The Foundation was created in honor of longtime Boise resident, teacher, and artist Alexa Rose Howell (1947-2013). Alexa strove to enrich Boise with poetic whimsy. In the Boise art world, said the Idaho Statesman , she was a “striking figure” and a “quiet force.” In the memory of so many in the City she inspired with whimsy, 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. 


With a focus on creative potential, growth, and personal development, The Foundation seeks to support artists “on the verge” of their next step of creative development. Artists of all mediums, experience levels and ages have been funded, with grantees aged 16-76 across the Treasure Valley.


Alexa Rose cares about personal development. We believe that art has inherent benefit to the community, and that artists deserve to be treated as working professionals with valuable skillsets. By allowing artists to simply be themselves and create, we strive to make the Treasure Valley a more inclusive, creative destination for all. 

Learn more about our Grant Cycle here. 


The Alexa Rose Fellow is a merit-based award of $25,000 that provides resources for accelerated development of an artist’s creative practice. 

Community members are invited to nominate highly creative individual(s) working in any artistic discipline who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication to their creative practice and a marked capacity for self-direction. Up to five of those nominated will be selected for a personal interview. 

The Foundation will select its Fellow(s) in Fall of each year. 

Learn more about the Fellowship here. 

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“I've been creating art my entire life,” wrote Alexa in her artist’s statement. “As a little girl, I spent hours coloring with crayons. I sewed stuffed animals from scraps of fabric. 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 taught art for more than two decades. And then 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 Ken worked real estate, Alexa free-lanced in Boise and wrote a column for the Idaho Statesman . She started a puppet theatre, ran offices, managed the Boise Philharmonic, raised three children, taught art, exhibited in galleries, opened her own, and inspired the next generation of artists, devoutly their mentor and friend. In 1979, at Boise State, 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.” 

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Thank-You notes from ARF grantees