Founded in memory of Surel Mitchell in January of 2012 by Surel’s younger daughter Rebecca Mitchell Kelada and Surel’s dear friend Matilda Rose Bubb, Boise City’s Cultural Planner, Surel’s Place has become an integral part of Idaho’s art community. With up to three free or low-cost events per month including workshops, readings, performances, and exhibits, we pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all, while offering artists the kind of support they deserve.

Our artists-in-residence come from all over the country and abroad. Ranging from emerging to established, all of our residents are professional, working artists eager to share their work and processes with the public. And, our residents are multidisciplinary. Surel’s Place accepts applications from visual, literary, and performing artists and have included painters, new-genre artists, sculptors, choreographers, writers, and composers.

“A huge part of Idaho’s art scene…”

Idaho’s News Channel 7, January 2023

A view of the studio at Surel's Place
The studio at Surel’s Place. Photo by Winston Mitchell.

We have served residents from over 25 states as well as from other countries. The interaction between our artists-in-residence and the local community fosters a better understanding and appreciation of art. Our events offer shared art experiences that foster the idea that art is accessible and necessary to our quality of life and sense of community.

In addition, we serve over a hundred local artists annually through our Art Event Program. We curate, market, cater, and host flash shows, workshops, lectures, professional development classes and performances that feature the work of local artists.

The house is at the heart of Garden City’s Surel Mitchell Live-Work-Create District, a neighborhood that values and encourages creativity. We collaborate with other arts and cultural organizations, as well as schools throughout the valley through our PARTNER Schools Program. Our Art Event program includes workshops, readings, performances and flash shows featuring the work of local artists, as well as, ArtBike, which features tours of artist studios in The District and First Friday Art Events, which invite patrons to up to 30 arts venues in our neighborhood.

There is wide community support for this organization; Boise is a community that values artists and art, and residents will be valued and appreciated for the energy, ideas, and beauty they bring to our city. Surel’s Place is funded through generous private donations and grants from the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment of the Arts, among other organizations.

About Surel

Surel Lee Mitchell was born December 4, 1944, to Ulek and Nettie Tosher in New York City. Her childhood was spent in Pottstown, PA, watching her father paint in his at home studio when he could.

Surel Mitchell, up close and smiling
Surel Mitchell.

In the 70’s Surel and her then husband Winston moved to Boise from California with their two daughters, Stephanie and Rebecca (the Founder of Surel’s Place). Moving to Boise was an initially traumatic move for an east coast artist, but that move became what was to be a turning point for the artistic vision that permeated her life and community.

She was a long-time docent at the Boise Gallery of Art and worked to grow it into a full-fledged museum, eventually serving as a member of the museum board. She was also a member of the Boise City Arts Commission and the Garden City Arts Commission. She helped create the Boise City Visual Chronicle and contributed a piece in 2002. Her extraordinary artistic work culminated in receipt of the Idaho Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2000 and the Boise City Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Arts and History, 2011 Individual Award for Excellence in the Arts. In addition she was an active member in many community art projects including Modern Hotel installations, Project Loca, and Boise Open Studios Collective (BOSCO).

You can read a beautiful story about Surel’s life and legacy here, written by From Boise newsletter founder Marissa Lovell.

Her work has been exhibited extensively, including in New York, Washington, DC, and Kuala Lumpur, and it is in private and corporate collections throughout the country. Her art has helped many people see the world; through painting, mixed media, sculpture, and installation art, Surel created important works that bring beauty to the world through color and social and cultural commentary. And, much of her work was a window into her own interior, highly personal and evocative of her history.

Surel was the best kind of teacher. Without being pedantic, she showed people how to live the best life. She naturally attracted people of all backgrounds and could bring them together. It didn’t matter who you were, how old you were, what you did, or where you came from; she took people at face value and embraced everyone. The fact that she lived on her own terms in her own way is what attracted people to her. She was a force for artistic, familial, and civic collaboration, inspiring people to come together to make something beautiful, whether it was beautiful conversation or art installation.

Surel passed away on October 10, 2011, leaving a community at a loss. Soon after, Rebecca and Matilda founded Surel’s Place to support artists as a way to continue her legacy. After her death, the Garden City Council officially named her neighborhood after her: The Surel Mitchell Live-Work-Create District. Her home, now Surel’s Place, is, of course, the district’s anchor.

An untitled painting by Surel Mitchell that features swirling blues, yellows, greens and purples and can resemble the sky, or water, or a map of the world depending on the viewer.
Untitled (The Davis Commission) by Surel Mitchell, circa 2010. Photo by Winston Mitchell.