By Sarah Gianelli EBS Associate Editor
BIG SKY – As of Oct. 31, there’s a little more color around Big Sky. That’s because another eight formerly drab green utility boxes have been wrapped with colorful imagery by local artists.
Former Lone Peak High School student Dasha Bough started the program in 2015 and 25 boxes were wrapped that summer with the support of the Big Sky Community Organization, Rotary Club of Big Sky, and Arts Council of Big Sky. Boxes that received a makeover included BSCO trash and recycling bins as well as power and utility boxes in Town Center.
Since then, the Arts Council has taken lead on the project, wrapping five to eight boxes each summer with funding from resort tax, ACBS and the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation. The Historic Crail Ranch has also wrapped several boxes with historical photos, with plans to wrap one to two additional boxes each year.
“Using local artwork to beautify the boxes helps showcase our local and regional artists, and puts art into the conversation around town,” said Katie Alvin, the program outreach and education director for ACBS.
She added that with their high visibility, the boxes show that the Big Sky community values art and artists.
“In a larger context, the ACBS has been working hard on establishing more public art in Big Sky,” Alvin said. “Wrapping the boxes is a great first step in bringing more public art to our community.”
Working with Bozeman’s Clean Slate Group, a city beautification company, a call for art was put out with pieces selected for content, vibrancy, talent and usability on the available surfaces. For this round of wrapping, 16 artists submitted a total of 92 pieces for consideration. Of those submissions, 29 pieces from 11 artists were chosen. The Clean Slate Group prints high resolution images of the original artwork onto vinyl wrap material, and sends a team to Big Sky to complete the installs.
Big Sky artists include Megan Buecking, Katelee McTaggart, Heather Rapp and Dave Pecunies. Pecunies’ image of Lone Mountain under a full moon can be found on the bear-proof trash receptacle outside of Alpine Property Management in Meadow Village; Heather Rapp’s vivid landscape and wildlife paintings adorn the stoplight box on the corner of Lone Mountain Trail and Ousel Falls Road.
“I’m so grateful to have my art represented in such a public way in our community, especially at our first stoplight in Town Center,” Rapp said. “It feels like a special project because our community is still building and to be a part of those artistic and aesthetic elements that will continue to make our town unique and beautiful is really amazing.”
The Arts Council matches content with location whenever possible. Bird imagery by Big Sky School District art teacher Megan Buecking was placed at Big Sky Community Park, a common area for bird sightings.
Thus far, approximately 35 containers have been art-wrapped in Big Sky. Alvin estimates there are another 40 boxes in public places that could still be wrapped.
“We will continue to chip away at the process as funding is available,” Alvin said.
Visit bigskyarts.org for more information on this initiative and other Arts Council programs.