Art on every corner!

With 15 of Missoula's 72 traffic signal boxes covered in artwork and more on the way, it'll be hard to drive anywhere in Missoula without catching a glimpse of wonderful local art!

Photos courtesy of the City of Missoula Public Art Committee

Great Missoula Views – Public Art!

Art on every corner? Well, almost! If you’ve driven anywhere in Missoula the past two years, it’s likely that you’ve seen new splashes of color on various corners throughout the city. These eclectic art pieces aren’t new sculptures or installations – in fact, they’re nothing more than traffic signal boxes, something most of us drive by each day and don’t even notice.

For the second year in a row the City of Missoula Public Art Committee has transformed some of these monochromatic signal boxes from obscure parts of the city landscape to lively, eye-catching works of art. The idea came from a local artist who had seen the same project in their hometown of Columbia, MO, though traffic signal box art exists all over the world.

The project, which is funded entirely through donations, is open exclusively to local Missoula artists.  Kathi Olson, Chair of the Traffic Signal Box sub-committee, said that the primary goal of the project is to give our local artists exposure. “It’s a great project for local artists to get their feet wet [in the public art realm],” she says.

The Missoula community has been extremely supportive of this project. Through local business and private donations, Olson said that the project has flourished and enthusiasm has been “magnificent.” She added that some residents have even gone on traffic signal box “art tours.”

So far, 15 of Missoula’s 72 signal boxes have been completed, with another eight boxes to be completed this September. The dedication of the eight new works of art is set for Missoula’s First Friday event in October. A fourth call for art to be showcased on the next set of traffic signal boxes is set for February 1, 2011.

Traffic box art is just one of many public arts projects in Missoula.  The Missoula Public Art Committee dedicates itself to beautifying the city with art so everyone who lives in Missoula, or visits the Garden City, can enjoy a variety of art within public view.  See photos of all Missoula public art projects on the City of Missoula website. Background information on each project is also found through this link.

A wide variety of public art is on display right in Downtown Missoula. A great way to make sure you see it all is to follow the public art walking tour in Downtown Missoula. You can print out the tour and walk at your own pace.

Local artisans interested in participating in future public arts projects can obtain more information and register to receive art call email updates by visiting the Public Art Committee page of the City of Missoula website.