Beautifying Bozeman

Local artists turn utility into art.

Three years ago, the plain grey traffic box on the corner of Wallace and Main was given a trial facelift by local artist Krista Morey and the Bozeman-based urban beautification company, the Clean Slate Group (CSG). These days, the outdoor-inspired wraps are ubiquitous. You’ve no doubt strolled down Main and passed Morey’s work, “Gallatin Gallivant,” and enjoyed the eclectic paisley portrait of trout while waiting for the light to change.

The Artistically Reclaimed Trafficbox, or ART project, was started as both a beautification project and a historical initiative, creating functional pieces of public art that showcase Bozeman’s love of the outdoors, our local artists, and Western history. ART collaborated with artists and Bozeman’s Pioneer Museum to print historic photos and designs on downtown-area traffic boxes, but didn’t stop there.

Once the eleven downtown traffic boxes were complete, the CSG and the City of Bozeman wrapped another 64 boxes. The Gallatin Art Crossing helped the project grow by including the original 11 boxes in their online art mapping and featuring the artists on their website. The Art Crossing says their goal, in addition to helping local artists find outlets to display their work, “is to add vibrant public art to the streetscape and decrease the instances of graffiti and poster and sticker vandalism on traffic-control boxes.”

Bozeman’s boxes feature more than 50 local artists and have received a positive response from locals. Ryan Rickert, CSG founder, takes the success of the project in stride. “We’re just a bunch of farm kids keeping our heads down and working hard, and we’re stoked that the city embraced this and we’re doing something we love.”

If you’ve been to Yellowstone lately, you’ve seen CSG’s wraps on recycling bins in the Park and on the bear-proof garbage cans in West Yellowstone. They’ve also taken on projects in other parts of southwest Montana, like a similar traffic-box wraps in Great Falls, Dillon, and Lewistown. Keep an eye out for CSG’s colorful upcoming work in Big Sky this summer.