Boise Art

Middle of Nowhere Map - No Need to Feel Lonely

Chamber of Commerce Description

As airport travelers descend the escalators or stairs on their way to the baggage claim area, they are greeted with this 38-foot terrazzo floor map. It gives newcomers a chance to orient themselves in the great Northwest, and it highlights our fair city in the middle of it all.

To truly get a sense of the map's scale and beauty, you'll need to go to the gray star that represents Boise. From there you can take in the close-up view and appreciate all the fine cartographic details. The region's mountain ranges, rivers, and political boundaries are displayed, along with several important symbols for the state of Idaho: the mountain bluebird (our state bird), the syringa (our state flower), and swimming salmon (our state endangered species). The intricacies of the compass points and the surrounding river imagery are also impressive. The use of subtle colors is indicative of the intermountain landscape that surrounds Boise.

To get a different perspective, go to the second floor and peer down at the map through the open rotunda. It's fun to watch people walk across the map surface, mimicking the airplanes that constantly pass over the region.

My Description

I love Boise because it is literally and figuratively in the middle of nowhere. And nothing else I've found presents this fact in as convincing a manner as this piece of art, which I've always referred to as the Middle of Nowhere Map. This geographical fact is probably disconcerting to most folks, especially Easterners, whose concept of distance is much different from ours. If you're east of the Mississippi, you'll hit at least four metropolitan areas if you get in the car and drive for six hours. Drive six hours from Boise and you can visit the Mormon Tabernacle, have a nice 3.2 beer, and watch a AAA baseball game, although not all at the same time. Believe me, Utah would be a much better place if you could.

Speaking of which, if you have a personal vendetta out against any of the states that border Idaho, this map gives you the chance to get some sweet symbolic revenge. It's probably not a good idea to expose your butt cheeks or anything (those TSA people have absolutely no sense of humor), but I bet no one would say anything if you plop your ol' keister down on, say, Oregon and rubbed it around a little for good measure. It might not get you back any of the $145 you had to pay for that speeding ticket on Route 20 east of Burns, but it can definitely make you feel better for a little while and it sure beats driving for an hour or so just to relieve yourself on Oregon soil. Trust me. It ain't worth it, especially with the price of gas.

Particulars
Boise-the-Great Name: Middle of Nowhere Map
Real Name: Terra Firma
Type: Terrazzo Floor
Artist: Elizabeth Wolfe
Completed: 2003
Where: Boise Air Terminal

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