The streets of Cut Bank will soon provide a new welcoming feel to those who enter town. Civic leaders collaborated with Cut Bank High School’s art class, where several students designed pole banners for people to see as they drive through town.
Cut Bank Mayor Kim Winchell stated, "It was time to get new pole banners for the community. I really wanted to engage the community and wanted it to be more than just the city making a decision on an image to have up on the pole banners. I was talking to some girlfriends, and one of them had the idea to engage the art students, and it was a no-brainer for me. I reached out to Mrs. Brown, it was a no-brainer for her. We had the first-year art students paint images that they thought would reflect the area we live in. We didn't put any limitations on their imagination, and we narrowed it down to eight, and then we put it out to the community to vote for their top picks and that's what we'll have hanging up in town here shortly."
The theme of the project was "What comes to your mind when you think of Cut Bank?"
More than two dozen students participated in the project, with four being voted winners by the community.
Winchell said she was impressed by the efforts put forth by the students: "When we got the art put up at City Hall, it was overwhelming to try and pick what your favorite ones were. We did it in a way where everyone voted on what their favorites were, and then I just sat with all the numbers and pulled out the top eight out of it. It was quite the process. We tried to make it so that nobody was picking just a few. We were able to whittle it down to the ones for the community and the students to vote on."
Art teacher Chelsey Brown said she was amazed by the effort put in by the students, given that the elementary school doesn't have an art class.
"I was really excited," she said. "I love collaborating with people in the community, even other grade levels. The kids get really excited when we get to collaborate because the pressure is on a little bit and I feel they put a little bit more of a creative twist on their artwork because it's not just an assignment. They know that people are going to be seeing this."
She added, "This particular project was for my Art 1 students. They had never used acrylic paint before unless they had done it on their own. We don't have an elementary art program, so we really walk through the stuff. At the beginning of the year we do just drawing, then we move to watercolor and then we finish the year with acrylic painting. We came up with the idea of using the acrylic paint. I was a little nervous because it was their first painting that they've ever done, but they all turned out really well, and not giving the kids the limits on what they had to do, just doing something they’re inspired by. What does Cut Bank mean to you? When you hear Cut Bank, what does that mean? So, we left it open, the kids got creative, and it’s challenging and nerve-racking for them also, knowing this is something that’s going to be judged, and it was their first painting ever, so they did a really good job
The four winners:
- Paige Poulton
- Anna Trafton
- Skyler Fey
- Hayden DustyBull
Trafton, a sophomore, said, "It was pretty special. I never won any art contests like this, and I was never into art until I went to Cut Bank, and it was cool that me and my best friend won."
Fellow sophomore Paige Poulton said, "I think it's really awesome. With 30 kids, and four being picked, it's cool that one of my banners got picked."
There is no set date on when the banners will be up, but they hope to have them displayed as soon as the weather warms up.
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