To this day, some of Daniel Borup’s fondest memories growing up include riding his bike into downtown Meridian to get a snack with his siblings. The feelings that come from those memories — “a place where you can feel safe,” Borup said — were the inspiration for Borup’s sculpture “Out on the Town,” installed in front of Meridian City Hall in 2016.
Even as the city grows, Borup said it still has the same feeling.
“It is still home,” he said.
A second sculpture by Borup will be installed in spring 2020 in front of Fire Station No. 6 on West Overland Road, just east of Linder Road.
The bronze sculpture is more than 4-feet tall, depicting a firefighter at the ready with a fire hose. Meridian City Council approved it Aug. 13, per the recommendation of the Meridian Arts Commission.
City officials broke ground on the fire station in March. The 10,229-square-foot station, costing $5.4 million, is estimated to be completed by March 2020. The sculpture will be unveiled at roughly the same time, according to Borup’s proposal for the project.
The project will cost the city $35,000, including $12,000 to cover Borup’s labor and artist fee. The rest will go toward materials, travel, insurance and other maintenance.
“Daniel is helping to model for us you can have a future in the arts in Meridian,” Hillary Blackstone, commissions and committees coordinator for the city of Meridian, said. “He had always been interested in art and seeing art have a place in Meridian.”
BRINGING ART TO LIFE
Growing up in Meridian in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Borup’s artistic passions were nurtured by his family — all of whom were artists. Like a lot of children, Borup was very artistic — the desire to create was “something that was always there,” he said.
“I just was never discouraged from it,” he said.
After graduating from high school, Borup enrolled at Brigham Young University-Idaho, where he was introduced to sculpture. Borup said he “loved and enjoyed doing probably every form of art I’ve tried,” but “nothing has had that sense of purpose” as sculpting.
“I can just say, ‘Wow, this is what I’m supposed to be doing,’” he said.
Borup said through sculpture he felt like he could give his pieces a kind of “life-like presence.”
“You can spend all of your time measuring a person in front of you, but that doesn’t give it life,” he said. “There is some sort of communication that happens between the artist and the clay.”
That communication, like small decisions to refine the work, helps the artist give life to the sculpture, Borup said. There’s no exact formula for it. “There are plenty of sculptures I work with and sometimes it never happens,” he said.
ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY
Borup has created several sculptures across Idaho and the nation. He also teaches high school art classes at Shelley High School, in Shelley, Idaho. When Borup is working on public art pieces, he tries to find ways to share it with students.
“I have a passion for helping teenagers learn art,” he said.
In high school, Borup didn’t think a career in public art was an option, but later he realized that’s not true.
“There are more sculptures done now than ever,” he said.
He hopes that by working with high school students, he can help even one student realize that following their passion for the arts is an option.
As part of his fire station project, Borup plans to work with Meridian students, visiting local high schools and talking with classes about projects “to raise awareness and inspire future makers and patrons of art,” his proposal said.
As part of the Meridian Art Week celebration, Borup will be demonstrating his sculpting at an artist resources and grants panel on Sept. 4 at Potter’s Tea House. Borup will start his demonstration at 5:30 p.m, a half-hour before the panel starts, and work until 7 p.m. During the demonstration attendees are invited to ask Borup questions or just observe his art.
“I personally love to see other artists’ work,” Borup said. “I just love to see the creative process.”