Helena continues to invest in public art

traffic box painting.jpg
Posted at 5:26 PM, Jan 04, 2024

HELENA — The City of Helena has been working to beautify the city’s tunnels, traffic boxes, and now shortly the dumpsters. This beautification process not only helps the city look nice but also attempts to prevent vandalism.

“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.

The Helena Public Art Committee was created in 1998 to serve as an advisory committee to the City Commission. They work to identify opportunities for public art throughout the city. For example, this summer a new public art mural was painted on the Centennial Trail tunnel by a local artist with a new mural in the tunnel under W Lyndale Ave in the works.

Additionally, the committee brought to the City Commission the idea to paint traffic boxes throughout town. About $12,000 is put aside every year for art projects like these. The committee brings the ideas to the City Commission who either approves or denies them and sets the budget, then allows City Staff to take over.

Mayor Wilmot Collins says that these projects sprinkle the city’s landscape with fun things to look at in the same way folks decorate their homes, as well as support tourism.

“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.

The city is currently taking requests from artists to decorate dumpsters throughout town. 4 to 5 dumpsters will be painted during a mass painting event in May. Proposals will be accepted until January 19 at 4 PM.