In few weeks the Highway 22 underpass in Dickinson,ND will be getting a splash of color added to it.
The Western Wellness Foundation recently received approval from the Dickinson City Commission and the North Dakota Department of Transportation to begin painting murals on the North and South side of the Highway 22 underpass near Villard Street at the end of September.
North of the underpass the West wall will show Ukrainians immigrating and the East wall will illustrate the cowboys, Native Americans, and buffalo of the badlands
On the South end the West wall will have a painting of Dickinson State University’s Mary Hall, and East side will have a historic representation of Downtown Dickinson.
The bridge itself will not be painted, because it is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
The overall project will cost $32,000, and Kris Fehr, executive director of the Western Wellness Foundation, said the project was made possible thanks to a $10,000 National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America grant, matching $10,000 funds from the city of Dickinson, and $12,500 in donated services and equipment from the city.
Fehr said Long Beach, California artist Guillermo Avalos has been commissioned to paint the underpass murals along the underpass, and community members and students are encouraged to be part of the project.
It is anticipated that Dickinson State University art students will be active participants in the project said Fehr.
The inspiration behind the project was a survey conducted back in 2016 as part of community planning grant, and Fehr said 40 percent of respondents requested public art and art activities in the community.
Fehr said the goals of the project are for the murals to reflect the region, to enhance efforts to revitalize the downtown region through public art, and create community engagement.
Fehr also said the Highway 22 underpass is one of the main corridors between Downtown Dickinson and the Dickinson Regional Airport, and she hopes the public art will promote the area to the many travelers who drive through the underpass.
The painting of the murals is expected to start in late September and be finished in mid-October.