New art installation at Lewis and Clark Library

Art in library.jpg
Posted at 6:08 PM, Nov 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-22 20:13:42-05

HELENA — Lewis and Clark Library is home to a new art installation. And all you have to do to see it is look up.

“And I just think that it's a great conversation piece. And I think it's beautiful and fun at the same time,” says Director of Lewis and Clark Library, John Finn.

John Waltner was in Helena around a year ago visiting his family when they entered the public library. Upon looking up into the newly created library, John knew that his art could fill in the empty space above the books quite nicely.

After speaking with library staff, Waltner set to work back home in Kansas on his newest mobile. After about a year, the mobile titled “‘Oro y Plata’ -- Colors of Montana”, was finally installed in October.

The art piece was inspired in part by Montana’s State Seal in which “Oro y Plata” or “Gold and Silver” in Spanish, is written. But really, Waltner says he just wanted to make a piece that was fun to look at as you peruse for your next novel.

“All I'm about is trying to get color up in the air. These things don't symbolize anything else. I can't, they're not representational of anything other than a way to get interesting color and color combinations and configurations of abstract pieces in relation to one another up in the air so that people can look at them. And usually, I mean, they’re kind of interesting,” says Waltner.

Waltner says he chose the setting for his piece in order to support the public space of the library and to support public art and its influence.

“I think that exposure, exposure to public art is just plain healthy for us. I mean, whether we stop and take notice of it or not, if we go past it and see it, it's having some kind of an impact on our sensory system and is good,” says Waltner.

Waltner’s new piece joins another large hanging art piece by local artist, Richard Swanson.