Downtown Great Falls August 12-19

Art is not a luxury; it is vital to a community’s growth. Studies show that the presence of street art (murals, etc.) yields a multitude of benefits, from reduced crime rates to increased civic participation. One of the greatest impacts is to the local economy; the addition of a mural to a business’ exterior drives up the business’ revenue an average of 5-10 percent.

“Business owners have told me that people stopped to look at their murals and said, ‘I never knew this place existed.’ It’s a way for them to engage new customers,” explains Joan Redeen, Community Director of the Great Falls Business Improvement District (BID).

In 2018, a series of murals was installed throughout Downtown by internationally renowned street artist Cameron Moberg. In 2019, the BID invited Moberg back, along with other regional and local artists, to participate in the inaugural ArtsFest MONTANA, a celebration of street art and the community that has embraced it.

“Anyone can watch these artists work,” explains Redeen. “They have one week to complete their installation. I’m always amazed at what they can produce in that short amount of time.”

Prior to the installation process, ArtsFest MONTANA will kick off with an artist workshop led by Moberg, introducing Montana artists to the installation of large- scale projects as well as helping them learn hands-on, if they choose to participate.

“Artists will leave this workshop with the tools they need to create large-scale projects,” explains Redeen. “Our goal is that these same artists will be involved in our future ArtsFest events.”

Since 2019, there have been 24 murals successfully completed, each with its own unique flair.

“A lot of people don’t understand the value of public art,” says Moberg, “but all walks of life are happy to see it come in.”

On the face of it, street art doesn’t seem like a major victory for Great Falls, but the Downtown community will tell you otherwise. Every business owner, every city official can provide you an example of how art has enriched the community. Street art is inviting. It is attractive. It inspires civic pride. Street art is magic, elevating Downtown as a center of economic growth.

For more information, visit greatfallsbid.com or call (406) 727-5430.

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