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Improvements planned for Sculpture in the Wild

Summer events, fall artist residencies set to return

Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild received a new grant this year to help fund some facilities improvements and greater access to the park for visitors with special needs.

The Treacy Foundation based in Helena provided a grant to help fund construction of a utility room next to the park's bathrooms, as well as a cement pad to smooth out the lip to get onto the current bathroom pads.

"The Treacy Foundation has helped us in the past with the funding of these toilets. They are wheelchair accessible, and it still is, we think, a little bit difficult for the folks that need special help to get into them because of the high parts," said Becky Garland, President of the BPSW Board. "So they have funded us another $15,000 to make an apron out here. It will be gently sloped, but it will attach to those high spots in the front,"

The utility building will house a new electric golf cart as well as wheelchairs to assist visitors in accessing the park.

"Wanda and Chris Owen purchased and donated an electric golf cart. That golf cart will be by appointment only, but we're also going to be purchasing some wheelchairs that are more of an outdoor tire wheelchair," said Garland, adding, "We'll be fundraising more, but having this golf cart donated is really, really nice. Previously, we've been using side-by-sides, and they're noisy and they're hard to get in and out of. We really want people to be able to see the park however we can get them inside of it."

The new building will also serve as a first aid station and house a water pump and additional storage for the park.

Garland said another improvement BPSW is looking at is the addition of cement pads to the picnic tables that have wheelchair accessible seating. She noted that, while the current accessibility features work fine, this will make it even easier for visitors.

"We know that people are very happy with benches. Some people who are able to walk but need to rest during the mile walk around, they find those benches," she said, adding that BPSW plans to add two more this year.

The park is currently working on their summer event plans as well as the details for the artist residencies this September.

"For our summer program, we are going to have some events on Saturday nights at 7 o'clock, some music events. It could be book readings from authors. I've reached out to a few authors. Unfortunately, some of their publishers won't allow them yet, but we're just looking at a bunch of things," said Garland.

In September, three artists will be coming to Lincoln to work on new projects at BPSW.

"Our three week residency will start Sept. 6th, and it will be Michael Brolly and Bently Spang, and then one of our interns from years ago, Beth Korth. She will be working with the local students of Lincoln, and they will be painting a mural on the container. We're planning on our two week education program. We're hoping that this fall will be a real normal fall," said Garland.

BPSW also recently released YouTube Artist Talks with several previous artists-in-residence, including Patrick Dougherty, Jaako Pernu, and Alan Counihan, among others.


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