SEELEY LAKE – Three large wooden figures were erected by Jackson Hole Public Art and local volunteers in Seeley Lake this past week. The intent of the stick figures is to get people to slow down going through town. They are temporary and will be taken down after a couple of months. The community can decide if they want to keep them or send them back to Jackson Hole, Wyo.
The LOR Foundation funded the project. Jackson Hole Public Art is developing a public art and place-making toolkit in the intermountain west.
“The idea behind the tool kit is to use arts and culture to spark improvements in quality of life, the economy and highlight social issues. The arts can help with a lot of different things,” said Director of Jackson Hole Public Art Carrie Geraci. “We came here to Seeley Lake to test it and to see if what we have outlined in the tool kit works and see if there are ways we need to improve it or change it.”
The Seeley Lake Community Foundation (SLCF) hosted a workshop with Jackson Hole Public Art and various community organizations and members in February. They explored who the people of Seeley Lake are, the place they could implement a project and identified issues confronting downtown. The main issue identified was people drive too fast in town.
Initially the group wanted to put up temporary way-finding signs. SLCF Executive Director Anne Beach got permission from private landowners to put the signs on their property. However, Missoula County said the SLCF needed sign permits for the signs even though they were temporary.
The group then decided they wanted to do something big, using byproducts from Pyramid Mountain Lumber Company, reducing the expense and repurposing a byproduct.
“The stick figure idea just kind of came to life through brainstorming and different conversations,” said Geraci.
Mill trim ends were used to build 12-foot and taller stick figure people. The sculptures were engineered and are located on private property at the south junction of Boy Scout Road and Highway 83, Lindey’s Prime Steak House and at the Seeley Lake Motor Lodge. They are all painted with a water-soluble stain so the wood can be burned.
“We hope that they get people to slow down and stop and pop into stores and into restaurants or take their picture. Maybe the Seeley Lake Community Foundation could come up with a hash tag for Seeley Lake,” said Geraci.
“I call them funny people,” added volunteer Kris Gullikson. “Get your picture with the funny people.”
Geraci said she and artist Bland Hoke can come back and uninstall the stick men and take them to Jackson Hole, Wyo. However, if they community wants to use them as a part of the Winterfest Celebration or reinstall them next year, they will be given to the SLCF.
“We think they are fun, friendly, inviting and playful,” said Geraci. “We also thought they went really well with the ‘Chance Your Pace’ Seeley Lake slogan. You could call them pace setters or runners or hikers. They are going to go do something but they aren’t moving super-fast. They are going at their own pace.”
For more information about Jackson Hole Public Art visithttp://www.jhpublicart.org