Keepsies – A Boise Art Icon
A review from 2004, author forgotten 😦
I don’t remember the exact year, but it was in the 1980s. Ann LaRose, and her husband, Bruce, lived down the street from me on Trout Lane, in Eagle. Trout Lane is the road that runs south from the Eagle Island State Park. I owned River Island Ranch, which is right across the street from what used to be a fish hatchery. I think it is a research center now. River Island Ranch is now owned by Jim Zamzow.
Anne got the commission to do this piece. She did not have a studio in the little place where she and Bruce lived down the street, so when she needed space, and since she and Bruce were (and still are) dear friends, I offered our shop. Anne spent many hours and hours over many weeks in the shop working with the clay to sculpt the piece. The models for the children were neighborhood kids…all grown and gone now of course.
When the weather was nice, Anne would open the overhead door in the shop so she could work with some fresh air and have some natural light. When she did this, my swans, particularly the female swan named Cleo, would come waddling up from the pond to watch Anne. Cleo would come into the shop and walk around the clay sculpture, almost as if she were the artist herself. She would sit and watch Ann, then get up and walk around and look at Anne’s work, then sit down, and then go back to the pond, over and over. This was quite amazing since swans don’t spend much time on land to begin with (pretty clumsy), but even more amazing that she spent so much time with Anne, literally hours, day after day.
Finally, when Anne was close to being finished, one of her last acts was to roll the marbles so they could be placed on the sculpture. Cleo was with her when she did this, and when Anne rolled a marble, Cleo waddled over and picked it up in her bill, walked around the sculpture, and re-placed it on the sculpture, where she wanted it. This happened with at least three of the marbles in Keepsies. Anne left them where Cleo placed them, and that’s where they are still today.
I offered the name “Keepsies” just because it was a game of marbles I remembered as a kid. But Anne and her helper Cleo made the magic. I am so proud that his wonderful piece is Boise’s own. Every time I see it, I get a tear in my eye for the precious memory of such a wonderful time, and the joy of watching Ann’s imagination and talent, along with her beautiful companion Cleo, come alive.
This City should ask Anne to do another sculpture.