While September brought the end to a beautiful summer, it brought the beginning of a downtown beautification effort that’s been a long time in the making, new downtown murals.
Cameron Moberg in partnership with NeighborWorks Great Falls was brought in for this project to not only create murals for participating downtown businesses, but to also work with local artists to expand their talents and teach them to channel life’s frustrations into art for all to enjoy, all while adequately valuing their work when creating business plans for their future.
Cameron has extensive experience in mural art, helping to set up the Mural Arts program in San Francisco; doing three years of mural art in rural Indiana; and working for major companies such as Google, Adobe and the San Francisco 49ers. While Cameron’s impressive resume caught NeighborWorks interest, it was a statement Moberg made back in February that really began project excitement. He noted that his mural work in San Francisco had a direct impact on decreasing crime, as tourists and locals alike now flock to see the murals. New businesses flourished in the mural neighborhoods, with foot traffic in the area increasing. The murals had a direct monetary benefit to the neighborhood – not only making it safer, but creating a more vibrant neighborhood culture.
Last February, Moberg and others identified a number of buildings that might be appropriate locations for the murals. NWGF worked with the City-County Historic Preservation Commission and the City to get their input and approval. Funding was a challenge to see the project come to fruition and NeighborWorks’ Director of Community Initiatives, Carol Bronson worked hard to secure private grant funding so that Moberg could take part. After months of planning, the project came together quickly in September. Moberg made a call out for local artists to join him, one being local Sheree Nelson, who made beautiful additions to the project.
NeighborWorks Community Engagement initiatives strive to bring together residents and resources to find community solutions and improvements. The murals were funded through NeighborWorks America’s Creative Community Development Initiative and Project Reinvest with the ground work coming from NeighborWorks Great Falls staff. Executive Director, Sherrie Arey, remarked that “NeighborWorks knows that arts, culture and community development go hand-in-hand. The culture of a community is a large part of what makes a neighborhood vibrant, thriving and livable and we’re excited these murals are now apart of ours.”
The murals can be seen at: Hi-Line Climbing Center, 608 – 1st Ave South, and the west wall of the Dragon Fly Goods building. Moberg and Nelson have since seen more interest in future opportunities in Great Falls. Are you interested in seeing more arts and culture in our community? To get involved or support this project call NeighborWorks Great Falls at 406-761-5861 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.