Joan Redeen, with Great Falls Business Improvement District, describes some of the artwork being done on the 1st Ave. underpass, "we have a historic railroad, a historic railroad bridge, we have a historic city scape and then you come out of the tunnel and we are into a more modern city scape, a modern bridge, and a more modern railroad".
Four artists are hard at work showing the transformation of the Electric City through the years on the First Avenue underpass mural. The project is in it's second phase, having completed the other side last summer.
This much needed facelift comes at a time when the Business Improvement District is busy with beautification efforts throughout downtown in hopes to boost residential pride and the economy. Redeem says, "it's a trickle down effect: if our residents are downtown shopping and spending money then it's going to attract our visitors downtown".
Urban art projects often help cut down on graffiti. Redeen says, "they tend to respect other artists' work and therefore they will not paint over another artists' work".
Graffiti artist Tyler Valley now has a legitimate art career thanks to the many urban art projects downtown. He says, "people are going to appreciate this for many years to come and that's not something a lot of artists can say".
So far public feedback has all been positive and Valley hopes the youth in Great Falls take notice. Valley says, "I hope it inspires young people to give back to the community".
This side of the underpass compliments the other side, but with a different theme. Redeen says, "essentially what the artists tried to create is a coloring book, so they've done a black outline of everything that's going to be on the wall and now they're coloring in".
For the next six weeks you can continue to watch the artists hard at work painting the past leading to the future of Great Falls.