HELENA — If you walk into Sleeping Giant Lanes bowling alley in Helena, you will see murals at the end of the lanes, but these are not just any murals, the beautiful works of art were made by local high school students.
It may have been intimidating at first, but a group of Capital High School Fine Arts students took large blank panels and transformed them into Helena landmarks with a bowling twist.
Fine Arts student Drake Kelly says, “I just remember seeing the giant panel and thinking I can work with this. This is going to be fun and new and overall great experience.”
Kimberly Cook teaches Fine Arts at Capital High School and each year she tries to incorporate some kind of community project for her students. The most recent project was a partnership with Ron Bolan, owner of Sleeping Giant Lanes bowling alley.
Cook says, “He had suggested doing something with areas around Helena. There were 11 panels that needed to be done, and he was like wouldn’t it be cool if it could have the civic center or the carousel.”
From start to finish the project came with some challenges.
Fine Arts student Ella Rowland says, “Getting them into the classroom was really hard because we had to have two people basically bring them through the door and then flip them around, and it was like a circus kind of, but it was definitely fun to work on something that big!”
The Coronavirus pandemic also threw a few curve balls at the project. It was supposed to take one year and ended up taking a year and half to complete. One student in the class had to adapt when she was moved to distance learning.
Fine Arts student Karis Malkin says, “I was doing schoolwork from home, I got to bring the tile home and that was a challenge because it is so big it barely fit in my house!”
After a long 18 months, Ron Bolan received the call- the panels were done, and he could come pick them up to install them at the end of the lanes.
Bolan says, “I didn’t really know what to expect, but when we did get them back and we got them in place it was pretty overwhelming they exceeded all of my expectations as far as those paintings go.”
The students say they are honored to be part of a community project shared by all, for many years to come.
Ron will be holding a celebration for the students at the bowling alley at the end of March.