What it takes to put on Helena's art walks

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Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 02, 2024

HELENA — Friday, February 2 marks the second art walk run by Omerta Arts. They have added new features like a shuttle and red carpet for photos and more.

“And you’ll find all these fairy doors here and also some artists will have stamps for you to stamp. So, as long as you get 10 stamps on this map and bring it back to Omerta Arts by the 9th, you will be entered to win some really great gift certificates and prizes,” says Omerta Arts founder, Leah Cupino.

Omerta took over the event from Downtown Helena Inc. just before they dissolved.

“Was it the smartest thing to do? I don’t know. You know, we just want to make work in our studio and be artists. But, you know, we also, I think everybody in here wants to see Helena, you know, thriving,” says Omerta Arts founder, Chris Riccardo.

Founders of Omerta Arts, Chris Riccardo and Leah Cupino, are working alongside their fellow artists at their downtown space to take over Helena’s art walk in which businesses and artists team up to welcome in customers and show off their wares.

It’s no easy feat. It takes rallying businesses and placing artists in those spaces and marketing and answering questions from the public and more.

“I would say that there’s at least three to four weeks of full-time hours necessary before art walk happens,” says Cupino.

Even with businesses chipping in and donations, Omerta Arts is still losing money on the event. But they see the event as part of their dedication to their community.

“Well, our mission is to preserve, promote, and protect the arts even as a little tiny baby organization,” says Cupino.

Having taken over the event, Omerta Arts is essentially keeping it alive. Exactly how it will look in the future is still somewhat undecided, but the team is open to volunteers and may consider hiring a part-time employee in order to tackle the event itself.

“It’s like incredibly valuable to have that platform and for Helena to provide that kind of encouraging feedback to creators,” says Cupino.