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The Foundation was created in honor of

longtime Boise, Idaho resident, teacher, and artist Alexa Rose Howell (1947-2013). Alexa strove to enrich our community with poetic joie de vivre. In the Boise art world, said the Idaho Statesman, she was a “striking figure” and a “quiet force.” In the memories of so many of us Alexa inspired, 

she lives with us still. 

Artwork by Alexa Rose


The Foundation’s primary goal is to support the work of individual artists in the community. Unlike many traditional grant programs, Alexa Rose awards grants to individuals, not organizations. 


We believe that art has inherent benefit to the community, and that artists must be treated as working professionals with valuable skill sets. When artists are supported and empowered, the Boise Valley becomes a more interesting, creative and inclusive destination and a place worth visiting or calling home. 


The Alexa Rose Fellow is a merit-based award of $25,000 invested in accelerated development of an established artist’s creative practice. We seek highly creative individual(s) working in any artistic discipline who have shown extraordinary dedication to their creative practice and a track record of community impact, mentorship and giving back.  



Alexa Rose Howell was a painter, a poet, an actress, dancer, puppeteer and columnist. “I've been creating art my entire life,” she wrote. “As a child I was fascinated with pattern, texture and color. As an adult, I combined my passion for theater and visual art into work as a puppeteer. I began to paint, first in watercolor, then in acrylic, chalk and colored pencil. For me, art is everywhere.” 


A native of New York City, Alexa Howell graduated cum laude with a major in French at UCLA. Graduate work included a master’s in art from Boise State University and an arts diploma from the Swiss University of Lausanne. In a chance encounter in Manhattan, she met Ken Howell in 1971, and soon the couple was married. They lived a comfortable life in Athens during their first year of marriage while Ken worked a corporate job with Pfizer. Soon, Ken’s interest in cattle ranching and disinterest in corporate life led them to a family friend’s ranch in Nampa, Idaho. Ken worked as the “hired” man, and Alexa made a home for them in the ranch’s 10’X60’ trailer. After a short stint at ranching, Alexa moved with Ken to the City of Trees. He assured her that he would find something to do. 


While her husband Ken worked in real estate, Alexa started a puppet theatre, ran offices, managed the Boise Philharmonic, raised three children, taught art for two decades, exhibited in galleries, opened her own, and inspired the next generation of artists, devoutly their mentor and friend. In 1979, at Boise State University, she was awarded the prestigious Whittenberger Fellowship. Honored by the Idaho Commission on the Arts in 1990, she was designated one of the state’s top “living artists.” The ever fashionable Howell loved staying current and on trend. She enjoyed always being in the milieu of young artists and creatives. Before her death in 2015 she showed her work as part of "Modern Art" multiple years and loved every minute of it. 

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