Helena Council approves board to develop arts in Old Town

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

HELENA – The Helena City Council recently voted in favor of a resolution creating the “HOTboard,” which stands for Helena Old Town board—a council-appointed board for developing and promoting the arts in Old Town.

According to Helena City Council member Laura Joseph, who sponsored the resolution, the board would merge the Old Town Development Board and the Helena Arts Council.

The board “will include members who are business owners, investors, artists and Helena citizens,” Joseph explained. “This should give the board a diverse well of talent from which to draw when planning and executing development strategies.”

One of the goals of the board will be “place making,” which is a way of planning and designing public spaces in a way that promotes health, happiness and well-being, as well as making these spaces popular areas for residents and visitors.

According to Joseph, some of the things she would like to see developed in the area are “public art like murals and sculptures enlivening this area, ‘photo-op stops’ created for people to take pictures of themselves in Old Town to post to social media, weekend acoustic music at the gazebo, new lighting and signage.”

The board will officially start when the new council takes office following the upcoming municipal elections. The council will appoint 11 members to the council consisting of “six Old Town business owners, property owners and/or investors, two Helena artists and three arts patrons,” according to the resolution.

The board will be allotted a minimum budget of $1,000 and will be able to request or raise more funds for projects if necessary.