Helena Public Art Committee (HPAC) Projects
Helena Public Art Committee
City of Helena Community Development
4th Floor, City-County Building
316 N. Park Avenue
Helena MT 59623
HPAC PROJECT HISTORY
The Helena Public Art Committee was created when Becky Eiker, a Helena resident and artist, expressed her desire in 1998 to donate a statue to the city entitled Extra! Extra!, a bronze statue of a newsboy. City officials accepted the gift and realized that others might be interested in making art donations. The City Commission appointed an advisory committee comprised of artists, citizens at large and art administrators as the Helena Public Art Committee (HPAC). The varied membership reflected a variety of visual and performing arts specialities found throughout the area.
One of the HPAC's first projects was to inventory and assess existing city-owned art in 2000. The inventory determined the condition, assessed needed maintenance, and identified appropriate restoration processes. Eight pieces were included:
George Washington -- Artist: unknown, ca. 1888, located in the Lewis and Clark County Courthouse on Broadway; restored in 2007
Bison -- Artist: unknown, 1890, located at the entrance to the Lewis & Clark Public Library, downtown Helena
Confederate Fountain -- Artist: George Carsley, 1920, located in Hill Park near the Civic Center; restored in 2008
Standing Stones -- Artist: Richard Mayer, 1976, located at Lazy Green Park across Rodney Street, across from Helena Middle School
The Prospectors -- Artist: Lyndon Pomeroy, 1974, located on Broadway, downtown Helena walking mall; restored in 2003 and 2008
Bronze plaques - 5 plaques by Artist: Lindy Miller, located on Downtown Helena Walking Mall
Bullwhacker -- Artist: John Weaver, 1976, located near the Securities Building, downtown Helena walking mall
Gateway -- Artist: Robert Harrison, 1997, located between the 6th Avenue parking garage and the Power Block Annex, downtown Helena
Extra! Extra! -- Artist: Becky Eiker, 1999, located just south of 6th Avenue on the walking mall, downtown Helena
Helena Public Art Committee Activities, 2005-Present
The Womens' Mural on the south face of the Livestock Building (walking mall) was restored in 2005 by Joe Thielen. The mural was painted in 1979 by Montana artists Delores Dinsmore, Ann Appleby and Marilyn Sternberg with the assistance of other community members. It illustrates the history of women's roles in Helena.
In 2005 the Helena Public Art Committee worked with the City-County Building Board and the Montana Historical Society to install a series of murals by Jack Beauchamp that were restored by Randy Ash. That same year a series of 3 paintings by Robert F. Morgan featuring the early development of Helena and Lewis and Clark County - through discovery, government, and commerce were also installed.
Working with the Helena Parking Commission, the youth-designed and created 6th Avenue parking garage mural featuring female forms by Molly Madden and Sarah Nyquist was installed in approximately 2000.
The next HPAC project was to create the full-color booklet Best Little Art Town: the Guide to Art in Helena, Montana. The first edition was published in 2006, a second in 2007, and again in 2009. Planned now as an ongoing guide to art and artists in Helena, it has become a valuable resource for visitors and residents alike.
In 2006, artist Chip Clawson was commissioned to create a piece of public art for Pioneer Park (behind the library, downtown Helena). The piece called All of the Above, None of the Above, is a combination of ceramic forms and park benches for the enjoyment of Helena residents.
Also in 2007, the marble George Washington statue was restored by sculptor Richard Ellis and placed inside the Lewis and Clark County Courthouse. The statue is one of the oldest pieces of art in Helena, originally commissioned by county commissioners in 1888.
Projects in 2008 included restoration of the Confederate Fountain and another restoration of The Prospectors and the first annual Chalk Up Helena! sidewalk chalk event in July.
Projects in 2010 included 2 new art installations - Take it Easy by artist Kirsten Kainz in the Butte and Sanders traffic circle near Helena High School, and the Memorial Park Bandshell mural by Carol Poppenga; Chalk Up Helena! in July, and hosting the second annual Open Studios Tour fundraiser to support public art in September.
"Palimpsest," a series of murals by Lance Foster were installed on the Trolley Block of the downtown walking mall in 2011 in addition to the annual events - Chalk Up Helena! and the Open Studios Tour.