Al Fresco

Bozeman's wild wallpaper.

Try as we might, we can’t spend every waking minute of our lives in nature. We sojourn to the mountains and rivers, our minds focus on the present moment, and we start to feel as though this adventure could last forever. Alas, we return to town, to our obligations, to make ends meet. But Bozeman is a beautiful town, and if one thing’s for certain, it’s that we all share an appreciation for the natural world. If you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll notice inklings of the outdoors laced through our streets. Outdoor art is all over the place, from vivid prints on utility boxes, to interpretive sculptures, to soaring landscape murals. It’s a great way for us to be reminded of our beautiful surroundings, even as we’re bustling through our daily lives.

“The community bands together when there are beautiful things that people can relate to. Making somebody smile can add up to a happier, more vibrant city,” says Candis Nohl. Candis and her close friend, Gabrielle Lewis, are painting a colossal mural on a wall outside the RSVP Motel on Peach Street. Their work is blooming with native Montana wildflowers and distinctive wildlife. Gabrielle dubs it a “wild wallpaper,” and adds, “when you make a piece of art that defines a community, people are compelled to stop. Which is really cool.” Compelled they are—these gals are keen to chat with anyone who passes by and takes a moment of pause to admire their work. “It’s amazing how many people know their flowers. People walk by, and notice that they’re all native to Montana, and start listing them off,” notes Candis. And it ain’t a bad gig, working outside in Bozeman. “I love getting to stand up, walk around, and move along a wall,” says Gabrielle. “You get to engage your body all day long.”

These installations are a sign of Bozeman’s beaming love for the outdoors. Generations of artists have worked passionately and tirelessly to beautify our city, drawing inspiration from their outdoor experiences. Outdoor art reminds us why we are here—not only for the majestic landscapes, wildlife, and recreation opportunities in every direction, but also for a community that embraces these qualities at its core. Though life holds us back from running off to the hills at times, our sense of purpose is continually revitalized by those who have brought the outside in.