed posters for Tennessee events, so you can imagine my surprise. Just stumbling upon his place filled with art and antiques was a wonderful experience!

  2. That’s my kind of place – lucky you to get to meet the artist too!
    Kelly

  3. This looks like a wonderful store to explore Rusha. It looks like it has something for everyone. And I love it when stores fill their nooks and crannies. ~James

    • Rusha Sams says:

      I’ve been to art galleries. I’ve been to antiques stores. But it’s rare to see the two merged. It works, though, and this was one fun place to visit. Talking to the artist was the icing on the cake!

  4. Amy says:

    Thank you for the wonderful tour of Boise! Great photos!

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