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'Really fun project': Reed Point students spruce up underpass with multiple murals

'Really fun project': Reed Point students spruce up underpass with multiple murals
Posted at 8:26 AM, Jun 25, 2024

REED POINT — It may be summer now, but an art project done by high school students in Reed Point will have an impact far beyond the school year by taking one of the few canvases in town and turning it into multiple murals.

“Everybody thought it just kind of looked bland,” said 16-year-old Bodie Ott, one of seven students who worked on the project. “It looks a lot better than it used to.”

'Really fun project': Reed Point students spruce up underpass with multiple murals

Reed Point art teacher Jessica Haldenwanger came up with the idea to transform this underpass nearly eight years ago.

'Really fun project': Reed Point students spruce up underpass with multiple murals

“It actually was one of the first times I drove into town after I had just accepted this position. My partner and I were driving in and, you know, there were all these fallacies spray painted everywhere, and this big word 'obey',” Haldenwanger said.

'Really fun project': Reed Point students spruce up underpass with multiple murals

Years later, a truck spilled multiple boxes off the interstate, which then scattered below around the underpass. When Reed Point residents were cleaning up the mess, Haldenwanger heard people talking about how they wished the graffiti could be cleaned up. That's when Haldenwanger knew the project, and all the prep that came with it, needed to take off.

'Really fun project': Reed Point students spruce up underpass with multiple murals

“I think it was a really fun project. The kids all seemed to really like it,” she said. “We looked at graffiti and street art. We went to Billings with a professional street artist, and he kind of showed the kids how to do the painting.”

'Really fun project': Reed Point students spruce up underpass with multiple murals

From fish and a bald eagle to Bigfoot with glowing eyes, the students didn’t start putting paint to concrete until the last month of school. Some even graduated before it was complete, but they all pushed through and finished.

“A lot of inspiration came from people in our town,” Ott said. “It took a long time. From getting the permit to painting all of it on each side...it’s been bland my entire life, and painting it, it just felt a lot better.”