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Helena is still making investments in public art



Helena, Montana – The city of Helena has been making improvements to the traffic boxes, tunnels, and soon, the dumpsters.

The beautifying technique aims to deter vandalism in addition to improving the appearance of the city.

“It helps the community be a bit more proud of the area they live in. You know, there’s always been sore sights around town and it’s just trying to beautify that,” says the City Facilities Manager, Bridget Johnston.

Founded in 1998, the Helena Public Art Committee was intended to advise the City Commission. They try to find places throughout the city where public art can be installed.

For instance, a new public art mural was painted on the Centennial Trail tunnel this summer by a local artist, and another painting is currently being worked on in the tunnel beneath W Lyndale Ave.

The committee also suggested painting traffic boxes all throughout the town to the City Commission. An annual budget of about $12,000 is set available for such art projects. The committee presents its recommendations to the City Commission, which establishes the budget and has the authority to accept, reject, or give the go-ahead for the suggestions.

According to Mayor Wilmot Collins, these projects not only boost tourism but also adorn the city’s landscape with visually stimulating elements, much like how people decorate their houses.

“Even in your private homes, why do you put pictures up on your wall? To beautify your home! It’s the same thing with the community. We’re trying to beautify this community,” says Collins.

Artists are welcome to submit requests to the city to have dumpsters around town decorated. There will be a large painting project in May that will paint four to five dumpsters. Submissions of proposals must be received by January 19 at 4 PM.


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